The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of our communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation.

Our Town grants fund arts engagement, cultural planning and design projects. Their programs support creative placemaking projects that help to transform communities into lively, beautiful, and resilient places with the arts at their core.

Grant period – August 1, 2016 – July 30, 2017


The INPLACE core support group is made up of Urban Planners, Art Professionals, Architects, Designers and Public Art Consultants.

INPLACE is an Innovative Plan for Leveraging Arts through Community Engagement that came together over the course of three years through a unique blend of community stakeholders and new leadership. It focuses current planning initiatives and resources in targeted locations to draw on the compounding effect of well-coordinated action.  It is directed toward community driven public art projects that combine storytelling with placemaking.

Placemaking is a dynamic approach to the planning, design and utilization of public spaces– capitalizing on community’s assets, inspiration, and potential, with the intention of creating authentic public spaces that promote health, happiness, and well being.

Funds will be distributed evenly to 5 placemaking project teams, 1 for each of the 5 following themes: Wayfinding, Parking, Lighting, Technology and Green Infrastructure.


What locations should we HIGHLIGHT and CONNECT in Youngstown?

Wayfinding is the process by which we identify and connect socially-important destinations and how they are organized and communicated – including vehicular and pedestrian signs, visitor maps, banners, gateways and information kiosks.

Mobility & Parking

How do we MOVE around Youngstown?

Mobility is the ability to move or be moved around a city freely and easily. Parking systems are management plans with several parts that govern how on-street and off- street parking is utilized to ensure efficient navigation for those familiar and unfamiliar with a place.


How do we help others and ourselves SEE [feel safe/comfortable in] Youngstown?

Lighting increases downtown vibrancy through greater visibility, highlighting pedestrian walkways, facades and architectural features.


How can what we MAKE in Youngstown help us rethink its public spaces?

Technology utilizes processes, products, and innovations to improve the collection, communication, accessibility, accuracy, and efficiency of information. It enhances the ability of community stakeholders to become actively involved in the conception and implementation of projects that affect their community.

Green Infrastructure

How can infrastructure help us CLEAN Youngstown?

Green Infrastructure creates more attractive green spaces that serve multiple functions for example, improve water quality, promote active use of vacant land, improve air quality, provide recreation, capture stormwater, clean soil, provide habitat and create employment opportunities.

These themes were prioritized for implementation during recent planning initiatives developed from collaborations between the City of Youngstown, Youngstown State University, Kent State University, the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, the Economic Action Group, and the community.

An important aspect of this grant is bringing diverse fields of expertise and interests together therefore requiring participants to develop their project proposals in teams – groups of 3 or more.

The core elements of this plan related to storytelling and targeted investment in public art, are recommendations derived from the Economic Development Strategic Plan for the City of Youngstown, which was funded by the U.S. Economic Development Administration and unveiled in late 2015.


City of You

The City of You campaign has been established as the primary medium to communicate rebranding and advertising the City of Youngstown to the community. It is the community’s voice in the INPLACE project.

Every single member of the Youngstown community has a unique perspective on the place in which they live, work, play, and learn…they each have a unique story to tell. Storytelling is one of the primary goals of both the City of You campaign and the INPLACE project.

We are seeking to record as many stories as possible. Recorded stories will create greater depth of meaning in the rebranding effort as well as identify a myriad of perspectives from the citizens of Youngstown.

The City of You individual storytelling recordings will be collected at various stations located throughout the city, such as the main Public Library, Youngstown Business Incubator, the Tyler History Center, and many more.

A broader community engagement initiative will involve posters and banners placed throughout the city that quote from these collected stories.