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.

In 1998, there were less than 100 cultural districts in the United States. Today, there are over 500 cultural districts and 14 states have enacted legislation for the development of cultural districts. There has been growing interest in using cultural districts as a tool for community development and as an economic development strategy. How are communities doing this work? What are the steps to creating a successful cultural district?

Americans for the Arts recently launched the National Cultural Districts Exchange, a suite of online tools and resources on our website to provide research and information to you about cultural districts, and to help continue their growth and advancement across the country. The National Cultural District Exchange has the basics - you can learn about types of cultural districts and see examples of each. If you are looking to develop a cultural district in your area or advance the one you already have, you can find downloadable templates, plans, tools, and resources. The National Cultural Districts Exchange also has several in-depth issue briefs on subjects ranging from funding to tourism. There is even an interactive map of cultural districts in the U.S.! Our CEO and President, Robert Lynch, introduces this new online resource and talks about cultural districts in the video below:

As part of our launch of this new resource, we invite you to join us this week for blog posts by Mayors, researches, executive directors, and others whose work involves developing, funding, and marketing cultural districts. Learn how they are using cultural districts to improve and engage with their communities. We’re looking forward to sharing the value of cultural districts as catalysts for change, and hearing your feedback and questions. Enjoy this blog salon, and this new resource!

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