Dateline Los Angeles: BTMFBA & Transformational Projects Action Planning & arts-related community development corporation as an implementation mechanism to own property
The Economic Function, Billboard text at the corner of Corporation Street & Alma Street, Sheffield, UK. 6 April - 20 April 2004.
The work 'The economic function of public art is to increase the value of private property' sets out to question the function of art in the public realm within the economic regeneration of post industrial cities. The image will accompany a text in a journal by Public Art Forum to be published later this year.
This work is the second part of a commission for Public Art Forum. It completes the project 'I Won an Artist in a Raffle' where Hewitt & Jordan presented themselves as a prize to the delegates at the Public Art Forum conference held in London in April 2003. This work is for Allia Ali a project assistant at commissions East who won Hewitt & Jordan in the raffle.
Buy the Mother F* Building already. My BTMFBA pieces discuss the need for artists and artistic disciplines to take control of the real estate they work or live in order to protect their interests--especially long term interests over multi-decade periods of time.
That they can't expect real estate interests or planners to do it for them.
-- "BTMFBA: 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
-- "BMFBTA revisited: nonprofits and facilities planning and acquisition," 2017
-- "BTMFBA: artists and Los Angeles," 2017
-- "BTMFBA Chronicles: Seattle coffee shop raises money to buy its building," 2018
Transformational Projects Action Planning Framework specifies the need for an implementation organization. Various writings summarized in "Why can't the "Bilbao Effect" be reproduced? | Bilbao as an example of Transformational Projects Action Planning" (2017) led to what I now call the concept of "Transformational Projects Action Planning" which lays out six elements necessary for successful knock your socks off ("transformational") revitalization:
- A commitment to the development and production of a broad, comprehensive, visionary, and detailed revitalization plan/s (Bilbao, Hamburg, Liverpool);
- the creation of innovative and successful implementation organizations, with representatives from the public sector and private firms, to carry out the program. Typically, the organizations have some distance from the local government so that the plan and program aren't subject to the vicissitudes of changing political administrations, parties and representatives (Bilbao, Hamburg, Liverpool, Helsinki);
- strong accountability mechanisms that ensure that the critical distance provided by semi-independent implementation organizations isn't taken advantage of in terms of deleterious actions (for example Dublin's Temple Bar Cultural Trust was amazingly successful but over time became somewhat disconnected from local government and spent money somewhat injudiciously, even though they generated their own revenues--this came to a head during the economic downturn and the organization was widely criticized; in response the City Council decided to fold the TBCT and incorporate it into the city government structure, which may have negative ramifications for continued program effectiveness as its revenues get siphoned off and political priorities of elected officials shift elsewhere);
- funding to realize the plan, usually a combination of local, regional, state, and national sources, and in Europe, "structural adjustment" and other programmatic funding from the European Regional Development Fund and related programs is also available (Hamburg, as a city-state, has extra-normal access to funds beyond what may normally be available to the average city);
- integrated branding and marketing programs to support the realization of the plan (Hamburg, Vienna, Liverpool, Bilbao, Dublin);
- flexibility and a willingness to take advantage of serendipitous events and opportunities and integrate new projects into the overall planning and implementation framework (examples include Bilbao's "acquisition" of a branch of the Guggenheim Museum and the creation of a light rail system to complement its new subway system, Liverpool City Council's agreement with a developer to create the Liverpool One mixed use retail, office, and residential development in parallel to the regeneration plan and the hosting of the Capital of Culture program in 2008, and how multifaceted arts centers were developed in otherwise vacated properties rented out cheaply by their owners in Dublin, Helsinki, and Marseille).I
-- "Arts, culture districts and revitalization," 2009
-- "Revisiting stories: cultural planning and the need for arts-based community development corporations as real estate operators," 2018
Santa Fe Arts Colony, Los Angeles.
So why should anyone be surprised when a profits-oriented real estate developer buys a Los Angeles building housing artists in a now attractive location, paying what are below market rents is repositioning the property for the highest paying segments of the housing market according to Hyperallergic, "Residents Are Being Priced Out of an Art Colony in Downtown Los Angeles." From the article:
Artists at the Santa Fe Art Colony, a historic live-work compound on the edge of the Arts District in downtown Los Angeles, are facing displacement after new ownership notified tenants on September 1 that rents will rise as high as 82%. With limited time and money, residents are scrambling to find housing that can suitably accommodate their studio practices.With all the money sloshing around in the LA art world, it ought to be possible to create an arts-focused CDC and raise a fair amount of capital to begin buying properties.
The Santa Fe Art Colony was established in 1988, long before the Arts District became an attractive site for developers. In June of this year, a Miami-based development agency, Fifteen Group, purchased the buildings for an undisclosed amount with the intent to upgrade the lofts into luxury properties. On November 1, roughly one-fifth of the current residents will see their rents spike by between 13 and 82%. The majority of residents cannot afford the new rent outlined in Fifteen Group’s new, 49-page rental agreement and feel they are being evicted from their homes.
While not focused on housing, the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and the Playhouse Square Development Corporation in Cleveland are the best practice models.
While not owning tons of housing, Jubilee Housing of Baltimore has done some interesting arts housing projects, and there is the national example of ArtSpace, although they are good at building housing, they are not good and helping local organizations to build the capacity to do this themselves.