Columbia, South Carolina

Posted by Ms. Ruby Lopez Harper, Sep 20, 2016

On a trip to teach and learn about cultural districts in South Carolina, I was struck by the desire of each district to develop relationships with the others and to work together to promote each other’s cultural assets and build knowledge about the state across the state.

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Search and You Shall Find... a Cultural Destination

Posted by Ms. Victoria L. Hamilton, Feb 05, 2015

Since the inception of our work at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation (JCNI), arts and culture taken form in the development of an emerging cultural district, bringing together community members, organizations, and artists to shape both its look and character.

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The Cultural District: The Key to a City’s Heart

Posted by Gayle Kaler, Feb 05, 2015

Cultural districts are the heartbeat of a city. They are the distinctive part that makes your city unique and reveals the character and spirit of your town. They are vital to the sustainability and creativeness of a city, but so often these districts are forgotten and underutilized as a tool for economic growth and viable livability.

As Mayor of Paducah, Kentucky, a city of approximately 25,000, I have seen first-hand how the rejuvenation of a cultural district can have a significant impact on the economic stability and viable livability of an area. Our local government and concerned citizens have invested in, nurtured and supported the growth of our local arts district for many years and we are reaping great rewards from that investment. Paducah has used artist relocation programs, district rejuvenation projects, fiber art attractions, and cultural organization partnerships to create an arts district that is having an impact on both the local economy and the international playing field.

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The Human Experience of Our Creative Community

Posted by Lori McKinney-Blankenship, Jul 25, 2013

Lori McKinney-Blankenship Lori McKinney-Blankenship

I am sitting in The Room Upstairs, our living room style theatre, cross legged on a comfortable couch. To my right, my good friend Tiffany is sculpting an octopus out of polymer clay and giggling with her brilliant musician boyfriend Jordan; he just came off the stage after an intense improvisational jam. On stage now is resident artist Maggie playing folk songs on her guitar. Behind her is a beautiful space scene projected on the screen, mixed with video clips of the ocean. It's beautiful.

To my left is Bobby, a man from the neighborhood who we first met as he collected cans to recycle. He absolutely loves it here. He has a special chair in the back; it's a soft cushy seat, and he kicks back, totally engaged from the time the music kicks in until it finishes at the end of the night. We gather that there isn't much more in life that is available for him; he spends a good bit of time pushing a shopping cart around. Everyone here welcomes him with open arms. In the front row is an autistic lady who rocks hard back and forth to the music and comes with her caretaker, a musician, every week. There are high school kids, college kids, a couple of grandparents, lots of 20- & 30-somethings, and a three-legged black dog.

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Arts Strategies from Cleveland and Dayton

Posted by James Brooks, Feb 05, 2015

The Gordon Square Arts District (GSAD), which is located in Cleveland’s Westside neighborhood, has four major goals – to improve the district’s streetscapes, to create additional parking throughout the district, to restore and renovate the Cleveland Public Theatre and the Capitol Theatre, and to build a permanent home for the Near West Theatre inside the district.

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An Uncommon Cultural District in Downtown Shreveport, Louisiana

Posted by Mrs. Pam Atchison, Jul 26, 2013

Pam Pam Atchinson

Shreveport Common is a nine-block “Creative Community,” located in the Louisiana-designated 25-block Cultural District of Shreveport, where residents get Historic Tax sales tax credits for purchasing original art. Shreveport Common is distinguished as a Creative Placemaking project by artists at the helm of revitalizing this historically rich yet blighted community.

Shreveport, Louisiana is the birthplace of music and art that has played a significant role in our national history. There are 11 cultural venues within one block of all sites in Shreveport Common; 12 sites are National Historic Landmarks. Renowned musicians such as Cab Calloway, Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Duke Ellington, Huddy Ledbetter got their start here. Municipal Auditorium was home to the famous KWKH Louisana Hayride radio broadcast, heard across 10 states.  The Calanthean Temple, America's first sky-scraper that was designed, funded, and built by African Americans, boasted a rooftop stage that attracted musicians from all over the country.  The area is so rich in musical heritage that Robert Plant (of the rock band Led Zeppelin) drove 180 miles to Shreveport following a concert in Dallas to walk the streets for inspiration –specifically Sprague Street, once home to the Blue Goose musicians.

The organizational partnership behind Shreveport Common includes public and private investors who are implementing a National Endowment for the Arts MICD 25th Anniversary funded Vision Plan. Teams of artists, developers, municipal department heads, and non-profits are executing a portfolio of 36 strategies based on authenticity, sustainability, creativity, and community.

Only 800 residents currently live in the area, most in transitional housing. However, new affordable artist housing and exciting market-value, mixed-use developments will join current Section-8 housing. The Vision Plan also engages the area’s social service organizations by forming innovative collaborations with artists’ Pay-It-Forward and Workforce programs. A plethora of functional and aesthetic Public Art, both permanent and temporary, will be combined with consistent programming designed to drive and sustain vibrancy in the district.

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