Natick Center Creative Placemaking

Photo shows the gazebo in Natick Town Center with paintings around the edges.
Natick Center Creative Placemaking

Project Background

MAPC is providing technical assistance to the Town of Natick to help with the development of a Natick Center Creative Placemaking Strategy.

The project will produce recommendations for new processes, tools, and strategies that the Town of Natick and Natick Center Associates can use to facilitate continued creative placemaking in Town Center. Building on recently completed and ongoing planning projects - including the Natick Cultural Asset Catalog Project (2015) and the Natick Center Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Plan (2016) - the final strategy will include a synthesis of information about Natick Center’s arts and cultural assets, as well as policy and programmatic recommendations to sustain the creative placemaking vision. The process will engage Natick residents, business owners, and town staff in co-developing a values-driven strategy for how public places and spaces in Natick Center can be activated through arts, culture, and design to promote cultural inclusion and accessibility in the Town Center.

This project is funded by a grant from MAPC’s Technical Assistance Program that was made possible with funding provided by the Barr Foundation. Additional funding is also provided by the American Planning Association (APA), Americans for the Arts (AFTA), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and in-kind support is provided by the Town of Natick and Natick Center Associates (NCA).

For the Love of Natick

A Creative Placemaking Weekend

A photo collage shows a gazebo, clootie tree, bridge with musical instruments, wayfinding signs, benches shaped like animals, and stained-glass-style hopscotch board.

In November 2018, the Natick Center Cultural District, Town of Natick, and MAPC displayed eight temporary art and design projects in Natick Center.

The selected projects demonstrated the potential for arts and culture to transform Natick Center, activating public spaces, making it easier to travel around the center, and making the area more interactive, inclusive, sustainable and bold.

MAPC's Role

MAPC’s role includes advising on the formation of a Natick Center Creative Placemaking Advisory Group, general project management, meeting facilitation, curriculum development for and facilitation of customized creative placemaking workshops, developing and executing a creative placemaking demonstration, and preparing a five-year strategy for continued implementation.

Why It's Important

Done well, creative placemaking can enhance community identity, improve social and cultural cohesion, and address challenging planning issues. Creative placemaking efforts can result in improvements to public infrastructure and administrative procedures, removing barriers against and encouraging the siting of temporary and permanent public art and improving physical and social conditions in public places and spaces.

Questions?

For more information, please contact Jennifer Erickson, Arts and Culture Director at jerickson@mapc.org.

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