“By the time I was 12 or 13 years old, I knew that someday I would have something to do with influencing place,” says Carol Coletta of growing up in South Memphis. From co-developing the first condominium conversion in downtown Memphis to serving as executive director of the Mayors’ Institute on City Design, Coletta has proven her 12-year-old self right. As CEO of CEOs for Cities, she helped gather ideas for improving the urban realm via text messaging. While director of ArtPlace, a collaboration of 13 national and regional foundations and six banks, Coletta tapped Impresa Consulting to measure economic, civic, and other impacts of creative placemaking, a movement in which she is considered a leading advocate.
Earlier this year, Coletta left ArtPlace to join the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as vice president of community and national initiatives, where she continues championing creative placemaking for the Miami-based nonprofit. Immediately prior to this interview, for example, she spent the afternoon with artist Theaster Gates, after meeting with Groupon about measuring local economic activity. Overseeing youth leadership, social entrepreneurship, and other programs, the new position allows Coletta to explore creative placemaking within an expanding vision of community engagement.