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.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

VISIONDC (Vision DC) Arts and Urban Innovation Summit, Monday April 24th

From email:

CulturalDC, the arts advocacy and development group, is launching VISIONDC, a summit-conference on Arts and Urban Innovation.  The program is posted at the conferenece website, and early bird pricing is in effect for tickets through March 24th.  It will be held at the Arena Stage/The Mead Center for American Theater in Southwest DC.

VISIONDC is designed to inspire fresh ideas about artspace and community development in Washington. Artists, technological visionaries, cultural partners, business and civic leaders will assemble for a full day of energetic conversation and creativity.  Highlights include:
  • Some of DC's hottest artists: Sheldon Scott, Street Light Circus, Linda Hesh
  • Community powerhouses: Jamie Bennett, ArtPlace America; Andy Shallal, Busboys & Poets; Phillipa Hughes, Pink Line Project
  • National Innovators in Development: Isabel Castilla, The High Line NYC; Vicki Davis, Urban Atlantic; Scott Kratz, 11th St Bridge Park
  • ART TANK, a real-time funding commitment to public art installations by philanthropists and developers

I have written extensively on the topic of arts and culture-based revitalization for years, spurred in part by gaps in DC's "cultural offer," the failure to develop a local arts and culture ecosystem as opposed to being reliant on the federal government as the primary provider of arts and culture facilities and programming, and the weakness in local cultural planning (although DC is currently engaged in the creation of a Arts and Culture Master Plan.

Some of these writings include:

-- "Art, culture districts, and revitalization," 2009 (this was the basis of a presentation I made at the national conference of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas)
-- "BTMFBA [Buy the %^& Building Already: the best way to ward off artist or retail displacement is to buy the building," 2016
-- "When BTMFBA isn't enough: keeping civic assets public through cy pres review," 2016
-- "The song remains the same: DC's continued failures in cultural planning as evidenced by failures with Bohemian Caverns, Howard Theatre, Union Arts, Takoma Theatre...," 2016  (this extends the arguments discussed in "Cultural resources planning in DC: In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king", 2007, and earlier pieces)
-- "Should community culture master plans include elements on higher education arts programs?," 2016
-- "Transit stations as an element of civic architecture," 2016 (about the aesthetic elements of infrastructure)
-- "Musings on community building and revitalization," 2007
-- "Arts-based revitalization, community building, network strengthening, commodification, and Artomatic," 2009
-- "Arts vs. arts-plus for commercial district revitalization," 2008

And going beyond thinking about arts districts and instead to "creative quarters," is discussed in the above-cited piece, "The song remains the same..."

The range and astuteness of those writings is why the European Union National Institutes of Culture Washington Chapter hired me in 2013 to write about culture-based revitalization in 8 European cities as part of a project they were doing in Baltimore. (Even though at that point, I had never been to Europe.)

I learned even more as a result, was introduced to an array of exemplary programs and certain academic writings of which I had been unaware (e.g., the basic argument in "Art, culture districts, and revitalization" are based on the work of John Montgomery). Those lessons and resulting recommendations are summarized in this piece:

-- "Richard Layman reflects on EU in Baltimore," 2014.

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