This comment made by  Arts Council England, on the benefits of investing in public art and culture is a belief that we believe is true within all communities and stands at the forefront of our processes within public Placemaking. This blog looks at how we are using the arts to build diversification within a community and how we are looking to make day to day improvements in peoples’ life quality.

Placemaking is described by Project for Public Spaces as something that “inspires people to collectively reimagine and reinvent public spaces as the heart of every community. Strengthening the connection between people and the places they share, a collaborative process by which we can shape our public realm in order to maximize shared value.” Through Placemaking, we are creating connections between art and community and using this to draw out not only what an area has to offer within the arts but also bringing new forms of art and culture. In doing this we create shareable moments connecting people to place and strengthening the community.

There are various ways that we as an organisation (We Are Placemaking) look to achieve this. We create memorable moments and shared experiences that creates a sense of place. This is something we achieve through working with local arts organisations, by collaborating with new artists and by creating unique creative concepts that form an umbrella to these organisations whilst also pushing creativity and community forward. When working with councils, property owners and developers, we absorb the goals and future imagination for a space and combine it with the existing art and culture in the area to create a place that people will love and feel a stronger sense of community.

How does this make lives better? Whether it’s a balloon installation that adds colour to someone’s commute, a food market of local traders, a choir that brings people out to watch or workshops that provide a new skill and an experience that friends and families can enjoy, these are the small things that boost day to day enjoyment, grow awareness and encourage communities to get involved in their area.

There are multiple case studies that could be included in this including Westquay Esplanade, a space that is brought to life year round with a broad range of the arts within their events such as the Festival of Colour with interactive mural letters, a parade with craft and live entertainment at Chinese New Year and a wide variety of local musicians on the main stage we put on once a year as part of Southampton’s Music In The City. Likewise with the launch of The Lexicon in Bracknell, we worked not only with established artists and performers such as Doodle Man, we also reached out and worked with the local musical organisations and curated several weeks of live entertainment. A prime example of a community brought together and benefiting from art and culture in their area.

A project we took on this year was a great example of the influence of art and culture on a community and how this can be used in boosting an area. We were commissioned by Grosvenor Estates to recreate Frida’s Parlour in an empty unit in conjunction with the launch of Frida’s ‘Making Herself Up’ exhibition at the V & A. We ran workshops with local retailers and had non- stop visits and bookings from tourists, families, friends, locals and people who travelled specifically to see the space. The workshops ranged from flower headdress to self- portraiture and jewellery making and all workshops were inspired by Frida. We had visits not only from the Mexican Embassy but also locals who had Frida inspired items, that they simply wanted to show us.

With a rise in experience lead events and shareable media, now more than ever we are looking at a raised awareness in the arts with encouraged creativity and sharing and this is something we will seek to continue in Placemaking and is certainly something we believe builds diverse communities and improves our quality of life.