2021 Creative Community Cohort Programs Announced

Posted on November 23, 2020

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Civic Arts & ELGL are excited to begin the second the Creative Community Cohort, a six-month learning opportunity designed for busy local government staff who are currently working to develop and implement creative placemaking projects and processes in their communities.

The cohort-model learning process allows local government practitioners in any department to enhance their knowledge of creative placemaking and the integration arts- and culture-based strategies to meet community goals. The cohorts will be offered through a set of four different modules that will provide opportunities for local government staff to learn from national experts, develop strategies, build project management skills, and identify solutions to the complex challenges that arise in cross-sector work.

Throughout the six months, cohort participants will work as peer groups to support one another’s developing knowledge and understanding of creative placemaking tools and strategies, and will be mentored in support of individual solutions and strategies.

Applications are now open until January 6th! The short application form can be found here. You can also download the full program PDF here.


Local government employees who are interested in creative placemaking opportunities in any department are invited to apply, and nonprofit, private, and academic partners may also find this program relevant. Applications require a short 250-word essay identifying a problem or project in your community that integrates arts and cultural strategies as part of its development.

Course Sequence

To meet the needs of municipal staff who enter into the creative placemaking work from many different levels of experience, the Creative Community Cohort now offers 4 different ways to connect and learn:

Introduction to the Field of Creative Placemaking: This 6-hour one-day workshop brings people together to learn the fundamentals of what creative placemaking in local government contexts is all about. Participants will gain: 

  • An overview of the contemporary field of creative placemaking.
  • An understanding of its history and development.
  • An introduction to case study examples and precedent projects.
  • A clear understanding of local government’s role in creative placemaking project partnerships.

Introduction to Creative Placemaking Project Tactics: The 6-hour one-day workshop takes a look at the specific project scoping and management tasks that are specific to creative placemaking.  With an emphasis on creating healthy partnerships, this module is a great introduction for those who have never worked with artists or arts organizations. Participants will gain:

  • An overview of creative placemaking project logistics.
  • A clear understanding of similarities and difference to traditional local government project logistics.
  • An overview of how to talk with colleagues and elected officials about how enter into, and support, creative placemaking projects.
  • An overview of project funding resources and strategies.

Creative Placemaking Project Bootcamp:  After getting a broad overview of the field and how projects come together, join this six-weeks weekly gathering focused on cohort building and project scoping.  Come learn first-hand how these projects come together and how you can create a strong project strategy grounded in best practices and tied to national examples. Participants will gain:

  • An in-depth understanding of how creative placemaking projects come together.
  • Support to develop a specific creative placemaking project proposal.
  • Guidance on how to assess department or organizational readiness to pursue creative placemaking projects.
  • A network of national professionals pursuing similar types of projects.
  • A finalized project proposal summary that can be shared with colleagues and elected officials.

Creative Placemaking Deep-Dive:  Are you hooked? Would you like to learn more about some of the more nuanced aspects of creative placemaking practices like collaborative community project scoping, project evaluation, or equitable procurement practices? Join us for four weeks of 90-minute sessions to dive deep into some of the more advanced practices in creative placemaking. Participants will gain:

  • An in-depth understanding of some of the more nuanced aspects of creative placemaking projects.
  • A clear understanding of how to establish equitable procurement and contracting processes for the project.
  • An in-depth review of project evaluation strategies.
  • A detailed outline of how to foster collaborative and creative partnerships with artists.
  • A deeper understanding of project precedents and where/how to look for example projects that can support ideation and communication.
  • An overview of how to establish artist-in-residence opportunities for specific departments and municipal projects.

Time Commitment

Time commitment varies per session.  

Introduction and Project Tactics one day sessions will not require outside work.  

For the six-week Project Bootcamp, applicants must commit to roughly 2 hours per week of participation: one 1-hour weekly cohort call plus one additional hour reviewing materials and preparing reflections/ assignments.

For the four-week Deep Dive, applicants must commit to roughly 2.5 hours per week of participation: one 1.5-hour weekly cohort call plus 1 additional hour reviewing materials and preparing reflections/ assignments.

Cost & Registration Details

Introduction to the Field: free 

Project Tactics: $350 or $250 with ELGL membership 

Project Bootcamp: $1500 or $1000 with ELGL membership

Creative Placemaking Deep Dive: $1250 or $750 with ELGL membership


To purchase the full sequence of trainings is $2750 or $1750 with ELGL membership. All cohort materials, resources, and trainings are included, as is registration for ELGL’s annual #ELGL21 conference (in Houston, TX, travel conditions permitting).  Additional scholarship funds are also available.

After meeting required attendance and deliverables for the full sequence of courses, each Creative Communities Cohort participant will receive a certificate of completion. Cohort members will then also have the opportunity to partake in more advanced learning opportunities with Civic Arts/ELGL and will be invited to serve in the role of mentor for future students.


Up to three people from one department are encouraged to apply with a reduced fee for the second and third registrants.  If four or more from one department (or a small municipality) are looking to apply, we encourage registration in a separate, and tailored, training for the department to get the most out of the course material for the municipality.  For more information on department or organizational level trainings contact Dr. Lynn Osgood at lynn.osgood@civicarts.org


Additional scholarship funding on a first come first served basis is available for up to 100% of program costs, and can be requested during the application process. The registration cost minus any scholarships is due by January 15, 2020 and will be invoiced to program participants upon acceptance.


Applications Announced November 9, 2020

Applications Due December 15, 2020

Selections Announced December 18, 2020

Program Dates 

Introduction to the Field: Friday, January 22nd and Friday, March 26th

Project Tactics: Friday, February 26th

Project Bootcamp: 6 sessions 12:00 CST Fridays, April 9th – May 14th

Creative Placemaking Deep Dive: 4 sessions 12:00 – 1:30 CST Fridays, June 4th – June 25th

Program Contacts

Questions About Registration? Contact Emily Edmonds, ELGL’s Programs Director, at emily@elgl.org.

Questions About the Course? Contact Lynn Osgood, Civic Arts’ Executive Director, at lynn.osgood@civicarts.org

About Civic Arts: Civic Arts’ mission is to support the integration of arts and culture strategies into the ways local governments envision, plan and develop healthy, equitable, and vibrant communities.

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