A choreographer/arts administrator turned urban planner, Anne Gadwa Nicodemus founded Metris and leads its work. She oversees Metrisâ strategic direction and daily operations and frequently serves as lead technical contributor for projects. Metrisâ projects range from a Zimbabwean-focused case study of how creative spaces foster activism in repressive regimes to an arts and culture plan for the small city of Grand Rapids, MN.
A leading voice in the intersection of arts and community development, Anne brings over 13 years of experience as a researcher, writer, speaker, and advocate. She recently led the development of WE-Making: How arts & culture unite people to work towards community well-being (2021) for a consortium of major funders. It offers an opportunity for practitioners to intentionally and strategically align their efforts to address todayâs most imperative crises: struggles for racial justice and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. She co-authored Creative Placemaking, the report for the Mayorsâ Institute of City Design (2010) that defined the field. Her book chapters and journal articles âCreative placemaking: Reflections on a 21st-century American arts policy initiativeâ (Creative Placemaking: Research, Theory and Practice, 2019), âFuzzy Vibrancyâ (Cultural Trends, 2013) and âCreative Placemaking: How to Do it Wellâ (Community Development Investment Review, 2014) look more deeply at creative placemaking as cultural policy and its ethics and practical challenges. Anne gives frequent talks at universities and professional conferences nationwide, and as far-flung as Macau, the Czech Republic, and Ontario. Anne holds a Master of Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Minnesotaâs Humphrey School of Public Affairs and a B.A. in dance and biology from Oberlin College.
Anne is fascinated by all kinds of placesâtheir form, their people, their change. She 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 Islandâs north shore, where she grew up spending summers on one of its last remaining farms. In 2012, she laid down roots in Easton, PA where she lives with her wife Julia and two sons. Email: email@example.com. Download resume. LinkedIn profile.
Michael DeCrosta, Affiliate (he/him)
Michael DeCrosta is a data analyst who has enjoyed a varied career in community and regional planning, small business development, and nonprofit arts administration. As an affiliate with Metris, Michael led the analysis of over 2,000 free-response public submissions for the Chicago Monuments Project. He is currently supporting four sites throughout Pennsylvania with survey tool development and data analysis as part of Metrisâ longitudinal developmental evaluation of the Pennsylvania Council for the Artsâ pilot Creative Communities Initiative. Michael has worked with non-profit arts organizations in his hometown of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania including the Bach Choir of Bethlehem, where he managed the migration of the organizationâs sales, donation, and customer database to an updated platform and helped transition performances to a virtual platform during the COVID-19 pandemic. His work with Bethlehemâs Southside Arts District included advancing the development of the South Bethlehem Greenway, the creation of an urban arts trail, and marketing the downtown arts district and its small businesses. Michael has an M.A. from Lehigh University in sociology as well as a B.A. from Lehigh in sociology and economics, where his coursework included quantitative and qualitative research methods, urban studies, and economic development. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Download resume. LinkedIn profile.
Susan Fitter Harris is a consultant working with nonprofits on strategic planning, fund development, program assessment and content creation. Susan specializes in community development and related disciplines. Over the past five years she has helped clients write grant proposals resulting in millions of dollars in funding, create targeted foundation prospecting plans, craft strategic frameworks to guide their next steps, investigate the potential for new program areas and the value of existing ones, and produce written materials that tell the story of their work. She recently researched and wrote the âCreative Placemaking Public Resources Guideâ for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. This comprehensive guide to federal funding opportunities for creative placemaking includes descriptions of more than 60 grant programs, local case studies, and tips for applicants. Prior to establishing her own consulting practice, Susan worked for Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a nonprofit community development working in 35 cities and rural areas nationwide, helping to plan and execute field strategies, knowledge sharing and capacity building projects. Susan holds an MA in Urban and Environmental Planning and a BA in Anthropology, both from the University of Virginia. In her personal life, Susan is a fiber artist whose work can be found in galleries as well as in public spaces around her community in the form of colorful âyarn bombs.âÂ She resides in Alexandria, Virginia. Email: email@example.com. Download resume. LinkedIn profile.
Leah Margareta Gazzo Reisman, Ph.D., Affiliate (she/her)
Leah Reisman is a sociologist, evaluator, and grassroots arts practitioner. Leah specializes in strategy, evaluation, creative placemaking, and arts and community development work, especially in partnership with immigrant communities. An ethnographer by training, Leah is a skilled facilitator and strategist with demonstrated research and project management skills and experience in both the study and practice of nonprofit arts work. Her original research on strategy consulting to nonprofits, Philadelphiaâs arts philanthropic ecosystem, cultural philanthropy in Mexico, and professionalization in arts nonprofits has been supported by the National Science Foundation and featured in academic journals, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, and the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Leah began her career working in museums, in roles ranging from education to exhibition development. Bilingual in Spanish, Leah is based in Philadelphia and works locally in arts and immigrant-serving organizations â she is Health & Wellness Associate Director at Puentes de Salud and serves on the board of Philadelphiaâs Magic Gardens. Leah holds a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. LinkedIn profile.
R. Stein Wexler, Affiliate (she/her)
Stein Wexler is public artist and urban planning consultant. Her work spans research, creative placemaking, economic development, and process-based public space interventions. She divides her time between Berlin, Germany and Durham, NC. She began lending her talents to Metris in 2021, supporting research, meaning making, and implementation for the Chicago Monuments Project. As a public artist, Stein is most passionate about co-creating projects with communities that examine current political and social issues. Her current work includes directing a multi-phase remembrance process in Berlin, Germany and developing a public space story-telling initiative in Durhamâs Hayti and Southside neighborhoods. Sheâs developed a remembrance project in Krakow and commissions by community groups in central Berlin. Her public art has been supported by the Berlin Senate for Culture and Europe as well as the Mellon and Z. Smith Reynolds Foundations. Stein was an artist in residence at documenta fifteen in Kassel, Germany and a German Chancellorâs Fellow at Berlinâs Center for Art and Urbanistics (ZK/U). Her urban planning and consulting practice includes leadership and policy experience developing public art, placemaking, and economic development projects, programs, and policies. Durhamâs Mayor appointed her to lead the cityâs task force on developing the downtown outdoor dining plan during the pandemic; she developed and directed a public space activation granting program in downtown Durham; and sheâs shaped city-level culture and public space policies on the Durham Cultural Advisory Board. Stein holds a Masterâs in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where she received the prestigious Parker Fellowship and served as the co-editor in chief of the Carolina Planning Journal. Stein holds a B.A. with honors in English from University of California, Berkeley. Email: email@example.com. Download resume. LinkedIn profile.