Blog Posts for culture and communities

Seven Key Principles for Curating a Cultural District

Posted by J. Kevin McMahon, Feb 04, 2015 0 comments

Numerous editorials have covered the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s work in overseeing Pittsburgh’s most historic transformations—turning a seedy red-light district into a magnet destination for arts lovers, residents, visitors, and business owners. Founded in 1984, the Trust is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is the cultural and economic revitalization of the 14-block arts and entertainment/residential neighborhood called Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, which attracts over two million visitors annually. The organization has grown from a $170k budget in 1984 to a $53M budget today. Most importantly, 90% of the annual budget is allocated to the mission and programs and the organization has maintained a balanced budget year to year.

Below are seven key principles that informed the development of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District.

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Neighbors and Strangers

Posted by Caron Atlas, Feb 03, 2015 0 comments

“We fought poverty, violence and blight, and we made the Southside a better place to live. We are now strangers in our own neighborhood, and it’s painful.”

These words from longtime Brooklyn resident and community leader Evelyn Cruz at a forum about gentrification in Williamsburg have stuck with me for years. I thought of them as we created Naturally Occurring Cultural Districts New York (NOCD-NY), a citywide alliance of artists, cultural organizations, and community leaders coming together to revitalize New York City from the neighborhood up. And I’m thinking about them now as I write this blog about cultural districts and communities as catalysts of change. How can we make sure that our work does not make people strangers in their own neighborhoods?

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Cultural Districts as Community Connectors

Posted by Rebecca Chan, Feb 03, 2015 0 comments

Baltimore’s three cultural districts are each reflections of the distinctive neighborhoods and communities in which they are situated: the Bromo Tower, Highlandtown, and Station North Arts & Entertainment District. An inherently place-based practice, each District operates under a different management structure, producing programming and projects tailored to the strengths and challenges in each District that serve the artists, businesses, and residents in their respective neighborhoods.

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Branding and Marketing a Cultural District

Posted by Jessica Ferey, Feb 03, 2015 0 comments

My fascination with cultural districts first started while living in Richmond, Virginia when the city announced the creation of an Arts District within the Broad Street Corridor. As an avid “culture vulture,” I had strolled through many First Fridays Arts Walks and attended a variety of performances at the newly built CenterStage performing arts center. I was thrilled to know the city recognized the potential impact culture could have on this area. Even after leaving Richmond for Washington, D.C. to attend graduate school, I continued to stay updated on the project and would bring it up in conversation whenever I returned to visit.

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Rejection to Re-imagination: A nontraditional cultural district story

Posted by John Davis, Feb 02, 2015 5 comments

Failure. Unanimous rejection. Back to square one. That was the reaction nearly 15 years ago when I first proposed the idea that the entire town of Lanesboro, Minnesota (pop. 754) could be transformed into an arts campus.

Fast forward to today: Lanesboro is now a national model arts community, tourist community, and agricultural community. A scenic town with a river running through it (great for trout), it boasts a historic main street, a bike trail, and a waterfall on the town’s edge.

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Cultural Districts and Communities: Catalysts for Change

Posted by Theresa Cameron, Feb 02, 2015 0 comments

Welcome to our newest blog salon on Cultural Districts and Communities: Catalysts for Change - our first blog salon of 2015!

Americans for the Arts defines cultural districts as well-recognized, labeled areas of a city in which a high concentration of cultural facilities and programs serve as the main anchor of attraction. They help strengthen local economies, create an enhanced sense of place, and deepen local cultural capacity.

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