APA Course #2: Public Art and Healthy Communities

$75.00 $40.00
Urban Flower Field
Diane Horner and The Dancing Divas engage older women to use the public space at the Bloomington (Minnesota) Central Station Park, designed by landscape architects at EDAW-Denver and Oslund and Associates, Minneapolis. The unnamed public art work is sometimes referred to as “The Pin Cushion” and also suggests acupuncture needles. Photo by Bruce Silcox.


Welcome to Public Art, Placemaking, and Planning for Healthy Communities!

This is the second of a series of courses to provide city planners and others with useful knowledge and tools to shape healthier, more vibrant, and better-designed cities, towns, and neighborhoods. This course requires 90 minutes to complete. OPTIONAL supplementary information and many web links are provided which add time (but not additional CM credit) if the user chooses to review them.

The course expands planners’ knowledge of public art, placemaking, and community health and how they can work together. The course provides guidance through the process of assessment, planning, and implementation for a wide range of public art projects designed to improve health conditions of  communities. Among the areas of impact are individual physical and mental health, social cohesion, active lifestyles, a healthy environment, and safety. The course was created by a team working with Forecast Public Art in St. Paul, Minnesota with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation.

After completing this course you will:

  1. Understand ways to connect community health concerns with public art projects.
  2. Describe ten different domains of community health and how public art can make a meaningful contribution to improving community health in each domain.
  3. Identify opportunities in your community for public art to positively impact one or more domains of community health.
  4. Know how to or talk about community health, and what a community health impact assessment is.
  5. Describe and make the case for meaningful synergies between public art and community well being.

Case Studies in this course are illustrated by photography, short videos, or both. OPTIONAL supplementary material is often included such as longer videos or PDFs of reports, plans, or research studies.  The material will:

  • Demonstrate ways in which public art projects have contributed to one or more of the ten identified domains of community health.
  • Show a variety of approaches for differently sized communities.
  • Demonstrate creative projects that utilize diverse art forms.
  • Illustrate the value of both permanent and temporary art works.
  • Include art work using different media that is interactive in a multitude of ways.
  • Include site-specific projects as well as projects that are transferable to other communities.

These courses emerged from a two-year effort that explored ways public art and placemaking can contribute to thoughtful, innovative community health and wellness goals. Five cities in southern Minnesota participated in piloting the project.

Development of this course was led by Tom Borrup, Ph.D., assisted by Hannah Gary, MPH, MURP; Linda Picone, MFA, and Michael Lauer, AICP

Click on the “Take this course” button to begin!

Course Features

  • Lectures 13
  • Quizzes 5
  • Duration 2 hours
  • Skill level All levels
  • Language English
  • Students 47
  • Certificate Yes
  • Assessments Yes
author avatar
Tom Borrup, Ph.D. serves as Director of Graduate Studies for the University of Minnesota’s Masters of Professional Studies in Arts and Cultural Leadership and he teaches creative placemaking for the New Hampshire Institute of Arts and cultural planning for Drexel University’s Arts Administration Graduate Program. He is a leader and innovator in creative community building – leveraging cultural and other assets to advance economic, social, civic, and physical regeneration of place-based communities. As founder and Principal of Creative Community Builders, Tom leads interdisciplinary teams to help cities, foundations, and nonprofits integrate arts, economic development, urban planning and design, civic engagement, and animation of public space. Tom’s research and writing examines social and organizational networks in urban cultural districts, patterns of region-wide cultural infrastructure, and the evolution of community cultural planning. His 2006 book The Creative Community Builders’ Handbook profiles communities that have transformed economic, social, and physical conditions through the arts. From 2003 to 2009 he consulted with a Ford Foundation initiative assisting community-based arts organizations to take leading roles in neighborhood revitalization. With the National Endowment for the Arts, Tom served on a variety of funding and policy panels over 25 years in the media arts, visual arts, presenting, design, and advancement program categories. As Executive Director of Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis from 1980 to 2002, Tom helped build a diverse urban neighborhood and a nationally recognized multidisciplinary, cross-cultural organization.
$75.00 $40.00