What does it take to create a neighborhood gathering place that’s beautifully designed and reflects a community's history and aspirations? In Providence, RI, it took months of give and take among community members, architecture students at the Rhode Island School of Design, the city and LISC. The result is an urban lawn and a translucent pavilion that lights up like a beacon at night, piquing curiosity and signaling possibilities.
A new report from LISC’s Creative Placemaking team looks at how our investments in artists, art-related businesses and cultural organizations have fueled economic development in surrounding communities. An investigation into six programs, in places ranging from rural Louisiana to New Haven, Connecticut, reveal that arts and culture can form a critical strand in a comprehensive economic strategy and strengthen the social fabric and dynamism of a community at the same time.
When their former home in Downtown Brooklyn was approved for demolition in order to make room for a new residential sky-rise in 2014, the Cumbe Center for African and Diaspora Dance faced an uncertain future. Fortunately, that period of uncertainty is coming to an end with the renovation of a new space at RestorationART, the cultural centerpiece of the first community development corporation in the nation, Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation.
In an interview for Rural Voices, a publication of the Housing Assistance Council, Bob Reeder, Rural LISC's director for national programs, discusses the importance of inclusion, diversity and economic equity when bringing arts and culture into community development efforts. With those key ingredients, creative placemaking can be a winning proposition for rural revitalization.
Artistic and cultural activities strengthen a community, particularly when they reveal and celebrate its character and identity. At LISC, we support residents coming together to make social, physical and economic changes in their neighborhoods through the arts and culture.