ArtPlace America describes Creative Placemaking as “The intentional integration of arts and culture strategies into place-based community development work that is resident-centric [and] locally informed.“
In December 2019, ArtPlace America awarded Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) $510,000 over 2.5 years to launch Creative Placemaking at MICA (CP@M), an initiative to: create an academic credential in creative placemaking; and generate scholarship and best practices that will build the creative placemaking field.

Our core challenge was to establish a national educational model for credentialing, professional development, and scholarship in creative placemaking while ensuring that the work done by placemakers/place keepers/culture workers in Baltimore was uplifted and centered while still fulfilling the grant requirements. 

How might we co-create an educational credential that builds the field of community-led, place-based culture work in order to affect positive systemic change in Baltimore?

August 2020-July 2021

+ MICA Center for Creative Citizenship
+ Office of Strategic Initiative


+ Social Design Associate
+ Human-centered Designer
+ Design Strategist

Overall Stakeholder Outreach Map


We broke the process down into parts: first to identify and reach out to these stakeholders. This meant identifying and talking to 70+ members of this community. We did this through two ways: first through a studio based course with students in MICA. Secondly, by conducting dialogue sessions with some artists, culture workers, activists, community organizers in Baltimore. 

Core Team:
Kevin Griffin Moreno
Office of Strategic Initiatives

Abby Neyenhouse

Center for Creative Citizenship

Kate McGrain
Project Manager
Center for Creative Citizenship


I. PBS: Practice Based Studio

The research phase included meeting with stakeholders and gathering data points about place-based work and what that meant for Baltimore.

As part of our overall research strategy, we conducted a Practice-based studio - a semester based class of interdisciplinary students at MICA, all collectively interested in pushing for social change. Conducted entirely virtually, the students learned to follow the Human-centered design process, from research to prototyping. Through this project, students practiced the tools to conduct participatory design research and strategically provide design ideas while ensuring that the community members were a core part of this process. 

The class asked:

How might we collectively envision what creative placemaking means in Baltimore through a racial justice lens?

For research, students looked at case studies to better understand contexts of creative placemaking. These helped set the tone for the research. We then conducted primary research by reaching out to 22+ culture and art workers and activists in Baltimore.

Students created personas based on the interviews and further conducted an ideation session. Based on the shared feedback, they further created digital prototypes of their ideas. One idea was further taken up by the Implementation Team at MICA to refine. You can follow the entire process through our Blog or the final publication link.

Becky Slogeris

Alanah Nicole
Isaac Farley
Kalyani Rajguru

Co-intructor, Teaching fellow




We used MURAL to capture and synthesize data and work through ideas and prototypes

II. Dialogues

HMW build an educational credential that challenges the academic notion of knowledge bearers?

HMW build an educational credential that is community-led and encourages radical, holistic systemic shift?

We conducted conversations with two culture workers together, to not only learn from their individual experiences and wisdom but the collective wisdom that was brought on by a conversation together rather than an interview.

It was a beautiful and emotional experience to watch some organic, powerful moments build up in these conversations and were some important learning points. These conversations and previous other interviews were synthesized and compiled for the Management Team and Sammy Hoi, the president of MICA through extensive reports.


 The implementation team jam session

As part of my role and through these learnings, some of the design outcomes included a one-pager that refined the Mission, Vision and Values and worked as a project communication tool. I helped create tools such as a slide deck template and a set a visual branding to better facilitate internal presentations. We also leveraged MICA’s website to create a web presence for this project.


︎︎︎ BACK

 2020 ︎Eesha Patne ︎