Join a Conversation with the NEA Chairman on February 28

February 24, 2012

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landesman will visit Tucson on February 28 for a public panel discussion and community conversation on Creative Placemaking. The conversation starts at noon at the Leo Rich Theatre, 260 South Church Avenue.

The chairman’s visit to Tucson is prompted by his interest in learning more about the Tucson Pima Arts Council’s NEA “Our Town” grant. This grant  supports cultural asset mapping associated with the Warehouse Arts District and TPAC’s P.L.A.C.E. (People, Land, Arts, Culture, and Engagement) Initiative.

Landesman also will be a guest at “FILM FORWARD: Advancing Cultural Dialogue,” an initiative of the Sundance Institute taking place in Tucson in partnership with the Loft Cinema.

TPAC also has scheduled a morning walking tour for Landesman of Tucson’s Art Warehouse District with Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Elizabeth Burden of the Warehouse Arts Management Organization and civic leaders.

Landesman is the tenth chair of the NEA. He ran a private investment fund before becoming president of Jujamcyn, a company that owns five Broadway theaters. His Tony award winning productions include “Big River,” “Angels in America: Millennium Approaches,” “Angels in America: Perestroika” and “The Producers.” He also has a passion for minor league baseball and country music. He holds a doctorate in dramatic literature from Yale.

“We know that when we bring the arts and artists into towns and cities, it changes those places profoundly,” he said.

Landesman is visiting many communities across the country that have received Our Town grants.

“Creative placemaking is about how the arts can change and transform places, where the arts can intersect with the real world,” he has said.

Also participating in the panel discussion and community conversation are Maribel Alvarez, program director of Tucson Meet Yourself; Tucson artist Bill Mackey and Gail Browne, executive director of the University of Arizona Poetry Center.

Alvarez is a recipient of a TPAC P.L.A.C.E. initiative award to conduct a neighborhood cultural asset mapping project with the San Ignacio Yaqui Council in Old Pascua, a historic barrio in Tucson.

Mackey received a P.L.A.C.E award for a participatory arts project – the Workers Transit Authority – which looks at the relationship between infrastructure and choice as it relates to the built environment. The Workers Transit Authority explores the question “How do you move through the city?”

Brown and the Poetry Center have an extensive history of community partnerships and programs that illuminate placemaking through collaborative practices.

The Creative Placemaking event will be moderated by Roberto Bedoya, executive director of TPAC. The event is free to the public, but TPAC requests an advance RSVP with names of attendees sent to

“Tucson is a community that values and supports creative placemaking and that is why the chairman is visiting us,” Bedoya said. “His visit will offer him opportunities to learn more about how our local arts community creates civic belonging, contributes to the local economy and feeds the vitality, distinctiveness and identity of what makes Tucson unique.”

For more information, contact TPAC at 624-0595.