Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

More Arts Displacement

Number 84, Leonardo DrewLeonardo Drew in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Number 84, 2002. Paper, glue. Approximately 74 1/2 x 108 x 144 inches. Photo: Shane Walsh.

When I wrote the piece yesterday about the displacement of Artworks, the community fine arts education and gallery project in Trenton, I didn't think to link their problems--the City of Trenton wants to evict the project and convert the building to condominums, with a ground floor gallery--with the displacement of the Washington Sculpture Center and the Washington Glass School in favor of the baseball stadium, and the relatively indifferent efforts to retain these programs elsewhere in the city. At this point the Sculpture Center is likely to cease activities, at least in DC, and the Glass School is moving to Arlington County, Virginia.

Part of the problem in finding alternative space for these organizations, and a number of people tried I will say that, is that DC doesn't have many of the industrial-like buildings that lend themselves to such uses, plus the real estate market is so strong that inexpensive buildings aren't available. But "the government" could have and should have done more, especially since it is the cause of the displacement.

DC/StadiumPatricia Ghiglino is the owner of Washington Sculpture Center; she must move the business because it is located at 1338 Half Street SE, the site of the proposed DC baseball stadium. Photo: Michel Du Cille, The Washington Post. From "Landowners in Stadium's Path Fight to Stay Put: Feb. 7 Move-Out Date Pending in D.C. Court." The buildings have been vacated.

Yesterday's Philadelphia Inquirer has a story about the displacement of the Gilbert Building, which developed into a low-cost arts uses building, in the article "Price of progress: Artists lose a haven." Interestingly enough, the building is being seized by the City to be demolished to allow for the expansion of the Philadelphia Convention Center. Like in DC, the City of Philadelphia did not undertake efforts to assist relocation. Being displaced are:

Asian Arts Initiative on the second floor, Highwire Gallery, a co-op for 17 artists, and Vox Populi, a cooperative and gallery of 24 artists, on the fourth floor. The 29-year-old Fabric Workshop and Museum is on the fifth and sixth floors. The building also contains the Institute for the Arts in Education on the sixth floor and about 35 other artists.

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