For Release Saturday, September 24, 2011
By God they got it! They finally got it! Bravo to National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Rocco Landsman, his staff and the consortium of government agencies, foundations and corporations for their pledge to invest generously in locally-formed, modest-scale cultural enterprises as generators of urban rebirth.
This group’s new program, ArtPlace, will distribute $11.5 million in grants and $12 million in loans to programs that integrate the arts into local efforts in transportation, housing, community development and job creation. For decades, exactly these kinds of efforts have been a prime renewer of downtowns. Denver, Sante Fe, Portland, Pittsburgh, Chattanooga. Name a reborn downtown district and you’ll find similar modest catalysts that added up to big change.
And this is not just about artists or even the arts as narrowly defined. It’s about the ancillary services and businesses that creative work attracts and, critically, it is about energizing an area so that all kinds of activities are attracted to locate there.