Photo © 2011

Photo © 2011

Anne Gadwa Nicodemus, Principal

As a researcher, writer, speaker, and advocate, Anne Gadwa Nicodemus tells stories through narratives and numbers. Her favorite muse is creative placemaking.  She’s fascinated by all kinds of places—their form, their people, their change. A choreographer/arts administrator turned urban planner, Nicodemus is a leading voice in the intersection of arts and community development.

Nicodemus co-authored Creative Placemaking, the report for the Mayors’ Institute of City Design (2010) that defined the field. Her journal articles “Fuzzy Vibrancy” (Cultural Trends, 2013) and Creative Placemaking: How to Do it Well” (Community Development Investment Review, 2014) look more deeply at creative placemaking as cultural policy and its ethics and practical challenges.

Nicodemus has also contributed to the intersection of arts, culture, and community development through other works. Her How Art Spaces Matter reports (for Artspace Projects, 2010 and 2011) reveal the benefits of art spaces to artists’ careers and communities, including anchoring arts districts, expanding arts access, and boosts to safety, livability, tax rolls and property values. Her current Metris projects take her from Harare, Zimbabwe to a small city in Minnesota. She’s working both on a case study of how creative spaces foster activism in repressive regimes for an international development organization and an arts and culture plan for the City of Grand Rapids, MN. Nicodemus and Ann Marksuen’s “Arts and Culture in Urban and Regional Planning: A Review and Research Agenda” (Journal of Planning and Education Research, 2010) was the most downloaded of that journal’s articles in 2009 and 2010. They also recently contributed a chapter to Creative Communities: Art Works in Economic Development (Brookings Institution Press, 2013). Nicodemus’ short writings have also appeared in publications including Grantmakers in the Arts: Reader,, Minnesota Public Radio News, and LISC’s Institute for Comprehensive Community Development.

Nicodemus speaks widely on creative placemaking and artist spaces, giving frequent talks at universities and professional conferences nationwide, and as far-flung as Macau, China and Ontario. She is consistently recognized as one of the nation’s 50 most influential people in the nonprofit arts (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015).

Nicodemus holds a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a B.A. in dance and biology from Oberlin College.

Nicodemus grew up in suburban Connecticut; went to college surrounded by the cornfields of Ohio; and lived, danced, and worked in New York City and Minneapolis for years. Her family hails from central Long Island’s north shore, where she grew up spending summers on one of its last remaining farms. Recently, she’s laid down roots in Easton, PA where she lives with her wife Julia, one dog, and two cats. Email: Download full CV.

Photo © bfreshproductions

Photo © bfreshproductions

Rachel Engh, Research/Planning Associate

Urban Planner Rachel Engh’s core competencies lie in evaluation and cultural planning. Prior to joining Metris Arts Consulting, she supported the City of Minneapolis’ arts and cultural planning process, created an evaluation plan for a large-scale public art project (Pillsbury House + Theatre), and collaborated on PlaceBased Productions’ efforts to tell the stories of site-specific theater in rural communities. She’s contributed articles to Createquity and Americans’ for the Arts’ ARTSblog. Engh holds a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a B.A. in Sociology from Grinnell College.

Ann Markusen, Collaborating Researcher2 Ann Markusen

Ann Markusen is Principal of Markusen Economic Research and Director of the Project on Regional and Industrial Economics at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs. Markusen’s recent research and writing on artists, arts organizations and creative placemaking include: How Cities can Nurture Cultural Entrepreneurs (2013), Diversifying Support for Artists (2013), Arts, Consumption and Regional Development (2013), Artists Work Everywhere (2013), City Creative Industry Strategies (2012), Working with Small Arts Organizations (2012), California’s Arts and Cultural Ecology (2011), Nurturing Next Gen Arts and Cultural Leaders (2011), Creative Placemaking (2010), Los Angeles: America’s Artist Super City (2010); Native Artists: Careers, Resources, Space, Gifts (2009), San JosĂ© Creative Entrepreneur Project: Final Report and Recommendations (2009), Crossover: How Artists Build Careers across Commercial, Non-profit and Community Work (2006), Artists’ Centers (2006), and The Artistic Dividend (2003) as well as more than a dozen academic and popular articles on artists and the arts. Markusen is a frequent keynote speaker on arts, cities, creative placemaking, and economic development, serves on the National Advisory Committee for the Strategic National Arts Alumni Project, and actively consults with international, national, state and local governments and nonprofits on creative placemaking and support for artists. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Foreign Service at Georgetown University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Economics at Michigan State University, and has taught at the Universities of Minnesota, Colorado, California Berkeley, Northwestern and Rutgers in City and Regional Planning. Winner of the 2006 Alonso Prize in Regional Science, she has served as North American Regional Science Association President, Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow and AAAS Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy Chair. Email: