Energizing Economic and Community Development Through Arts-based Placemaking

  • 5 women sitting around a table

Community & Economic Development Field Specialist Penny Whitman is serving on a six-person team representing UNH Extension in Sullivan County in the 2018 Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge. More than 40 counties nationwide applied for the opportunity for training in arts-based placemaking, a program of the National Association of Counties in partnership with Americans for the Arts.

The Sullivan County team, which includes local government, small business, education and arts-organization representatives, will attend a 3-day workshop in Des Moines, Iowa, in March, followed by two years of mentoring to leverage arts-based, cultural, architectural, and natural assets in Sullivan County to revitalize its communities and attract visitors, new businesses and residents.

The team held its first meeting at the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site in Cornish, New Hampshire, which preserves and interprets the home, studios and gardens of Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907), a major sculptor during America’s Gilded Age, whose work memorialized heroes and events of the Civil War. Saint-Gaudens and his estate were the nucleus of the Cornish Colony, a summer retreat for notable artists, poets, writers, playwrights, actors, musicians, dancers, patrons of the arts and politicians of the time.

The NPS site, which is open from Memorial Day through October 31, features changing exhibitions, interpretive tours, walking trails, a summer concert series, and a sculptor-in-residence program. It marks a major asset for Sullivan County as the placemaking team seeks to link and catalyze arts-based organizations, events, experiences and enterprises in the region.

More information on the grant