Co-Creative Placekeeping in Los Angeles is a novel examination of Los Angeles-based socially engaged art (SEA) practitioners’ equitable placekeeping efforts. A new concept, equitable placekeeping describes the inclination of historically marginalized community members to steward their neighborhood’s development, improve local amenities, engage in social and cultural production, and assert a mutual sense of self-definition—and the efforts of SEA artists to aid them.
Emerging from in-depth interviews with eight Southern California artists and teams, Co-Creative reveals how artists engage community members, sustain relationships, and defy the presumption that residents cannot speak for themselves. Drawing on these artists and theoretical analysis of their praxes, the book explicates equitable community engagement by exploring not just the creative projects but also the underlying phenomena that inspire and sustain them: community, engagement, relationships, and defiance. What further sets this book apart is how it deviates from the conventional who and what of SEA projects to foreground the how and the why that inspire and necessitate collectively creative action.
Co-Creative is for anyone studying arts-based community development and gentrification, given it complicates and enriches the current conversation about art’s undeniable and increasingly controversial role in neighborhood change. It will also be of interest to researchers and students of urban studies.