Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit

Conference Overview

An annual gathering of artists, community leaders, educators, and other professionals exploring how arts and cultural activities help make communities more inclusive, connected, and resilient.

Pre-Registration Now Closed

Pre-registration for the Summit is now closed. We will resume in-person registration in Chapel Hill. Please review the printable agenda for dates/times/locations.

View the Printable Agenda

View the Full Schedule in Airmeet

The full Summit agenda, session descriptions, speaker bios, and other details are available in Airmeet.

View the Schedule in Airmeet

Download the Schedule at a Glance

For a quick reference of schedule topics and locations, download our Schedule at a Glance

Download the Schedule at a Glance

Detailed Conference Description

Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit logo

South Arts, in partnership with Creative Placemaking Communities, is bringing the 2022 Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit: South & Appalachia to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The Summit is designed to facilitate a network of artists, civic and cultural leaders, educators, public officials, and more from around the South to work in unison to build new and stronger partnerships, projects, programs, and policies. The experiences created at the summit will inform, inspire and empower the voices of those in the community.

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Join us November 1 for a virtual pre-conference and in person November 3-4, 2022, to experience what the Summit has to offer: its peer-to-peer exchanges, professional development, research roundtables, and much more. The Summit is more than a gathering. It’s a place for creative placemakers working, living, or interested in the South to grow their strength and their community.

Key Dates and Times

  • Virtual Pre-Conference
    • November 1, 2022. 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. ET
  • In-Person Summit
    • November 3, 2022. 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. ET (additional networking events may be available through the evening)
    • November 4, 2022. 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (additional networking events may be available through the evening)

Registration Rates

  • Early Bird Registration (The Early Bird registration rate is extended through September 9, 2022)
    • FULL SUMMIT: $259. Virtual Pre-Con (Nov 1) + In-Person (Nov 3-4)
    • DAY PASS: $130. Virtual Pre-Con (Nov 1) + In-Person (Either Nov 3 or 4)
    • VIRTUAL ONLY: $20. Virtual Pre-Con (Nov 1)
  • Regular Registration (Rates available September 10 - October 22, 2022)
    **The deadline to register at the regular rate has been extended from the original date by one week: these rates are now available through October 22, 2022!**
    • FULL SUMMIT: $279. Virtual Pre-Con (Nov 1) + In-Person (Nov 3-4)
    • DAY PASS: $140. Virtual Pre-Con (Nov 1) + In-Person (Either Nov 3 or 4)
    • VIRTUAL ONLY: $25. Virtual Pre-Con (Nov 1)
  • Late Registration (Rates available October 23 - November 1, 2022)
    • FULL SUMMIT: $299. Virtual Pre-Con (Nov 1) + In-Person (Nov 3-4)
    • DAY PASS: $150. Virtual Pre-Con (Nov 1) + In-Person (Either Nov 3 or 4)
    • VIRTUAL ONLY: $30. Virtual Pre-Con (Nov 1)
  • Scholarships are available to help ensure the conference is accessible to all from within our region (Deadline to apply of September 23, 2022)

Pre-registration for the Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit is now closed. We will re-open registration in-person in Chapel Hill for walk-up purchases. Please review our printable agenda for registration dates/times/locations.

Download the Printable Agenda

If you need invoicing or other assistance with your registration, please contact Jessyca Holland at or 404.874.7244 x823.

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Akilah WatkinsDr. Akilah Watkins is President and Chief Executive Officer for the Center for Community Progress (Community Progress), America’s nonprofit leader for turning “Vacant Spaces into Vibrant Places.” A 25-year national thought leader, conference speaker, and nonprofit executive, Dr. Watkins' work began at the age of 14 when she led efforts to convert a vacant lot and abandoned home into a community center in Roosevelt, New York. Since then, she’s served as an executive leader for nonprofits and community development initiatives which includes work with the Obama administration, NeighborWorks America, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Center for the Study of Social Policy. Her career’s work has focused on helping people, communities, and local and federal government drive impactful reform for key issues including land banking, property vacancy, childhood obesity, community health, and economic development.

Jeff BellJeff Bell is the Executive Director of the North Carolina Arts Council. Previously, he was the Arts Innovation Coordinator for the City of Wilson, which included being the Executive Director of the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park. He attended UNC Wilmington and received two bachelor of arts degrees, one in Art History and one in Studio Art and received his MFA from UNC Greensboro.  Previously, Bell was the  Registrar at Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University,  The Exhibitions and Gallery Manager at Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh and the Museum Manager at 21c Museum Hotel in Durham.  He has curated exhibitions at CAM Raleigh, 21c Museum Hotel and at the Ackland Art Museum at UNC Chapel Hill.  His artwork has been exhibited in galleries and museums across the state and the region.  Bell lives in Wilson, NC with his wife Amanda Duncan, and their four boys.

Sessions and Workshops

The Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit is your chance to connect with arts, culture, public policy and urban design professionals from across South and Appalachia. Attendees will gain valuable knowledge and build your placemaking skills, experience a burgeoning city and placemaking hub in Chapel Hill, and get inspired and empowered to build new and better partnerships, projects, programs and policies. Whether you are joining us for the virtual pre-conference on November 1, 2022, the in-person in Chapel Hill on November 3-4, 2022, or both experiences, attendees will have access to informative and engaging workshops and sessions.

The 2022 Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit agenda, session, and workshop listings for the virtual pre-conference on November 1, 2022, as well as the in-person convenings on November 3-4, 2022, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, may be viewed on our Airmeet platform. Please note that the Summit team is continuing to add sessions to the agenda, and all content is subject to change.

View the Full Summit Agenda in Airmeet Download the Print-Friendly Schedule at a Glance

Some of the workshops attendees will experience include:

  • Photographing Place: Photography as a Catalyst for Placemaking. Faculty: Joe Reynolds Independent (Artist & Adjunct Instructor; University of North Alabama). In this workshop, participants will use their cell phone cameras to heighten their awareness of place. During the workshop, each participant will photograph a readily accessible place of their choice, and then reconvene to share their pictures with the group. As we view the pictures, participants will discuss characteristics that they noticed of their place that determined what/when/how/where/why elements did or didn't appear in the image. These include accessibility, temperature, light, wind, mud, water, traffic, obstructions, reflections, weather, time of day, sound, plants, animals, bugs and an infinite number of other factors that dictate how we engage with the spaces around us. As placemakers, we must channel these same factors if we are to create places that nurture our relationship with our environment rather than pit us against it. The purpose of the workshop is not to make us better photographers but to make us better listeners. Photography is, at its core, an acute listening to one's surroundings, requiring the photographer to notice relationships that might not be readily apparent outside the camera.
  • The Emerald Loop: Center City Transformation Through the Arts. Faculty: Holly Garriott (Executive Director; Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge). What would happen if you asked your community to help create a powerful common vision of your city as a vibrant, expanding, inclusive and engaging place? The Emerald Loop Vision Plan created by artist team Haddad/Drugan and the Pitt County Arts Council at Emerge for Greenville, North Carolina, is a unified collection of voices and dreams that is informing the creation of arts experiences and destinations in the city's center for residents and visitors to explore. We are connecting community and cultural assets with economic development. Bringing together Town and Gown, as East Carolina University is adjacent to Greenville's Uptown District, and with over 20 stakeholders of local leadership organizations, the Emerald Loop is a multimodal urban arts trail that connects Greenville, NC's cultural gems, businesses, and communities.
  • Southern Exposure -- Re-Imagining Destination. Faculty: Dr. Keith D. Lee (Nonprofit and Arts Management Consultant). From plantations to historical homes to gin mills to confederate statue parks to living history museums, cultural heritage planners and arts administrators utilize celebrated and notorious histories associated with specific locations in the Antebellum South and Jim Crow American history to develop educational and outreach programs that lead to new interpretations of historic and contemporary southern life. An organization like the National Civil Rights Museum, formerly the Lorraine Motel, is now synonymous with social justice and recognized as an international leader in civil and human rights thereby transforming the site of tragic history of Dr. King’s death into a contemporary museum and educational center of African American heritage and social relevance. Similarly, former plantations and enclaves like Ames Plantation in Western Tennessee and Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia shifted programming and identity from slavery to national championship dog shows, historical architecture, wildlife hunting reserves, and agricultural research while former slave history is acknowledged as cursory and secondary. How do policymakers, cultural organizations, civic leaders and artists re-purpose cultural spaces to also become healing spaces? What new strategies are needed as cultural heritage administrators address issues of Black history, culture, lifestyle, etc. in reimagining former historic spaces with new authentic purpose and commerce? How and when should municipalities benefit financially from defamatory historic events and locations?
  • Bayou Culture Collaborative - Sense of Place & Loss. Faculty: Kelsea McCrary (Chief Economic & Cultural Development Officer; City of Monroe). The Louisiana Folklife program has been on a journey of exploring the human element of Louisiana's climate change impacts and land loss - what will happen to the culture when the people have to move? What are the economic development and placemaking (place-keeping) strategies that can be employed to wrap around this issue? How can communities be ready to receive climate refugees while simultaneously focusing on their existing constituents and community groups?

A full agenda and schedule will be posted in the coming weeks.

Travel & Accommodations

Whether you are planning to join us for a single day or extending your visit to Chapel Hill for the entire weekend, make the most of your trip. The Creative Placemaking team has put together a list of hotels local to the conference, tips on getting to & around the area, and more. Visit our Travel & Accommodations page for details.

Travel & Accommodations

About the Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit

The Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit connects, informs, inspires and empowers hundreds of artists, civic and cultural leaders, educators, public officials and more from around the South. Through the Summit participants can build new or better partnerships, projects, programs and policies. The Summit offers a wide range of experiences, including peer exchanges, research roundtables, training sessions, and more.

See Which Organizations Will Be Attending the 2022 Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit

Creative placemaking happens when artists and arts organizations join their neighbors in shaping their community’s future, working together on place-based community outcomes.

Creative Placemaking Communities


For questions about the Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit, contact Jessyca Holland.

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