Leveraging national arts investments to activate public spaces


To date, ArtPlace has invested $4,350,035 in Greater Philadelphia.

Seeding CHANGE

Arts and culture can play an important role in animating communities and public spaces, especially those that are underutilized. Visitors to Philadelphia’s Spruce Street Harbor Park, a pop-up summer park along the Delaware River, or The Porch, an urban oasis at 30th Street Station, can attest to that. The transformation of both these projects from previously desolate areas to active and vibrant places were supported by ArtPlace, an organization that uses art as an energizing force in community planning and development locally and across the country. ArtPlace is funded by a collaborative of national and regional foundations, including the William Penn Foundation.


By elevating models of arts-related investment strategies, local ArtPlace projects can lead to national recognition, which increases opportunities to attract new funding from outside the city. It also focuses attention on potentially replicable models of creative placemaking, and exposes grantees to a peer network that encourages the sharing of innovative practices. With ArtPlace support, Spruce Street Harbor Park reinvigorated a waterfront space, attracting an estimated 35,000 people per week. Named a “best urban beach” by the Huffington Post, its success paved the way for future waterfront projects, including a summer 2015 park.

Photo Credit Meredith Edlow/VISIT PHILADELPHIA