Arts Engagement    |   Creative Placemaking
Economic Impact    |    Social Impact & Community Building


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A WaterFire Wedding

Like a Siren, WaterFire lures people to its elemental enchantment with promises of something nurturing and otherworldly. At the end of the evening, when all our effort, time and energy have literally and symbolically gone up in flames, we are satisfied in knowing that we shared something special with friends and strangers alike. That we once again helped form a community and that perhaps some who arrived as strangers, left as acquaintances.  [read the whole story here]

– Mardo Atoyan & Catherine Valenti



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What is Creative Placemaking?

Creative Placemaking is an approach to building a vibrant community that leverages the impact of public art and related activities with an integrated process of discovering and developing deeper relationships within a community.  This process sustainably engages citizens and visitors contributing to a community wide renaissance.

The arts are central to this transformation, but the process draws from and leverages a myriad of existing tools and best practices.

Often the arts offer a more flexible point of intersection to advance a variety of programs and investments.  The arts can build public support and community solidarity and momentum to engage citizen activism in support of an array of city planning, social programming, urban and park infrastructure  projects, and environmental interventions.

The arts can also be a means to marry government and citizens with civic groups, non-profit organizations and activities, businesses, business leadership, investors, foundations, and the education sector in ways that build understanding, promote volunteer motivation and lead to successful cooperative projects.

WaterFire and Creative Placemaking:

Creative Placemaking is only successful if it actually creates a new sense of place in the minds of the members of the community. For economic impact, it is critical that this rebranding extend beyond the community itself to reach the entire region as a whole, so as to attract new people and business into the revived, rebranded community.

The arts has particular power to both capture attention and to build a new aspirational brand for a community and a place.  WaterFire uses a series of symbolic statements of regeneration, renewal, and renaissance to build media awareness and assure that visitors see the town literally “in a new light.”