In September of 2014, I had the good fortune to travel to the Carmargo Foundation a residential center located in Cassis, France. Founded by artist / philanthropist Jerome Hill, the Foundation offers time and space in a contemplative environment to think, create, and connect. The Foundation encourages the visionary work of scholars, artists, and thought leaders in the arts and humanities.

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My travel companions to Cassis were none other than Tom Borrup of Creative Community Builders, DeAnna Cummings of Juxtaposition Arts and Wendy Holmes of Intermedia Arts. Together, the Foundation’s director of programs Julie Chenot as our guide, we explored a diverse range of culture driven urban development projects developed throughout Marseille as part of the 2013 European Capital of Culture program.

Marseille-Provence 2013, European Capital of Culture, has been described by organizers as a “shared revolution” and “meeting point to show our differences, stage our disagreements and glorify our contradictions” in ways only a region as diverse as this could achieve. Over the course of one year, regional stakeholders transformed Marseille-Provence into a vibrant mosaic of cultural expression. Uniting the Roman ruins of Arles, the medieval buildings of Salon-de-Provence, the industrial zones of Istres and Martigues, the cultural center of Aix-en-Provence, the clay sector of Aubagne to the early Greek heritage of Marseille.

Stay tuned for a further research on the dynamic approaches to creative placemaking, cultural development, and neighborhood revitalization underway across this incredible region.

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