We work with four kinds of clients:
Philanthropic Foundations | Government Agencies | Arts and Cultural Organizations | Architecture/Urban Design Firms

A New Paradigm for Cultural Development

CreativeBROWARD 2020

A cultural/creative economy plan for Broward County (Ft. Lauderdale), Florida (2010)

CreativeBROWARD 2020 proposes a new paradigm for cultural development, one that values equally all forms of creative expression—commercial, non-commercial, amateur, professional, educational, mainstream, new and traditional. It calls for relocating the County’s arts agency (currently called the Broward Cultural Division) outside of local government, to strengthen its capacity to fulfill this new vision with greater autonomy and more secure funding. The new agency will include a Creative Business Association fostering small business development in the creative sector. Also, the plan includes a signature International Festival of Creativity, with high-profile events plus a self-curated fringe festival of events throughout the community.

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The Creative Individual

Creative Capital: Culture, Community, Vision

A cultural plan for the City of Santa Monica, California (2007)

Our research for Creative Capital revealed an extraordinary fact: Santa Monica has the nation’s highest concentration of creative professionals. More than 4 in 10 residents make some or all of their living in the arts, and there is a higher proportion of arts-related jobs than in cities like New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Creative Capital celebrates and promotes individual creativity through funding for artists, connecting “creatives” across the commercial and nonprofit sectors, small-scale venues to experience the arts on an intimate scale, and integrating art into everyday life. One outcome of the plan is Glow, a free, all-night event showcasing commissioned contemporary art that takes place on the Santa Monica Pier and beach. The first year, the organizers expected 25,000 people. Partly from social networking, 250,000 people came throughout the night—for contemporary art. The plan contains three overall strategies: 1) celebrating innovation, 2) increasing arts participation for all residents, and 3) improving sustainability of the arts and culture ecosystem. The planning process included research into creative employment (done by our strategic partner, Dr. Steve Nivin/SABÉR Institute), community opinion surveys, town hall meetings, focus groups and individual interviews.

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Linking Cultural and Economic Development

The Cultural Collaborative

A cultural/creative economy plan for the City of San Antonio, Texas (2005 & 2012)

This comprehensive cultural plan is among the first of its type to focus on development of both the cultural community and the overall creative economy. The year-long planning process directly involved more than 1,000 people and included three related studies, 1) an economic impact study, 2) a creative industries study, and 3) a bilingual, random household telephone survey. Building on the ideas of economist Dr. Richard Florida, the plan encompasses economic development strategies for cultural and heritage tourism, arts-related businesses, the creative workforce, and cultural districts and facilities. It also encompasses more traditional cultural planning issues, such as access and participation, cultural equity, funding, public art and arts education. Since June 2005, San Antonio’s Office of Cultural Affairs has implemented nearly all of the plan. This agency received major increases in its City budget and secured additional implementation funding each year from the City, throughout the economic recession. In addition, new resources have been provided by a ballot initiative, a new united arts fund, a new foundation providing fellowships for individual artists, and other implementation partners. CPG was recently re-engaged to help realign the City’s cultural efforts with its new community-wide vision plan, SA 2020.

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The BIG Picture of Arts and Culture in America

National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, DC

Planning and Stabilization Program Management Assessments (1994 – 1999)

Since its inception, the NEA has not only provided funding but has also served as the preeminent national clearinghouse for the arts community. Innovations, trends, challenges and information sharing all pass through the lens of the NEA’s proposal process. For six years, CPG filtered this flow of ideas by assessing all applicants to the NEA’s Planning and Stabilization Program (and the former Challenge and Advancement Programs). We conducted more than 1,000 comprehensive assessments of arts organizations from all 50 states and the US territories, that were seeking grant funds for capital needs (construction, endowment and cash reserve, and debt and deficit elimination) and capacity building projects. This project provided a uniquely comprehensive perspective on the management and organizational practices of the US arts and culture field, and the strategies of a major national funding program.

Creative Placemaking

Los Alamos Creative District (New Mexico)

Los Alamos Creative District Plan (2011)

The Los Alamos Creative District presents a bold vision for, and envisions a dramatic transformation of, downtown. Los Alamos was the coordinating site of the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb during World War II and remains the home of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which is a now a major international center for scientific and technical innovation. The present-day community of 18,000 is rural, yet has high levels of education, affluence and sophistication. The Creative District reflects the community’s identity, combining science and technology, arts, history and the natural environment. The District produces creative programming, supports downtown revitalization, fosters increased tourism, and serves as a focal point of community activity and events.

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Indexing the Arts in Communities

Local Arts Index

Americans for the Arts, Washington, DC (2012)

Since May of 2010, CPG has been deeply engaged with Americans for the Arts in the research, development and launch of the Local Arts Index (LAI). LAI is an innovative approach to understanding the vitality and character of a local arts community through a set of 51 indicators that measure resources, activity, competitiveness and character. LAI grew out of the launch of the National Arts Index when local communities asked the question, “How can this be scaled down to where I live?” The index was developed over several years and involved gathering nearly 100 partner local arts agencies from across the country in June 2010 and June 2011.

A unique aspect of the Local Arts Index was an initiative to collect primary-source data in each of the 100 communities (on the county level). This resulted in a series of 21 indicators that look at specific characteristics in the arts and cultural life of these places that would not otherwise be available. CPG facilitated the engagement of the partner communities, development of the methodology to gather primary data, and development of the reporting structure. This was done in conjunction with Randy Cohen of Americans for the Arts and Roland Kushner of Muhlenberg College.

The culmination of this first phase of the Local Arts Index is a new website that was launched in April, 2012—www.artsindexusa.org—as the home for both the local arts index and the national arts index. By visiting this website you can compare your community on the variety of indicators with any of the 3,143 counties in the United States.

Investing in the Individual Artist

Marketplace Empowerment for Artists—Ongoing Improvement

The Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, Connecticut (2007 & 2012)

Emily Hall Tremaine and her husband Bertrand Tremaine were important collectors of modern American art from throughout the 20th Century. Honoring this commitment to the role of the artist in society, the Foundation has made a long-term investment in empowering visual artists with the professional skills necessary to sustain successful lives and careers in the arts. Working with CPG, the Foundation assessed their Marketplace Empowerment for Artists program and adopted recommendations for enhancing their efforts. More recently, they have engaged CPG to create a system for ongoing learning and improvement of the program.

Making the Case for Increased Arts and Cultural Patronage in the San Diego Region

pARTicipate San Diego

The San Diego Foundation (2006)

San Diego has a robust arts and cultural community yet faces a formidable obstacle in establishing the region on a cultural par with other major American cities. As the community foundation for San Diego County, the Foundation set a goal of increasing cultural participation at all levels, including enhancing its own capacity to garner resources for arts and culture. Using CPG’s community engagement and research, the Foundation developed a case statement for the role and value of arts and culture in communities throughout the county. CPG also identified strategies for the Foundation’s arts leadership and philanthropy.

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Addressing Leadership Transitions with Sensitivity and Smarts

Transition Planning

Art Sanctuary (2011)

Art Sanctuary was founded in 1997 with a mission to “use the power of Black art to transform individuals, unite groups of people, and enrich, and draw inspiration from the inner city.” Through a broad set of programs ranging from the annual Celebration of Black Writing, to HipHopera, to classes, workshops and presentations, Art Sanctuary reaches a broad and diverse audience with a focus on North Philadelphia and in the area around their new home in South Philadelphia.

The founder, Lorene Cary, was preparing to leave the organization. In the summer of 2010 Art Sanctuary engaged CPG to assist with establishing a process for transition that would take place at the end of the 2012 fiscal year. Through an 18-month process CPG worked with board and staff to identify key mission issues, organizational capacities and launch the process of searching for a successor.

Tailoring a Planning Process to Needs and Budget

Strategic Plan

Chamber Music Hawai‘i (2009)

Chamber Music Hawai‘i (CMH) embarked on a strategic planning project as the organization sought to increase and diversify its audience. With a limited budget for planning, board members were active participants, conducting benchmarking research using guidelines developed by the CPG consultants, and writing the final plan following an outline provided by CPG. The process itself, tailored to CMH’s particular needs and circumstances, included data gathering from multiple sources using on-line surveys, telephone interviews, and on-site work sessions.

Strengthening Design Education

Strategic Plan

PennPraxis, PennDesign, University of Pennsylvania (2010)

PennPraxis was established in 2001 as a not-for-profit adjunct to the design school at the University of Pennsylvania, PennDesign. PennPraxis was conceived as a link between PennDesign faculty members and “real world” design projects that would otherwise not be viable in the commercial design marketplace, thereby benefiting faculty, students, and the broader community. It was structured to support faculty and student collaboration on projects that explored academic ideas and advanced the design disciplines.

In 2008, through a formal planning committee, the board of directors of PennPraxis began an intensive year of planning. An analytical phase of several months provided a comprehensive look at the first seven years of PennPraxis activity.

Typically, planning involves gaining a context for thinking about the future by looking backward to garner lessons learned. But for PennPraxis there was a second reason to reflect. The idea of creating a fee-for-service vehicle for applied research within a design school was unusual if not unique. PennPraxis was itself an idea to be tested. Examining how PennPraxis developed during its first years was essential to understanding its future.

Looking forward, the planning committee came to believe that PennPraxis might represent a potential benefit for PennDesign beyond its success in launching and supporting important projects and studios. In articulating the significant challenges that society-at-large faces in housing, ecological stewardship, energy consumption, and infrastructure – to name but a few – the planning committee began to imagine PennPraxis’ potential as an agent for positive social change through the fulcrum of applied design research.

Redefining Historic Preservation

Preservation Report

Ennis House Foundation (2009)

Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1924 Ennis House in Los Angeles is considered one of the most outstanding U.S. residential structures. It was heavily damaged by the Northridge earthquake and subsequent winter storms, and the Ennis House Foundation took responsibility for stabilizing and rehabilitating this architectural landmark. Facing challenges in funding and public use of the property, the Foundation needed to either find a sustainable operating model or consider de-accessioning the property. The field of historic properties and house museums has undergone dramatic changes, including a decline in its traditional audience. From a period of great popularity in the 1920’s though the 1950’s, visitor-ship has declined steeply. The traditional audience—mostly white, middle and upper income, well-educated, and female—has found other demands on their time, be they career-related or family-related. Other forms of entertainment and other avenues to learn about history, mostly digital, rival house museum visits. Based on CPG’s assessment of the options, the Foundation chose to place the house on the market and sold it to a private buyer who also owns other historic properties. Purchasing the house with legal requirements for conservation, the new ownership will guarantee preservation of the house and Wright’s legacy, while providing for a limited amount of public use.

Public Art Master Planning

A Public Art Master Plan for the
San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture

A plan for public art in public and private development (2004)

For many years, the City of San Diego had a practice of commissioning small-scale public art for selected public buildings—on a project-by-project basis. This planning effort had the express purpose of securing a mandate for public art in all City projects and extending the public art requirement to private development. Working with a 30-member Steering Committee, we engaged artists, city officials, neighborhood residents, and private developers to collaborate on devising a citywide public art plan. As a result of a highly collaborative community process, the San Diego City Council unanimously adopted policies that mandated a 2%-for-art requirement for all City capital projects and private commercial, industrial and mixed-use developments.

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Preserving Artists’ Studio and Live-Work Space

Northeast Minneapolis Arts Action Plan

City of Minneapolis (2002)

Until the 1980s, hundreds of working artists had studios and live-work spaces in the Warehouse District, immediately north of downtown Minneapolis. The artists’ presence made the District a lively, highly desirable community. Inevitably, the old industrial and commercial buildings were adapted. Lawyers and architects moved in. Residential lofts were developed. Rents increased and artists were forced out of the Warehouse District as spaces were no longer affordable to most artists. Many of these artists relocated to Northeast Minneapolis, occupying the old mills and seed companies in that area. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the process of gentrification began in Northeast Minneapolis. This planning effort had the goal of developing strategies that would preserve artist live-work and studio space in this new District. The key strategy that grew out of this collaborative planning process was the creation of an Artist Trust, using City and foundation funding to purchase and hold the development rights to several major industrial buildings and negotiating deed restrictions that would preserve artist spaces in the District.

Organizations in Flux

Merger Planning

LEONARDO/The International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (2012)

LEONARDO is a 40-year-old organization that opened an international critical dialogue about the intersection of art and science as the publisher of Leonardo journal. This widely respected journal is distributed through MIT Press. As the world of publishing has evolved, LEONARDO believes its mission must broaden to adapt to new ways of accessing information and to build a broader platform for programs, workshops and seminars. We are assisting LEONARDO to assess its strengths and to identify potential merger partners that can assist it in its re-imagined vision.

The Cultural Facility as Gathering Place and Revitalization

Grand Theatre Center for the Arts

City of Tracy, California (1999 – 2010)

In 1999, we prepared a cultural arts master plan for the City focusing on redevelopment of the historic Grand Theatre in the downtown redevelopment zone. The master plan included a comprehensive market analysis and forecast, management/governance structure, and operating budget. The Grand Theatre Center for the Arts was completed in 2007, incorporating the renovated theatre, a studio theatre, educational spaces, a gallery and renovation of the City’s original jail and firehouse buildings, located adjacent to the Grand. Even during the planning stages, the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts was the tipping point for downtown revitalization, attracting new restaurants and increasing sales and property values. Because of its many uses, at different times of the day and week, it also provides a well-loved community gathering place in a community seeking to reemphasize its heritage. We have been involved throughout implementation of the plan, including assistance with facility planning, capital campaign planning, and, in 2010, addressing governance challenges.

Addressing Change in a State Arts Council

Strategic Plan

Ohio Arts Council (2011)

At the time of this plan, the Ohio Arts Council had endured a series of challenges familiar to too many public arts agencies, in the form of political attacks, budget reductions, and staff and program cutbacks. The agency sought to chart a new course that responded creatively to obstacles, while also enhancing its services to the public and its stakeholders. In addition to grantee input, we conducted a statewide public opinion survey of residents that reached 87 of the state’s 88 counties, and identified the interests and priorities of Ohio’s citizens. The planning process clarified program priorities, charted ways to adapt to change, and laid the groundwork for new ventures, including greater collaboration with other state agencies and a stronger policy voice. Despite the continuing economic downturn, the Arts Council has secured budget increases and reaffirmed its position in an adverse political environment.

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Reimagining the Urban Center

Dallas Arts District

City of Dallas (1983 – 1989)

Conceived to be a creative catalyst for downtown Dallas, the Arts District has become the home of the city’s leading cultural institutions: Dallas Art Museum, Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas Theatre Center, Nasher Sculpture Center and the Winspear Opera Hall. As Director of Cultural Affairs for the City, CPG principal Jerry Allen worked with Sasaki Associates to develop plans for the District. He subsequently served on the Board of Trustees for the Arts District Management Association and the Arts District Foundation.

Revitalizing South of Market in San Francisco

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts

San Francisco Redevelopment Agency (1989 – 1992)

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts was developed as the cornerstone for the creative redevelopment of the South of Market district in San Francisco. Comprised of three galleries, a 750-seat proscenium theater, a 94-seat film screening room, and a flexible black box for performance, meetings and social gatherings, it has become the premier contemporary art center in the San Francisco bay area. As the founding Executive Director, CPG principal Jerry Allen oversaw the design, construction and opening of this multi-disciplinary facility.

Linking Public Art and Urban Design

Design Broward: a Public Art and Design Master Plan

Broward County, Florida (1995 & 2010)

One of the defining characteristics of southern Florida has been the sprawling suburban development pattern where one community bleeds into the next with little demarcation of identity or sense of place. The Design Broward planning process sought to address this challenge by redefining the role of the artist in urban design. Artists were placed on urban design teams and facility planning teams to ensure that the public art influenced public infrastructure, transportation systems, and public buildings. The plan was unanimously adopted by the County Board of Commissioners and instituted the first 2% for art program on the east coast. In 2010, we updated the public art plan as part of the larger cultural plan, CreativeBROWARD 2020.

Imagining the Future of Public Art

Scottsdale Public Art Master Plan

Scottsdale Public Art (2012)

For more than 30 years, Scottsdale Public Art has been one of the premier public art programs in the country, commissioning artists of national and international renown. We were engaged to develop strategies to enable Scottsdale Public Art to retain its position on the cutting edge of the field. The process included the convening of a distinguished group of leaders in public art, government, private development and urban planning for a two-day symposium. The resulting plan proposes strategies for public art events, temporary public art, artist residencies and an experimental “laboratory” of public art.

Arts and Cultural Element in General Planning

City of Upland, California, General Plan

Design, Community & Environment

Historically, municipal general planning has been about land use—allocating and separating zones for residential, commercial and industrial uses. Over the years additional elements were added: transportation, economic development, parks and open space, housing and historical resources. A more recent inclusion has been the inclusion of an arts and cultural component to city comprehensive planning. For Upland, we worked with an urban design firm, Design Community & Environment, to develop policies and strategies for the cultural development of the community.