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, May 26, 2015

Arts roundup

1. The Art Newspaper is published monthly.  Every year they publish a special report on museum attendance, this year's special section was published in April. This article ("Visitor figures 2014: the world goes dotty over Yayoi Kusama") summarizes the findings and conclusions.

2.  World Cities Culture Forum "is a collaborative network of world cities that share a belief in the importance of culture for creating thriving cities"and was initiated by the City of London. (Another example of Charles Landry's point that "world cities don't just take, they give to the rest of the world.") .

The organization's 24 members include four North American cities: Los Angeles; Montreal; New York City; and Toronto.

-- World Cities Culture Report 2014
-- Transformational Cultural Projects Report has case studies organized by the following categories: Resilient Communities; Social Inclusion; Urban Revitalization; Distinctive Identity; Participation; and Innovation.

3.  Public Art Review is a journal published by Forecast Public Art, an organization focused on linking artists and communities. There is a one to two year lag, but full issues are accessible online. Content of the magazine focuses on artists, public art projects, community practices in public art, book reviews, and notices.  The advertisements too are interesting, often featuring artists and firms doing large scale works. (The publication is included in the Arts Index database, see below, with a one year lag on full issue content.)

Forecast Public Art has compiled and presents a Public Art Toolkit.resource on the website too.

Aerial Rendering of cSPACE King Edward.

4.  The Toronto Globe & Mail story, " Calgary’s King Edward School to be reborn as creative hub cSPACE," discusses the creation of an arts hub created by the organization cSpace Projects, which will be located in a deaccessioned school in the Marda Loop neighborhood.

I argue these kinds of spaces are essential to the strengthening of artistic disciplines and organizations, as well as the cultural offer, and if done right, achieve community revitalization objectives as well.  From the article:
... a 47,000-square-foot creative hub and arts incubator for a diverse group of artists and arts organizations. It will have studios, offices and production facilities, as well as exhibition and performance spaces – including a 130-seat theatre built in a new glass wing.

The idea is to bring artists, non-profits and creative entrepreneurs together “to collaborate, feed off each other’s energy and create new work,” cSPACE president and chief executive Reid Henry says. “I’m very interested in this building being a place where every facet of the cultural and creative sector come together, so whether you’re working in community projects or non-profit, performance art or commercial art, even, … we want to be a space for them to incubate their ideas.”

The building is scheduled to open in late 2016 with tenants such as the Alberta Craft Council, the experimental company Theatre Encounter and the collaborative arts centre Studio C.

Outside the LEED Gold project, an arts-infused park will have four art cubes for pop-up works of public art and tiny exhibitions.
As it happens, Calgary's mayor, Naheed Kurban Nenshi, is considered to be one of North America's most innovative and thoughtful mayors ("'Canada's Mayor' sees the city positively," Toronto Star), including on creative economy matters.

5.  Note that in the Europe in Baltimore project blog, I argued that a similar kind of space placed in the border area between Baltimore's Bromo Tower and Station North arts districts could have a similar kind of knitting and building effect, tying together those two districts, and leveraging the civic and cultural assets within each district to achieve a greater whole.
Development of additional and bigger anchor institutions to support artists and the development of artistic disciplines and arts production.  Baltimore has at least two formal arts anchor institutions that are comparable, albeit on a much smaller scale, to La Friche in Marseille and Cable Factory in Helsinki–the Creative Alliance in Highlandtown and the School 33 Art Center–plus a variety of ground up independent facilities such as the Load of Fun Gallery on North Avenue and others throughout the city.

The development of a big arts center facility like those in Helsinki and Marseille in the core of the city could be a way to physically and spatially link the Station North and Westside arts initiatives, which are roughly adjacent.

If the “Europe in Baltimore” initiative continues, perhaps it could include a more focused exploration of these kinds of arts facilities that operate in many European cities.  Many of these centers are members of the Trans Europe Halles network.
6.  Arts Index is an articles index and database of major arts publication.  Most university and public library systems have this database on-site and available to registered users for remote access.  It's a good reason to either have a library card for your local public library or to be a member of your university's alumni association, which often includ library access.

7.  MoMA in New York City has launched an initiative called "Prime Time," a free program for seniors, offering gallery presentations film showings, online courses, and other events.

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