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paint-by-numbers community mural for the Regional Arts Commission

How might imagination and cultural knowledge guide urban design, planning and policy?

How can artists and cultural producers help us re-imagine a better public realm, and civic systems that work for all?

How do we allow joy and creativity to shine through in everyday living?

Headshot 1 (Josh Nezam).jpg

Mallory Rukhsana Nezam is a creative city consultant who loves cities and believes that we have the tools to make them more equitable and joyful. She specializes in creative placemaking/keeping/knowing, cultural equity, and equitable community development. Her cross-sector practice engages government, artists, advocacy groups, elected officials, community members and urban planners to de-silo the way we run cities. She has helped build inaugural Arts & Culture teams in non-arts organizations at the Metropolitan Area Planning Council of Boston, Transportation for America and PolicyLink. While at Transportation for America, she co-wrote a national field scan on arts, culture and transportation which continues to serve as a roadmap for creative placemaking in transportation. She's the co-founder of CAIR Lab (Civic Artists in Residence), a consulting agency that supports artists-in-residence in government through research, public speaking and launching new programs in collaboration with government. CAIR Lab & Nezam are currently serving as Cultural Policy Fellows at NASAA, exploring the advancement of arts-based cross-sector collaborations within government—at the federal, state and jurisdictional levels. She speaks frequently about the value of engaging arts and equity, and collaborates on creative placemaking projects throughout the country. As a St. Louis, MO native, she is the founder of STL Improv Anywhere, and co-founder of #ChalkedUnarmed and the St. Louis Artivists. Through her art practice she disarms and disrupts public space norms using play and participatory performance, and is 1/3 of the art collective MADAD (De Nichols & Damon Davis). She holds a Masters of Design from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and her research focuses on the racial equity impacts of artists residencies in local government. She was formerly a Fellow at Arizona State University’s Herberger Institute of Design & the Arts, a 2020 Monument Lab Transnational Fellow. She sat on the Local Government Advisory Committee for ArtPlace America. She serves on the Board of Midwest Artist Project Services, the Steering Committee for Planning for Health Equity, Advocacy, and Leadership (P.H.E.A.L.). Mallory also currently serves as the Curator of Partnerships and Programming for Forecast Public Art's publication, FORWARD.

  • Design creative placemaking strategies and plans for cities, towns & municipalities

  • Creative facilitation of meetings, strategic planning, workshops

  • Deliver trainings and workshops on creative placemaking and equitable leadership

  • Design systems for interdisciplinary &/or interdepartmental collaboration

  • Develop equity-centered communications strategy

  • Make projects and events more interactive, engaging for audience

  • Develop site-specific artworks

  • Public speaking on public art, civic engagement, and social practice art

  • Triple axels

  • Double axels

  • Axels

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