Places Already Made: Reflections on Elsewhere’s South Elm Projects


  • Christopher Lee Kennedy Pratt Institute
  • George Scheer Elsewhere, Greensboro, NC


creative placemaking, collaboration, south, museum culture, equity, politics, contemporary art,


This article explores the challenges, opportunities and evolving politics of creative placemaking through conversation with George Scheer, Director of Elsewhere museum in Greensboro, NC. The article will use Elsewhere’s ArtPlace America initiative, South Elm Projects, as a lens to examine and trouble recent efforts by museums, foundations and municipal governments to use placemaking as a tool for economic and social impact. In particular, the article questions whether creative placemaking is an ethical or equitable framework for social change. Has is it evolved into a platform for “philanthropic gentrification,” or a neocolonial attempt to dispossess or displace local communities? Or can creative placemaking be used to re-imagine public commons and urban wilds in advance of and with development? Scheer shares critical insights and examples that highlight Elsewhere's ethos of making-do and vision for a more collaborative culture.

Author Biographies

Christopher Lee Kennedy, Pratt Institute

Art and Design Education, Assistant Professor

George Scheer, Elsewhere, Greensboro, NC

George Scheer is the co-founder and Director of Elsewhere, a living museum and artist residency set in a former thrift store in Greensboro, NC. George is a writer, scholar, and artist who fosters creative communities at the intersection of aesthetics and social change. George holds an MA in Critical Theory and Visual Culture from Duke University and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania in Political Communications. Currently, George is pursuing a PhD in Communication and Performance Studies, writing about the cultural economy of art and urbanism.



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Special Call - Creative Placemaking - 2016