Subject: Arts & Culture

  • Book Review: How to Do Creative Placemaking

    How to Do Creative Placemaking is billed as “an action-oriented guide for making places better.” The book was recently published by the National Endowment for the Arts, a government agency that is currently sharing space on the Trump administration's chopping block.…

  • Arts in Public Schools: Essential. Life Saving.

      This is dedicated to that Little Girl who experienced the first part of life in such a hard way who used to retreat to her world of books and daydreams just to help her survive the day…    …

  • Art Matters—In Rural Classrooms and Beyond

    I’ve spent nearly two decades working on the intersection of housing, community development, and public policy. I’ve seen the arts bring out the best in us, especially in low-income communities. So when I read the report, “Arts Education Reduces Stress…

  • Gentrification Was the Killer in Oakland Fire

    It’s usually hard to distinguish a victim of gentrification. Many people have a story of getting priced out of their neighborhoods, of being looked at with mistrust by their new neighbors, or of creating beauty with few financial resources, only…

  • Come Together: Reweaving America’s Social Fabric Using the Arts

    The election has shone a powerful spotlight on the myriad ways in which the nation is divided. The weakening of our social fabric has been lamented and analyzed through multiple lenses: politics, religion, race, age, and class. For decades, social…

  • What If a Community Art Project Were Never Done?

    Last week, while in Atlanta for the Opportunity Finance Network conference, I caught a glimpse on a bus tour of the Krog Street Tunnel. The narrow tunnel under a railroad track is covered in street art, which is constantly being…

  • The Politics of Dis-Belonging

    The field of creative placemaking has been challenged for its aversion to addressing the politics of social space as well as its dismissal of the feeling or idea of “belonging” as a critical ingredient of place. In Chicago, arts-based community…

  • At the Table…and Being Heard

    In the fall of 2015, members of the 11th Street Bridge Park project and Washington Performing Arts invited me to participate in an Arts Task Force. The task force was created to seek input from community leaders to drive and determine programs…

  • Who Is It For?

    The 11th Street Bridge Park, a project of Ward 8-based nonprofit Building Bridges Across the River at THEARC and D.C. Government will be Washington, D.C.’s first elevated public park. Located on the piers of the old 11th Street Bridge and…

  • Need Capital For Your Creative Placemaking Project? There’s a Loan for That

    New Jersey communities are teeming with creativity. From as far south as Cape May, up to the north where you can find municipalities like Newark and Morristown, art has been touted as a way to help revitalize disinvested communities, and…

  • Poetry Is Not a Luxury to Achieving Racial, Social, and Economic Equity

    In her essay, Poetry Is Not a Luxury, Audre Lorde, the Caribbean-American writer, poet, radical feminist, lesbian, and civil rights activist, describes an often overlooked yet necessary process in community and equitable development: Poetry is the way we help give…

  • Housing for Which Artists?

    One of the many roles for arts and culture in the community development world is catalyzing interest, vitality, and economic activity in previously overlooked areas. Arts activity can create bridges, bring foot traffic back to neglected areas, fix up abandoned…

  • 6 Things the Arts Can Do for Housing

    [Editor’s Note: How can arts and culture support community development work? It’s a big topic these days. The following is an excerpt from a field scan commissioned by ArtPlace America that sifted through dozens of place-based arts interventions around the…

  • Can Banksy Make New York City Affordable Again?

    Earlier this month Shelterforce posted a conversation about gentrification that posed many different questions about the term and its role in community development. One of the toughest issues for people working on neighborhood revitalization, it was discussed, is knowing when to…

  • Who Owns That Vacant Building? Scan the Art to Find Out

    In a brilliant mash up of classic protest/beautifying strategies and state-of-the-art data management, artists are painting murals on abandoned Baltimore buildings  . . . complete with QR codes that bring you to data about those who own them. The data…

  • The ‘Art’ of Public Planning

    Café tables? Yes. Mimes? Sure. Palm trees? Oooh yeah. I checked off boxes next to the features I like in outdoor public places at a recent community meeting for northern New Jersey. I was excited about being a part of…

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    The Art$, Part III: Some Quick Fixes

    In my earlier posts on this subject, dear reader, I first endeavored to put a finer point on the more than thousand-fold revenue variation between the largest cultural organizations in NYC, and the median cultural organization. Holy stromboli you say? Yes! While…

  • The Art$, Part II

    In my most recent post we started a conversation about some of the differences between very large cultural organizations and, well, everybody else. I pointed out that members of the Cultural Institutions Group (CIG) tend to be concentrated in the upper…

  • The Art$

    I was invited recently by the Municipal Art Society to do a research project called “Who Pays for the Arts." The goal is to create a tool using data provided by the Cultural Data Project (CDP) to better understand how…

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    What’s Next in Arts & Economic Development

    There’s something you should know about me:  I’m a professional amateur.  For the past seven years I’ve been co-writing and performing in original works of musical theater with my wife’s theater company, Downtown Art.  We’ve just opened our latest piece,…