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Abbott Square (Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History)

"Our vision is to build a stronger, more connected community through art and history. If we really want to achieve that vision, we’ve got to get to work in all the places where people live, work, and play."

Nina Simon, Former Executive Director, Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History

Partner
Location
Santa Cruz
California
USA
Completed
 - 
2014
Client
Partner
Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History
Services

Place Evaluation & User Analysis 

Community Engagement & Visioning

Training & Capacity-Building

Place Plans & Design

About

Starting in 2011, the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History (MAH) began developing a plan to transform neighboring Abbott Square into an exciting cultural hub for the city's downtown. Abbott Square was already a key physical connection between the growing museum and downtown's vibrant creative life. Project for Public Spaces joined MAH to kick off a series of placemaking workshops and further establish downtown Santa Cruz as a major destination that could spark other art and cultural activities around the city.

Abbott Square physically connects the MAH to the main street in downtown Santa Cruz. While the initial reason to activate the square was for marketing and audience development, a placemaking workshop and ethnographic studies expanded this vision to include creating a downtown gathering place for the community. New ideas came forward, like free outdoor programming, seating, dining options, and what would become a family-friendly secret garden. It has become the central gathering place in downtown Santa Cruz, a vital re-creation of a town square. Possibly even more significant, the placemaking process strengthened MAH's overall commitment to community-driven programs, which led to the drafting of a new theory of change for the museum that includes an impact statement to build a stronger, more connected community.

Services

Place Evaluation & User Analysis 

Community Engagement & Visioning

Training & Capacity-Building

Place Plans & Design

Partnership Projects
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