Forecast Public Art is partnering with the American Planning Association (APA) to develop and pilot a Public Art and Placemaking Tool for City Planners, made possible through the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town program and Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation.

Public Art and Placemaking Tool for City Planners will be a resource for planners serving small and mid-sized American cities. By developing this learning tool, Forecast seeks to fill a void in the current options available to planners, as well as those in allied professions, such as landscape architecture, engineering and architecture.

Five cities in Minnesota have been selected by Forecast to participate in the pilot project to develop and beta test the tool in 2017 and 2018: Austin, Mankato, Red Wing, Rochester, and Winona.

“Public art can play a vital role in establishing and building community character,” said Jennifer Henaghan, AICP, Deputy Research Director at APA. “Beyond enhancing aesthetics, incorporating public art into planning can enhance economic development, build community engagement, and create communities of lasting value that are both equitable and sustainable.”

Forecast Public Art will facilitate the two-year pilot project using its extensive experience in all aspects of public art, community-engaged design and placemaking. Forecast has advanced dozens of strategic, community-based projects and visions across the United States.

“Forecast has long been a leading force nationally for facilitating quality, accessible and meaningful public art and placemaking efforts for cities,” said Theresa Sweetland, Executive Director of Forecast. “This pilot aims to take that work a step further by making those same tools and resources available to planners and cities anywhere.”

A focus of the pilot project is improving the health of the five selected cities, which could include the physical health of citizens, economic prosperity, community wellbeing, social cohesion, livability and a healthy environment.

“Healthy cities boast a quality of life that helps attract and retain talent, businesses, industry, as well as cultural vibrancy,” said Tim Penny, President and CEO of the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation.

“We are thrilled that Forecast Public Art and the American Planning Association have partnered to explore how public art can bring thoughtful, innovative solutions to community planning issues like health and wellness,” said Jason Schupbach, director of Design and Creative Placemaking at the NEA. “We are eager to learn alongside the selected cities as their pilot projects unfold.”

Click here to view the full press release. 


Visit to learn more about the American Planning Association.

Visit to learn more about the National Endowment for the Arts.

Visit to learn more about the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF).

Visit to learn more about the City of Austin.

Visit to learn more about the City of Mankato.

Visit to learn more about the City of Red Wing.

Visit to learn more about the City of Rochester.

Visit to learn more about the City of Winona.