Exploring Our Town

Putting creative placemaking on the map across the nation.

A collage of twelve images each depicting different scenes from various urban locations. These include parks, bridges, public art spaces, community hubs, and cultural districts. Each image has a title superimposed, highlighting different city areas and activities.

American civic leaders are always looking for creative new ways to attract visitors and investors to their towns and cities. Meanwhile, artists everywhere are looking for ways to make a living doing what they love. All across America, local governments have found strong allies in resident artists, artisans and arts nonprofits. Public-private partnerships between these groups create economic opportunities for all involved. But they also enrich communities in less tangible ways, beautifying neighborhoods and giving locals and visitors alike fresh perspectives on familiar surroundings.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is a federal agency that is the largest grant-maker for art in America. NEA’s Our Town grant program is a new initiative to encourage and help fund mutually beneficial collaboration between governments, non-profits and artists. With small, targeted grants and invaluable advice, the Our Town program has already empowered over 60 American communities to pursue what it calls “creative placemaking.”

A collage of webpages focused on urban development and community projects. The main page in view is titled "Revitalizing Station North" with sections about culture, transport, and public space details. The background displays snippets of other related project pages.

Hyperakt partnered with NEA to create a flexible web platform to showcase the successes of the Our Town program and provide tools for policy makers and potential grantees. Since design and aesthetics are so central to the mission of this project, we made a flexible web structure to allow NEA to present the Our Town stories visually as much as verbally. Through an interplay of photography and interactive text, the site inspires communities and artists to look to Our Town for imaginative solutions to their shared needs.

A smartphone, a desktop computer monitor, and a laptop are displayed. The smartphone screen shows a menu with categories: Project Process, Project Setting, and Project Type. The desktop and laptop screens feature a collage of project thumbnails with various images and text.
A visual guide with eight icons representing different concepts. From left to right and top to bottom: a location pin for "Place," three people for "Community," a megaphone for "Local Needs," an eye for "Vision," shaking hands for "Partnerships," a clipboard for "Logistics," a rising bar chart for "Anticipated Impacts," and a bar chart with varied heights for "Unexpected Impacts.
A tablet displaying a webpage titled "Exploring Our Town." The page features an image of a modern building at night with text options for "Project Showcase" and "Project Insights." The website is likely related to a local community project or architectural initiative.
A tablet displays a map of the United States with various yellow dots pinpointing locations. A highlighted location in the Midwest lists "Glass Going Green, Glass University." Tabs at the top indicate filter options for project settings, types, and locations.
A computer monitor displays a city planning document with a detailed illustration of an urban area. The sidebar features navigation options: Overview, Home, Context, Local Place, Town Hall, Partnership, Legible, Adapted, and Interpreted, with "Legible" highlighted in yellow.

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