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…

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  1. David Fogel
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