Meeting tonight: Arts placemaking project in Baltimore involving the European Union National Institutes of Culture
I didn't find out about this til an hour ago, otherwise I would have tried to go, especially as the European Union National Institutes of Culture has reached out to me on this project because someone introduced them to my writings on arts and revitalization.
I have been somewhat critical of some of the discussion about arts based revitalization (and the "creative placemaking" initiative of the NEA.
Where the project could be interesting is in coming up with a better typology for types of places and their asset and opportunity mix, and how that shapes potential and results. This was from one exchange:
Wrt your project and Baltimore, I think there are 3-4 very different examples of programs there, with different conditions therefore different opportunities and therefore different results. I am not sure that people are really looking more deeply at the differences.
Station North is doing really really well, improving incrementally. DK if you have talked with people at MICA but they are a real asset for that district, but not the only one. (Three blog entries related to Station North: Lights Out," Engaged civic planning efforts," and Fitzgerald apartment building.")
Highlandtown isn't having near the same success. In large part it's because of location and its particular real estate market. But the Creative Arts Alliance at the Patterson is an incredible anchor (one I was thinking about when I wrote that paper on disciplines doing their own plans.)
Then there is West Baltimore, anchored by the Hippodrome Theater, a big venue focused on presentation and run by a national theater organization, and therefore, more focused on what I call arts as consumption. Big public investments, a more top down treatment than the others.
Plus the city itself, with its city government agency, the Baltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts, has a very interesting approach. Chicago has a similarly successful city arts agency. Most cities bobble this.
The fourth district maybe, isn't a formal arts district, but it has the Senator Theatre, which has had financial problems for decades, and now is owned by the same people who own the Charles Theater in Station North. Across the street is an interesting shopping center revitalization project. But there isn't the same kind of revitalization need and opportunity in that area either.