Placemaking Week has ended

Linda Steele

Founder & CEO
Memphis, TN
ArtUp uses arts and culture as a tool for fostering robust equitable placemaking through economic development, community revitalization, and entrepreneurship. ArtUp challenges the status quo of traditional arts-based community engagement, in which the goal is simply to expose people in underserved neighborhoods to the arts from more privileged areas of a community. Instead, ArtUp tackles obstacles common in many cities, such as unemployment, crime, disengaged residents, and neighborhood blight through innovative and unexpected uses of arts and culture. At ArtUp, we make it our business to spur resident-centered, neighborhood-driven, arts- and culture-based community development. We break down barriers. We nurture ideas. We launch creative entrepreneurs. We ArtUp. Linda Steele is the Founder and CEO of ArtUp, a project that initially began as a grantmaking initiative under Steele's leadership as Chief Community Engagement Officer at ArtsMemphis. Her work at ArtUp and ArtsMemphis has received numerous honors and awards including: the inaugural Robert E. Gard Award from Americans for the Arts; a 2016 and 2017 Artworks grant from The National Endowment for the Arts; membership in the 2016-17 Placelab Salon Sessions in Chi cago, Illinois; and selection as a 2017-18 member of New INC in New York City, the first museum-led incubator dedicated to supporting innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship across art, design, and technology. In 2019 she was named as a New INC mentor. Steele is a graduate of both Amherst College and Harvard University and is the host of The Artivism Pod cast where she interviews artists, activists, and creatives who work at the intersection of art and social activism.