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Wild and Wonderful Workshop at Summit in West Virginia

Take a walk on the wild and wonderful side of Charleston, WV, at our upcoming Creative Placemaking Leadership Summit for Appalachia. Two knowledgeable West Virginians will lead a mobile workshop through the city's west side on Thursday, June 21.



The workshop will help attendees flex their creative placemaking muscles and brainstorm ideas to improve the area through arts and cultural programming. "The West Side, A Wild and Wonderful Tour by Design," will take participants through the onetime site of a turn-of-the-20th-Century amusement park, a soon-to-be-built bourbon distillary, and a niche T-shirt retail store that hosts live indie music. The title of the workshop is a play on the state's slogan, "Wild and Wonderful." Todd Dorcas, Community Economic Development Program Officer for The Greater Kanawha Valley Foundation, and Mitchell Riggleman, who has a master's degree in architecture with a focus on history and theory, will lead workshop participants through a residential neighborhood that was once home of Luna Park, an amusement park that opened in 1912 and burned to the ground in 1923. The park was part of the first-ever chain of amusement parks collectively called, "Luna Parks." 

The park featured a roller coaster, dance pavilion, swimming pool, roller rink and live entertainment. Admission to the park was 15 cents, and a ride on the roller coaster, called the Royal Giant Dips Coaster, cost a dime, according to mywvhome.com

Dorcas expects the tour will highlight issues of infill development, abandoned structures, vacant lots, affordable housing, historic preservation and gentrification.

Over the course of the two-day summit, attendees will chose from more than 20 sessions organized along the following themes: local economic development and community wellness; building local arts communities, building arts ecologies in isolated areas; invigorating arts in smaller communities; placekeeping and protecting the ethos of a community; building effective partnerships with elected officials; creative placemaking in post-industrial communities; and mapping creative assets.

The summit will serve the 11 states that share the Appalachian Mountain Chain from Alabama to western New York. More than 200 people from 19 states are expected to attend. Only 60 seats are still available for the summit, and space in the mobile workshop is limited 20.

The summit is the fourth in a series of five summits this year. The National Consortium for Creative Placemaking in partnership with ArtPlace America.  The last of the series for 2018 will take place in the Washington, D.C. area in early October.


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Board Chair: Colleen Finnegan Kahl

Founding Director: Leonardo Vazquez, AICP/PP

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