The value of artists in urban development
An abstract depiction of a proposed place can often capture its emotion, mood and life more effectively than any computer rendering, or even an existing place compared to a photo.
In this piece, Beaver Street at Twilight by City Art Studio Gallery president and curator, Brenda Wintermyer, York, PA, one may get a vibrant sense of warmth, that this is a place for people, with musicians, sidewalk vendors, bicyclists, shoppers, artists and casual strollers a part of the everyday scene, with an inspiring backdrop of colorful banners, richly painted buildings and textured streets. In other words, the painting tends to ellicit responses of, “Wow, if they built a place like that I’d like to live there.”
Unfortunately this kind of artful vision is rarely used in the technical, financial world of city planning and real estate development, and if so, after most of the major design decisions are already made. I’ve seen the actual street this painting is creating a vision for, and while it’s more pleasant than most, what I remember is a lot of grays, asphalt and auto traffic. There’s no theoretical reason why the street couldn’t resemble the more artistic view.
Any CoolTown Studios project will involve a beta community before the initial design, and local artists will be a must for this very reason.
How else could artists contribute to revitalizing a community? Please comment below…
Artists and art contribute to a revitalizing community in a multitude of ways. 1.) If supported, through the provision of space to live, work and display in artists can help establish and define a community’s image as a unique, sociable place (Beyond gallery’s and studios, Public art typically acts as directional markers and meeting points, once again helping define a place.) 2.) Typically artists have nurtured and rely on different parts of the brain for their trade which can help with the visioning process of a community. (I have been in a couple interesting situations where artists and planners worked together and came up with some ingenious solutions) 3.) As Americans For The Arts has documented artists make good neighbors. They are typically more committed to their neighborhoods and participation in its growth when compared to other residential subsets. 4.) Marketing, the catch-22. Artists and public art increases the visibility of a revitalizing community which inevitably increases land values.
Check out: http://www.gatewaycdc.com/AIT.pdf for an example of a community based project that is using the arts to help define a neighborhood as unique, vibrant and walkable.