About Us


Our Mission

The Center for Creative Community Development (C3D) is a Williams College research center. The mission of the Center is to serve as a national focal point for research, education and training on the role of the arts in community development.

C3D undertakes research on the economic and social impacts of arts and cultural organizations in communities around the United States, and has developed a variety of tools and techniques for measuring and articulating these impacts in a diverse range of communities. The research focuses attention on the localized, neighborhood effects of the arts with a particular focus on communities in the midst of change. The Center, located on the Williams College campus, also works to make practical training in the application of these techniques and casemaking methods more widely available to policy makers, funders, arts administrators, and community development practitioners.

C3D's creation was made possible through the generous support of the Ford Foundation. Sustaining support has been made available from many sources, including the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC).

People at C3D

Stephen C. Sheppard, Director

Williams College Professor of Economics Stephen Sheppard specializes in the study of urban development and the use of economic geography tools. He researches the impacts of amenities and externalities on housing markets and neighborhoods, as well as issues of urban expansion in cities around the world. Dr. Sheppard has been director of C3D since its founding in 2004, studying the community development impacts of the arts. He can be reached by e-mail at: stephen.c.sheppard@williams.edu.

Kay Oehler, Research Coordinator

Dr. Oehler holds a PhD from Washington University in St Louis (1986) with training in urban sociology and social theory. She has been research coordinator at C3D since its founding in 2004. She works on the social and economic impacts of cultural organizations, with a special interest in social networks. Prior to joining C3D Dr. Oehler taught and engaged in research at Washington University in St Louis, Virginia Tech, Oberlin College, and Case Western Reserve University. She can be reached via e-mail at: kay.oehler@williams.edu.

Past Interns at C3D

2015 Interns

Matthew Thomas '17, Susan Wu '17, Paige Wilkinson '16

2014 Interns

H. David Gaines '15, Erica Moszkowski '15

2013 Interns

Michael R. Hellstern '15, Dan Leng Zhao '14, and Gregory J.H. Kehne '16

2012 Interns

Martin H. Soderstrom '14, Theo C. Pippins '14, and Muzaffar Tilavov, Center for Development Economics '12

2011 Intern

Zina B. Ward '12

2010 Intern

Rachel E. Sheppard, Columbia University '13

2009 Interns

Norman Walczak '12, Scott Sobolewski '10, and Asheque Shams '10

2008 Interns

Yang Du '10, Rachel A. Levy '09, Hristo Milev '09, and Jordan Tacher '09

2007 Interns

Allison Seyferth '08, Thomas B. Marshall '09, Riley Maddox '08, and Kori L. Kenerson '09

2006 Interns

Betsy Chang '07, Larry Dworkin '07, Martin Rotemberg '08, and Theodore Wiles '08

2005 Interns

Lily Li '08, Katie Vitello '05, Steve Abbott '07, and Micah Halsey '05

2004 Interns

Ari Kessler '04, Michael Gillmor '07, and Gillian Weeks '06


How is the Center funded?

C3D was launched with support from the Asset and Community Development Program at the Ford Foundation through a grant program administered by Partners for Livable Communities. The Center has also received support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC), the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC).

Can you analyze my community in this fashion?

C3D receives grant support for research studies in a limited number of communities that have already been selected. We are open to the possibility of utilizing our research methodologies in other contexts, but additional grant support would likely be necessary to be able to undertake such work.

Can I do this sort of analysis myself?

C3D is working to develop tools that will allow community developers and arts administrators to undertake the kind of analyses we have piloted without (or with only minimal) outside assistance. We have offered educational opportunities to learn more about our methodologies and what they require in terms of data collection and interpretation. If you wish to hear more about these opportunities as they arise, please contact us.

Would you speak at my conference/meeting/workshop?

We are eager to present our work to groups of community developers, arts administrators, public policy and civic leaders, and fellow researchers. Please email stephen.c.sheppard@williams.edu to let us know of an upcoming event if you feel our work would be of interest.

Site designed by Zack Sheppard. ©2015 by C3D.

The Center for Creative Community Development
68 Mission Park Drive
Williamstown, MA 01267
Phone: 413.597.4461