This case study examines an arts organization at the center of an urban neighborhood revitalization effort and its contributions to creative placemaking and inclusive community building. The study documents innovative arts practices and explores their meaning for a local context, an understudied city in the Mid-South region of the United States. It builds on the research team’s ongoing work as teachers, students, and scholars in partnership with the arts organization. It includes systematic participant observation, interviews with stakeholders, and a review of historical and contemporary media coverage. We found that the organization and its practices provided a rich context for exploring an expanded sense of community including bridging social capital and place-based frameworks. Analysis suggests that the organization’s intentional arts based practices bring multiple understandings of community and art into meaningful dialogue through the generation of creative and social friction. These practices illustrate one context-specific strategy addressing the tensions in a community–diversity dialectic (Townley et al. in Am J Commun Psychol 47:69–85, 2011).
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The authors would like to thank the editors of the special issue and anonymous reviewers for their careful review and extremely valuable contributions.
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Thomas, E., Pate, S. & Ranson, A. The Crosstown Initiative: Art, Community, and Placemaking in Memphis. Am J Community Psychol 55, 74–88 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10464-014-9691-x
- Bridging social capital
- Creative placemaking
- Inclusive community-building
- Sense of community