Jim Lasko, Jim Gray and Harriet Tregoning sent the following blog post, which highlights Loeb collaboration and the impact of the Fellowship.
The Urban Land Institute, ArtPlace America and the Aspen Institute recently convened 6 mayors and 10 experts to consider "creative placemaking.” The mayors were from Lexington, Kentucky; Nashville; Memphis; Kodiak, Alaska; Tampa and Kansas City, Missouri. The experts were a diverse set of practitioners: urban planners, real estate developers, artists, development consultants. It was a packed two days in the Rocky Mountains. Experts were given 20 minutes to share with the group their work and their thoughts about its creative placemaking implications.
The work of the two days centered around the mayors and their cities. Mayors were each allotted two hours. During that time the mayors presented to the group a specific infrastructure project currently being planned for their cities and asked the group to consider how creative placemaking might augment the effectiveness of the project. Interim Artplace Director Jeremy Nowick facilitated the discussions.
Gray, Tregoning and Lasko were in the group. Jim Gray (LF 1997) of Lexington, Kentucky was among the mayors. Harriet Tregoning (LF 2004), head of urban planning for Washington, D.C. and Jim Lasko (LF 2013), executive artistic director of Redmoon were among the experts.
Jim Gray: "So...here I was on the plane to Aspen, doing some (admittedly!) last-minute homework for the conference. First I read the bios. 'So who's coming,' I thought. 'Oh there's a Loeb Fellow, (among the resource professionals). Great!' Then, 'Oh wow, there's another Loeb! How neat. How cool. How lucky the mayors are gonna be!' And I was right. Jim and Harriet...and the full resource group for that matter...provided rich ideas and advice that gave the mayors some real encouragement and inspiration. It proved once again that the Loebs' value to our nation is all John Loeb imagined it might be, and even more. The value has grown exponentially, year after year.
”I shared with Jim and Harriet that I would never be in the role I am today without that amazing year on the Charles. Yes, the Loeb nudged me just enough that I turned away from business and toward elective politics...and then, believe it or not, I've never looked back!”
Jim Lasko: "It was an inspiring and intense couple of days. These mayors are deeply invested in their cities. They are thinking broadly about them while so deeply enmeshed in the cumbersome political realities of the immediate. Yet they found the time and the brain space to open themselves to new ways of thinking about how best to achieve their goals. Real work got done. And, as is always the case when real work gets done, it's inspirational.”
Harriet Tegoning: "It was a great group of folks (gotta be, right, with so many Loeb Fellows?) who had amazing and creative ideas about how to temporarily and permanently activate places, and use that activation to engender community and political support for better neighborhoods and communities – including new parks, new transit, revitalized neighborhoods, and new businesses or new private sector investments. I learned something important in every presentation and left with a long list of follow up connections to make with the participants. The small scale of the event, the cutting edge approaches that so many of the practitioners are taking, the beautiful setting, the interaction with some very smart and funny mayors, and that excellent Aspen Institute chef – all made it very worthwhile!”