Places Already Made: Reflections on Elsewhere’s South Elm Projects
This article explores the challenges, opportunities and evolving politics of creative placemaking through conversation with George Scheer, Director of Elsewhere museum in Greensboro, NC. The article will use Elsewhere’s ArtPlace America initiative, South Elm Projects, as a lens to examine and trouble recent efforts by museums, foundations and municipal governments to use placemaking as a tool for economic and social impact. In particular, the article questions whether creative placemaking is an ethical or equitable framework for social change. Has is it evolved into a platform for “philanthropic gentrification,” or a neocolonial attempt to dispossess or displace local communities? Or can creative placemaking be used to re-imagine public commons and urban wilds in advance of and with development? Scheer shares critical insights and examples that highlight Elsewhere's ethos of making-do and vision for a more collaborative culture.
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