Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Community Vitality Fellowship

Developing Community Collaborations to Advance Transportation Goals through Transportation for America’s Artist in Residence Program

About

MnDOT is evaluating how to elevate the aesthetic, environmental, social and cultural values of a community within a transportation project. By hosting the Community Vitality Fellow, MnDOT can pilot innovative public-private partnerships and incorporate new methods of public engagement with the goal of improving project outcomes in both urban and rural settings across state of Minnesota.

Launching in July 2019, the Community Vitality Fellow will spend a year working with the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) to help develop new ways of achieving agency strategic operating goals through an artist in residence program created by ArtPlace America, McKnight Foundation and Transportation for America, a program of Smart Growth America. As an area of development, MnDOT is evaluating how to elevate the aesthetic, environmental, social and cultural values of a community within a transportation project. By hosting the Community Vitality Fellow, MnDOT can pilot innovative public-private partnerships and incorporate new methods of public engagement with the goal of improving project outcomes in both urban and rural settings across state of Minnesota. The Community Vitality Fellow will:

  • Develop processes and procedures to further evaluate and integrate elements that elevate the unique character of each community within the transportation system.
  • Bring creative problem solving skills and strategic thinking to design challenges, while providing guidance on potential improvements to how MnDOT plans, builds, operates and maintains our infrastructure using community feedback.
  • Pilot innovative public engagement strategies to further build customer trust as set forth in the MnDOT 2018-2022 Strategic Operating Plan by engaging a wide range of stakeholders, including elected officials, tribal governments, community organizations.
  • The fellowship is a cost-effective, low-risk, low-commitment approach to evaluating MnDOT’s processes and procedures around community requests for enhanced landscaping, art and placemaking in MnDOT’s right of way for a relatively small investment ($150,000 {$50,000 in direct investment, $100,000 in in-kind staffing support}).
  • MnDOT supports transportation infrastructure that reflects the assets and distinct character of communities while supporting economic development efforts and community vitality across the state.
  • Creative placemaking, art and enhanced green infrastructure support quality of life and economic competitiveness in communities across Minnesota.
  • The fellowship will result in highway sponsorship projects that leverage taxpayer dollars by encouraging public-private partnerships that result in improved environmental sustainability and enhanced highway aesthetics.

Examples of Government-Based Artist in Residence

Creative Catalyst Artist in Residence (Los Angeles, California)
  • Host Agency: Los Angeles Department of Transportation
  • Partner: Department of Cultural Affairs
  • Artist: Alan Nakagawa
  • Description: Nakagawa worked with LA’s Vision Zero program and used public art to heighten awareness of traffic fatalities and shift driving behavior.
Creative CityMaking (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
  • Host Agency: Intermedia Arts
  • Partners: City of Minneapolis’ Community Planning & Economic Development Division (CPED), ArtPlace America
  • Description: Artists were embedded in CPED’s Long Range Planning Division and integrated in five planning projects to enhance and develop new strategies, particularly as it relates to improving civic engagement and addressing racial disparities in housing, transportation, and income.