Performance Art

The Surprise & Delight of Placemaking

Placemaking and activations can take many shapes and forms. Join this session to learn from seasoned professionals with a wide range of experience activating public spaces. With a focus on producing unique urban experiences and animating streets, parks, and public spaces, these panelists work to create opportunities for pedestrians to engage with public art, performances and events. Learn about their audiences and how they determine when and where to produce different activations

How Investments in Arts Vibrancy Drive Economic Vibrancy

How can the arts act as a catalyst for economic development? What are the factors that drive a vibrant arts sector? This session will explore how arts vibrancy evaluations can steer investments in economic development to improve lives and the economy. Join speakers as they discuss the economic contributions of the arts in diverse communities and study cases of the arts driving business development.

Place Leadership Network: A Brave Experiment in Equitable Place Management

In 2019, eight place-management groups in the Boston area —from BIDs to main streets to conservancies— began a year-long journey of leadership development, capacity building and learning from one another. In a region grappling with environmental resilience and social inequity, this cohort of place managers is working together to make and keep public places vibrant, creative and inclusive.

Charlotte SHOUT!

With more than 175 art, music, food and ideas events offered over 13 days, Charlotte SHOUT! delivered something new and fresh to the city’s residents and visitors. A diverse mix of local artists, musicians, chefs and thought leaders joined renowned international talent to make the festival an unforgettable experience. The event also included unique cultural experiences like a live Indian wedding ceremony, interactive artwork, and community discussion.

Sharing Revenues and Increasing Tourism

After years of discussion between local property owners, the City and the DCCP, a permanent stage was created. The stage is a result of a cost-sharing agreement between the City of Chandler and the DCCP. The City of Chandler’s maximum contribution was $250,000 for the project, and the DCCP’s contribution was $100,000. The DCCP’s contribution will be paid back to the City over a five-year period. The City will pay 25 percent of all stage rental fees to the DCCP for a period of 10 years.

Leasing a City Building to the BID as a Multi-Use Space

For the Bixby Knolls BIA, the EXPO building is their festival grounds, their office, and a resource they use for activations and community programming that draw people out of their neighborhoods and into the heart of the district.

Lights, Creative Economy, Action!

Ever wonder what it takes to put on a great event that fundamentally dials up your downtown revival efforts? Hear from practitioners who are executing innovative placemaking strategies that drive economic development and engage the creative economy – both day and night.


IMMERSE is the annual performing and interactive arts event from the Creative City Project. 2018 platformed more than 1,000 artists and performers for an audience of 45,000 people. Creative City Project staff works with artists to create site-specific performances and installations in the streets of public spaces of downtown Orlando. IMMERSE 2018 connected residents of and visitors to Orlando with unique creative encounters that transform the way people see and experience the urban core.

Stuart Mangrum Master Talk

A member of the Burning Man community since 1993, Stuart was one of the organization’s first year-round volunteers. In his current role he focuses on cultural development programs including public education, staff and volunteer training, and historical documentation. He is also deeply involved in the event’s creative direction, as co-author of the last three event themes and a collaborator in designing the Black Rock City experience.

Art of the State: Leveraging Local Culture and Creativity

This session will present a snapshot of case studies that engage makers, artists and other creatives in downtown promotions, placemaking and development projects. Great Downtowns of all sizes are identified by their cultural environment. We will explore how both large and small investments in arts and creativity can return dividends that multiply.

Year of Wisconsin Avenue

Milwaukee’s Wisconsin Avenue has long served as the State’s civic and cultural “Main Street.” In spite of a recent resurgence of private investment within 16 of the Avenue’s most prominent properties, the corridor lacked the pedestrian-level vibrancy that peer-cities exude. That is, until the summer of 2017. Milwaukee Downtown, BID #21 declared 2017 “The Year of Wisconsin Avenue,” with a series of public art and quality-of-life initiatives that reshaped the Avenue as the community living room.

Things Are Looking Up: BLINK Backstage in Downtown Cincinnati

In October 2017, downtown Cincinnati saw itself with new eyes during the inaugural BLINK light and art festival. The four-day, free event was one of the largest light and art events in the nation, featuring 57 large-scale light installations projected onto iconic buildings and landmarks throughout 20 city blocks. Over one million visitors came to see BLINK, an event that showcased the city’s revitalized urban core, celebrated its historic architecture, and drove record setting traffic downtown.

144 Activities in Town Square Park

The Anchorage Downtown Partnership, Ltd. adopted a new approach to increase the vitality, security and image of downtown, while showcasing one of downtown’s most overlooked assets: Town Square Park, a green space in the heart of downtown Anchorage. Focusing on how positive activities can organically move a space away from issues of crime, homelessness and drugs, Anchorage Downtown Partnership, Ltd. facilitated a new summer program designed to bring new energy to the park through space activation.

Leeds International Festival (LIF)

Leeds Business Improvement District (LeedsBID) has acted as catalyst and funder for the realization of a vison to create an aspirational, overarching festival to promote the vitality of downtown as a world-class destination. From an initial proposal in September 2016, the inaugural Leeds International Festival (LIF) took place in April 2017; a festival of 35 events over 8 days in front of an audience of 17,000.

London Arts Live

London Arts Live— the first program of its kind in Canada—is a city-wide pop-up art program that places professional artists in urban spaces to reinvigorate local businesses and offer Londoners new opportunities to engage with and experience the arts. With a particular focus on downtown, the program showcases London’s artistic talent across all performative disciplines — including dance, multimedia, music, theatre, and visual arts — artists perform in parks, streets, and buildings.

Top Issues Council: Activating Public Spaces – A Guildebook for Urban Districts

The purpose of this guidebook is to identify fundamental challenges that downtown stakeholders encounter when they undertake placemaking efforts to activate public spaces, as well as innovate solutions to these challenges. This guidebook uses real world examples to analyze challenges and solutions to downtown placemaking initiatives in terms of their design, maintenance, funding, and regulation.

Centro San Antonio Advisory Panel: Activate Houston Street

IDA’s Advisory Panels are a time-tested way to explore new ideas, solve difficult problems, and rally the board, staff and community around priority projects or topics. This panel was focused on creating a revitalized vision for the Houston Street Corridor. The panel created an outline of strategies and initiatives to revitalize the corridor. The report details the panel’s findings and recommendations. The report details the panel’s findings and recommendations.

Hidden Treasures and Neglected Spaces

Public space and alley activation are the hot new topics in the place management industry. This presentation shows how different districts are activating their neglected public spaces and alleys and incorporating art.

Mastering the Art of Bringing Low-Cost Rapid Change Downtown

There is an international trend of low-cost interventions being used to test out ideas before making large capital improvements. Pop-up parks, guerilla wayfinding, and mobile vendors are just a few innovations. During this session you will learn about tactical urbanism projects from successful communities internationally.