Hamilton and Fitton Center selected for national arts program


The Fitton Center for Creative Arts and Hamilton’s Community Development Department, have been selected as Ohio partners in a national initiative to revitalize communities by leveraging arts.

The program will provide training, technical assistance, and convening support to blend local arts and community development strategies aimed at improving culture, and creativity in the city.

The Creative Placemaking Immersion Program (CPI) is a year-long intensive program managed by the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Association (NACEDA) in partnership with Americans for the Arts.

Bud Scharf, of Hamilton’s Develoment Department, said the city has been successful in getting several art projects underway.

He said the StreetSpark murals, completed over the summer off of both Main and High Streets, were created primarily through the partnership between the city and the Fitton Center.

Other recent arts projects supported by the city include fire hydrant painting by InsideOut Studio and the completion of the Artspace Lofts.

According to Ian Mackenzie-Thurley, executive director of the Fitton Center, the CPI Program will make it possible to pursue more of these types of projects and will provide resources to encourage the integration of art within all areas of the community.

He explained that the Ohio CDC Association and Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation, in collaboration with three additional partnerships within Ohio, will conduct trainings for community development and arts practitioners in Cleveland, Hamilton, and rural southeast Ohio as well as virtual meetings and provide coaching to participants.

The partners will produce a video featuring footage of hands-on learning activities from the trainings and tours of the creative placemaking projects in the three selected areas.

“This new development will give us the opportunity to meet with other arts practitioners, administrators, and community development professionals from around the U.S.,” Mackenzie-Thurley said. “It will also put Hamilton on the radar of national organizations, including the National Endowment for the Arts.”

Nate Coffman, executive director of the Ohio CDC Association, said it is important to have the CPI program in places like Hamilton.

“From small town to urban Ohio, arts and community development organizations are successfully partnering on creative placemaking initiatives,” Coffman said. “We look forward to working with the Ohio Citizens for the Arts Foundation and our local community and arts partners to build cross-sector knowledge on how these unique collaborations can improve the quality of life in their communities.”

On a national level, Ohio is one of only three selected partnerships to be included in the CPI program.


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