Monday, May 2, 2011

Policy: Historical Antecedents of Cultural Planning - Week 12

"The History of Village Improvement in the United States" - Warren H. Manning
  • Village Improvement grew out of villages' use of commons
  • many commons were divided and turned into private plots/buildings 
  • village improvement was first concerned with trees along roadways; previously farmers and lumberers had stolen them
    • connection to direct method of local government
    • desire to bring beauty, convenience, and safety to public grounds
      • attracted people of culture to purchase homes (457)
  • major phase of movement was marked by parks planning, village improvement societies, and government park acquisitions, such as Yellowstone
  • goals of village improvement
    • town pride
    • public spirit
    • intellectual life
    • good fellowship
    • public health
    • improvement of roads, roadsides, and sidewalks; addition of roadside benches
    • street lights
    • public parks
    • improvement of home and home life
    • tree planting
    • improved railroad stations
    • betterment of factory surroundings
  • bringing together artists to create the Chicago World's Fair "gave a tremendous impetus to civic and village improvement activities" (460)
  • 1897: organization of the American Park and Outdoor Art Association in Louisville
  • Women's Clubs were very influential in the Village Improvement movement
  • movement encompassed arts & crafts, libraries, recreation, railroads, schools, civic art, and more (461)
  • article argues that VI societies should compel government to do their legitimate work well (like improving roads) and not do the work in the government's place, but that they should "inaugurate activities of which little is known in their communities" (464) such as the building of playgrounds and school gardens and the improvement of school and home grounds

"Municipal Art Movement" (Scott, 1971)
  • early civic endeavors in city planning were focused more on aesthetics than analytic or scientific reasoning
  • aesthetic endeavors were often based on ideals of society and a "concern for municipal efficiency and economy"
  • ideal city came to be associated with the "white city" set up at the World's Fair
  • municipal art societies worked towards goal of making streets and other public areas more visually pleasing
    • attracted tourists and "desirable" residents due to increasing real estate prices
  • inspiration of Paris, the ideal "City Beautiful"
    • clean paved streets
    • public buildings surrounded by harmonious architecture
    • modern art statuary
    • beautiful bridges
    • old cathedral
  • beautification was one aspect of increasing civic pride
  • emphasis on aesthetics did contradict earlier humanitarian values of reformers, sociologists, social workers, etc.

City Beautiful: The 1901 Plan for Washington, D.C. (Rose, 1996)
  • by 1910 about 46% of Americans lived in cities
  • as the middle and upper-middle classes moved out to the suburbs, the working class was left with decaying urban centers
  • reformers were generally of these middle and upper-middle classes who feared the potential violence of those left in the cities and worried about their safety and business viability
  • belief concerning the moral value of cities: "Common to almost all the reformers...was the conviction--explicit or implicit--that the city, although obviously different from the village...should nevertheless replicate the moral order of the village. City dwellers, they believed, must somehow be brought to perceive themselves as members of cohesive communities knit together by shared moral and social values."
  • Daniel Burnham: believed that City Beautiful, by reforming the landscape, would complement the other reforms of Progressives
    • believed a beautiful city would inspire inhabitants to moral and civic virtues
  • goals:
    • social ills would be swept away, as the beauty of the city would inspire civic loyalty and moral rectitude in the impoverished
    • American cities would be brought to cultural parity with their European competitors through the use of the European Beaux-Arts idiom
    • a more inviting city center still would not bring the upper classes back to live, but certainly to work and spend money in the urban areas
  • 1901 Washington, D.C. plan was first expression of City Beautiful movement
    • inspired especially by Paris - "a work of civic art"
    • "In the past, the Mall was simply an open space for residents of Washington D.C.; with the new plan it 'was reconceived as a new kind of governmental complex, a combined civic and cultural center that is at once a national front lawn and an imperial forum.'"
    • plan didn't include measures for displaced poor
    • layout of buildings created a sacred yet exclusive government space which seemed to seal out local residents and commercial districts
    • did not succeed in influencing the moral and economic form or poor residents:
      • "The idea that the poor would be somehow morally rejuvenated, and therefore more apt to succeed economically, through proximity to a beautiful city center was unproven and unproveable. Ultimately, in the 1901 plan for Washington D.C., the City Beautiful movement was unsuccessful only in the one thing it expressly allied itself with--Progressive moral and economic reform in the urban center."

Works Progress Administration (Couvrette)
  • American artists had gained interest and approval in the late 1920s, but that interest crashed along with the stock market
    • collectors didn't have the money to invest in art
    • affected both the mediocre and the previously highly-respected/wealthy artists
    • fear of a diminished American culture if artists were forced to work outside of their field
  • no real precedent for federal supported arts up to this point
  • programs had to balance need for employing artists with expectation of high-quality art
  • Treasury Dept. responsible for the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP) and Treasury Section of Painting and Sculpture
  • PWAP
    • first federal work-relief program designed to meet the needs of artists
    • based off Mexican program where government sponsored mural paintings
    • painted murals in non-federal public buildings and public parks to foster interest in the arts
    • organization dictated the style of the paintings
  • The Section: 1% for the Arts
    • "One percent of the money appropriated for the erection of new public buildings was to be set aside for the allocation of the best art by the best artists"
  • Treasury Relief Art Program (TRAP): meant to provide embellishment for the buildings whose budgets did not allow the usual one percent of funds for this purpose
  • Fine Arts Project (division of WPA)
    • employed over 5000 artists: included fine artists but also included craftsmen, commercial/applied artists, etc.
    • mural painting was especially important: got artists out of studio and into a public/social context
    • "Unlike the PWAP and the Section, with their reliance upon the skills of proven artists to produce art of the highest quality, the WPA/FAP was interested not in creating individual masterpieces but in inspiring a broad cultural movement in the United States"
    • did not dictate style, but subjects of murals did have to be American
    • inspired new belief that art should belong to all people, not just elites
  • "The interest of the federal government in raising the cultural standards of the general public led to the establishment of a series of community art centers and experimental galleries across the United States. It was found that there was almost no public venue for the exhibition and teaching of art at the neighborhood level... These new centers and galleries were to provide a sort of "cultural welfare" meant to balance the economic welfare supplied by other New Deal programs."
    • provided free entertainment and thus received high numbers of visitors--even those who 10 years before would not have been interested
    • exhibitions were usually planned with consideration for community interests 
    • goal of raising interest in the arts, particularly among children
    • additional goal of creating a diverse yet unified American identity

"Unemployed Arts" (Fortune, 1937)
  • federal government had been acting more like a charity with its monetary support until it started to implement work programs
    • work relief was more successful when diversified to fit different skill sets
  • goal of the WPA was the employment of the unemployed
  • Federal Arts Project created a huge response--thousands of artists were involved and hundreds of thousands became visitors/audience/students in newly created arts organizations
    • brought American artist and audience closer together through face-to-face settings
  • relatively loose requirements for being a participant in the Federal Arts Project, allowed for large numbers of participants from a variety of backgrounds
    • all artists were not seen as geniuses and virtuosos, but were appreciated for creating an art movement that became a vital functioning part of the country's cultural scheme
    • goal of creating widest possible public interest in art and providing greatest possible social services
  • leaders of FAP were more associated with the arts and art-making than with the federal government
  • galleries became an important part of towns and the education aspect of communities
  • galleries and other arts organizations provided hundreds of thousands with their first contact with art and first art instruction (wasn't provided by public schools at the time)
  • government became one of the largest patrons of art in the world
  • most admission prices/tickets were free, and others were usually low-priced
  • question of whether or not the art projects are good enough to qualify for their large price tag

  • How are the goals of these early cultural planning/policy projects similar/different from those of modern day cultural planning?
  • Why did the government of the 1930s decide it was worthwhile to preserve culture in the time of recession/depression but the current government seems less willing?
  • How/why did goals evolve from aesthetics to community building? Have they actually evolved in that way?
  • government sponsored arts organizations and galleries became relatively prevalent during the new Deal, but are practically non-existent now
    • look into People's Art Center in St Louis, primarily for African-American students; able to keep going into 1960s after federal funding ended ('43)
    • What sort of assessments or evaluations were given to these groups? What were the organizational dynamics like?
      • transition from creation of organizations to funding of organizations on the federal level
  • Did interest on federal level generate local/city-wide projects?

Further reading:
Hines, Thomas S. "The Imperial Mall: The City Beautiful Movement and the Washington Plan of 1901-02"
Wilson, William H. The City Beautiful Movement. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989.
Becker, Heather. Art for the People [book]: discusses depression-era Chicago school murals

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011

    Policy: Building the Creative Sector - Week 11

    Braddock Articles and Video
    • Braddock was once of the most successful towns in America (where Carnegie build his first steel factory), but it is now one of the most dilapidated towns in the nation
    • town suffers from poor infrastructure, decrepit houses and buildings, heavy population loss, and more
    • Mayor John Fetterman uses town essentially as an experiment to try new methods of revitalization
      • creating artist live-work spaces
        • free studio space for artists
      • urban gardening
      • community centers
      • public art installations
    • Fetterman has set up a non-profit, Braddock Redux, using family money to accomplish most of the changes he's introduced to the community
      • non-profit status allows him to operate outside of the political system
      • also allows him to implicate radical changes without much say from community members and longtime residents
    • town has witnessed a decrease in number of homicides
    • town is gentrification-proof because of the radically low prices of housing; even if prices tripled they would still be affordable
      • affordable to buy, not necessarily to make livable - many who moved to the town have seen their savings disappear as they try to make necessary improvements in the houses they've bought
      • as of yet only 23 people have moved in to 10 households
        • people were attracted by the low overhead of living, felt that they would have more time to pursue hobbies, but this is not necessarily true
        • people moving in aren't really doing so in order to "fix" the town (8)
    • Fetterman claims he never tried to bring people in to the town, but he did create a website to advertise the town
    • Fettermen doesn't seem to relate urban revitalization (urban homesteading) to fostering civic engagement
      • "Is urban renewal just a matter of showing up" (8)
    • image portrayed in the media and the reality of the town don't necessarily match up
      • one person does acknowledge that "the mayor is doing good things for the kids, and that does matter most, the future" (8-9)

    "From Brew Town to Cool Town" (Zimmerman, 2008)
    • criticizes Milwaukee's application of Florida's ideas for further polarizing the city both economically and racially
    • municipal government tried to adapt the city's central area to better appeal to the "presumed" lifestyle needs of the creative class
      • new logo attempted to shift image of Milwaukee from industrial to cultural; used image of addition to Milwaukee Art Museum to represent the city
    • rather than "bohemianism," Florida's creative class seem more closely associated with higher levels of education than the average population
    • critics cite that Florida's creative cities actually featured higher-than-average unemployment rates and sustained job losses in recent years
    • some have pointed out that bohemian neighborhoods are likely a consequence of economic growth rather than a cause of it
      • issue of causality appears again and again
      • claim that Florida did indeed understand the causality backwardly
    • city created a branding strategy to market itself as a creative city suitable and desirable for creative young professionals
    • city made efforts to improve the physical attractiveness of downtown neighborhoods
      • these efforts sometimes received funding over more long-standing community services and amenities, like public pools (which often serve the working class)
    • Third Ward neighborhood was becoming rapidly gentrified
    • benefits of city's plan
      • increase in population growth compared to the suburbs
      • city gained more young professionals
      • property-led residential boom in the central area
    • disadvantages/things the plan didn't seem to change
      • net job losses actually accelerated during the implementation of the plan; this economic issue was especially prominent in the central area, particularly for racial minorities
      • argues that plan served a small and privileged population without addressing the needs of African-American and immigrant working class and working poor populations
      • Florida omits "old-economy" workers from his scheme and ignores unions and class-based political parties
      • deepened pre-existing social inequalities and bolstered regimes of exclusion

    "Politics of a Creative Class" (Markusen, 2005)
    • argues that artists are very distinct from other members of Florida's creative class
    • "talent, skill, and creativity are not synonymous with higher education" (1921)
    • artists participate actively in politics, pursue liberal political values and support the rise of welfare
    • the definition of creativity remains fuzzy in Florida's terms; conflates creativity with high levels of education
    • Florida largely ignores diversity other than the "gay index"
    • argues that there is no simple direction between the presence of artists and the semi-independent locational preferences among selected groups of workers
      • difficult to know how to profit over this relationship by instituting government policy
      • relationship between artists and high-tech driven urban growth remains unclear
    • research does show that artists take into consideration the tradeoffs between "being where the action is" and livability, artistic networks, and philanthropic support
      • artists often move to the seedy, transitional neighborhoods rather than wealthy downtown areas
    • local arts can be a draw for additional city revenue, particularly from tourists
      • "import-substituting activity" (1932)
    • mixed opinions from artists on Florida's work
      • like the publicity and attention they have received, understand the problem's implicit in his strategies
    • artists want more support for neighborhood-based/decentralized art spaces
    • discusses different views of artists as gentrifiers (1936-37)
      • effect depends on the condition/stability of the location
      • many artists are actually of the community

    "Gentrification and Desire" (Caulfield, 1989)
    • "marginal cultural practice breeds its own displacement"
      • based on the workings of the culture industry
    • gentrifiers are difficult to identify, and it is hard to understand individuals through the term alone
      • many have different political leanings, occupations, incomes, etc.
    • different views on gentrifiers
      • all city resettlers are gentrifiers
        • consider first-phase gentrifiers "complicit" in the dislocation of low-income residents
      • there are different stages of gentrification and the gentrifiers at these different stages should be considered differently
        • first-phase gentrifiers are often on the side of the existing neighborhoods and against neighborhood gentrification
    • culture is understood to play a part in the gentrification process, but the exact role remains largely unknown ("black box")
    • Why are resettlers attracted to old urban neighborhoods? What makes these places desirable over other communities they could afford?
      • rent gap
      • affection fo "diversity"
      • rejection of suburban ideals
      • "repelled from... suburban time-space rhythms of separate spheres of work and daily life" (622)
      • "emancipatory practice oriented toward particular use-values of older urban places that are felt to be diminished in current-day city-building
        • desire to refashion the historical city
        • desires go further back than the counter-cultural movements of the 1960s, have long been relevant to "first-phase" gentrifiers
    • culture industry has the ability to package and sell pre-existing desires
      • lifestyle as a product
    • "revitalization" of old city neighborhoods actually often result in the devitalization of less affluent communities
      • forced displacement, particularly for low-income tenants

    Artists and Urban Development (Cole, 1987)
    • addresses the changes associated with artists moving to Hoboken, Jersey City, and Newark in the Manhattan periphery
    • artists can be both victims of the capitalist system and the early drivers of forces such as gentrification and displacement for low-income populations
    • artists change land use
    • artist loft spaces can be desirable for wealthy middle-class individuals; can result in the displacement of artists who have displaced low-income individuals
      • increased property values, construction of condominiums (marketed often as lofts for chicness), etc.
      • difficult for these two groups of displaced persons to form a common front because their ultimate goals differ; low-income residents sometimes perceive the artist not as an ally but as "a symbol of change that will ultimately deprive them of their homes" (407)
    • Jersey City: "artist community was institutionalized as part of planned improvement and rehabilitation of [the Heights] section" (395)
      • unclear whether this proclamation actually had an effect on driving more artists to the cities
      • government does not provide special benefits to artists
      • the Heights is not a blighted area and thus doesn't qualify for redevelopment benefits
      • claim that changes resulting from influx of artists was "natural," though city did embark on a large marketing program to advertise the redevelopment underway
    • Newark: "artists have migrated to well-established neighborhoods, not to the vacant zones considered unsafe by most middle-class standards" (399)
      • some artists believe that publicity used artists to shift the image of Newark in order to promote the possibility of land speculation and gentrification
      • artists do repurpose some buildings, but the overall effects on the community do not seem to be broad
    • artists' residencies as a sign that a neighborhood might be a good place to live; artists come first, then developers
    • some artists, galleries, and arts organizations work to integrate themselves into their location-based community, while others are more focused on not instigating any change/trouble and trying to find ways to work on their art while keeping a connection to New York City
    • importance of artists/arts organizations buying their own space so as to not be forced out by rising rent prices brought about by their living in the city
      • some have argued for rent subsidies for artists in order to repay them for their contribution to urban revitalization
        • rent subsidies for other residents are often ignored in these discussions
    • artists have various responses to the issue of social responsibility
      • they have little control in changing landuses, yet there participation seems instrumental

    "Sustainable Communities and and the Creative Sector" Webinar (Hud, Jul. 2010)
    • ability of arts organizations to do creative placemaking
      • supporting local artists, creating more foot traffic
      • making a place where people actually want to live, work, and play
    • partnership between multiple government organizations for new funding opportunities
      • Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities and the NEA
    • sustainability
      • tying the quality and the location of housing to broader opportunities, like more jobs
      • six principles
        • better transportation choice
        • increase of location- and energy- efficient housing choices
        • improve economic competitiveness
        • put funding towards existing communities
        • align federal policies
        • enhance unique characteristics of communities
    • two grant programs
      • Community Challenge and Title II Tiger Grants
        • alight Federal programs to support the building of projects that further the six livability principles
      • Sustainable Communities Grants
        • grants to programs which improve infrastructure, economic development, health, social equality, or more simply bolster the arts and culture community
        • require a consortium to apply to the grant (12:00)
        • emphasize needs to work with the community
        • acknowledges the difference in population criteria
          • grant prizes are proportional to size of region
      • strongly stresses building off of existing momentum in communities by forming partnerships

    Questions and Comments
    • Can artists be seen as anything other than gentrifiers if they move into a town with the purpose of "fixing" it?  What benefits and problems might be associated with such a purpose?
    • How has Braddock succeeded thus far?  What are ways that it could further improve its town's condition? What lessons can other failing cities and towns learn from it (either from what it has done right or wrong)?
    • What problems are presented by a non-profit, rather than the government, instituting major change in a community?  What are the benefits?
    • What is the causal relation between artists, bohemian neighborhoods, and economic success? Is it really one way in any direction?
    • What problems are implicit in Florida's definition of the creative class as a class which really signifies higher education? How can his argument be expanded to cover a broader population? Would his argument hold up if it weren't referring to the highly educated (who are usually more wealthy)?
    • At what point does gentrification shift from first-phase to second-phase? Can any measures be taken to diminish second-phase gentrification and avoid population displacement?
    • Is culture and certain counter-cultural desires a driving factor for certain populations, particularly those considered "gentrifiers?" If so, what other factors contribute to the seeds of gentrification?
    • How can artists and displaced low-income residents form a united front against gentrification? How can the government intervene?
    • In addition to the grants offered by HUD, what other government partnerships might be successful at improving the arts and culture sector and at using arts and culture as a basis for development and growth?

    Further reading is highlighted in the reference sections of "From Brew Town to Cool Town," "'Gentrification' and Desire," and "Politics of a Creative Class"

    Articles Annie read/commented on:

    • radio documentary about creative economy investment in Michigan
    • Newark mayor: comes from Newark, went and got Ivy-league educated, really inserted himself back into the fabric of the life of Newark
    • comparison between Lowe and Fettermen: different motives, same activities/impacts (relatively speaking)
    • How do all of these issues consider the suburbs?

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Policy: Social Impact of the Arts Project - Week 10

    From Creative Economy to Creative Society (Stern and Seifert, 2008)
    • creative economy has become a popular remedy for blight
      • flaws of creative economy policy:
        • misperception of culture and creativity as a product of individual genius rather than collective activity
        • willingness to tolerate social dislocation in exchange for urban vitality or competitive advantage
    • calls for new model of neighborhood-based creative economy
      • way to integrate urban neighborhood residents with the regional economy and civil society
      • must integrate economic opportunity and social inclusion
      • assets-based, treating neighborhoods as potential "cultural hubs;" some have potential to become "natural cultural districts"
      • vision must be social, political, economic, and possess rationale
    • cultural cluster perspective has greatest potential to meet dual policy goals of economic equality and social inclusion
    • gentrification: common objection
      • artists are especially vulnerable to winner-take-all dynamic
      • creative industries are dominated by jobs with high educational requirements
        • creative economic development can expand job opportunities for highly-skilled workers rather than less well-trained urban residents
    • relationship between cultural engagement and "collective efficacy" - "social cohesion among neighbors combined with their willingness to intervene on behalf of the common good"
    • informal arts have high potential for community building
    • culture is linked to neighborhood revitalization by the social organization of the creative economy; culture can create social networks in ways other community activities can't
      • "neighborhoods with a critical mass of cultural assets--and a dense web of social networks--are more likely to experience stable social diversity as well as economic revitalization"
    • "creative economy perspective misunderstands creativity" (6)
    • most culture-based revitalization focuses on downtowns and invests more in high-income residents and visitors; benefit for lower-income residents is usually tied to some trickle-down effect
      • smaller-scale projects yield modest direct economic return yet often create spill-over effects that contribute to the quality of community life, which can trigger long-term economic benefits
      • creating artists' centers help maximize artistic spillover effects
    • culture can foster inclusion, but not automatically

    Cultivating "Natural" Cultural Districts (Stern and Seifert, 2008)
    • culture can succeed in modern urban revival because arts have become much more active, accessible, and polyglot
      • informal social settings are most common venues for creative engagement in low-income urban areas
    • natural cultural district
      • neighborhood that has spawned a density of assets that sets it apart from other neighborhoods
      • clusters encourage innovation and creativity--spur cultural production--push neighborhoods to regeneration tipping-point and attract new services and residents
      • occurs without policy intent
        • public sector can contribute to the success of these districts by simply doing its job better
        • need to develop broader workforce policies for people going into the arts sector
      • must be cultivated; difficult to encourage growth without interfering negatively in their uniqueness 
      • usually have diverse population that are already involved in creative activities
        • many poor urban neighborhoods have these ingredients but lack the consumer base to help them take off
      • problem of externalities--people who create social value in these areas often have no way of reaping their full reward from doing so
    • think of cultural sector as an ecosystem in which different parts are self-organizing and interdependent
    • cities of greater diversity are more likely to have high cultural participation, house cultural groups, and provide support for artists
      • possess energy and vitality conducive to creativity
      • high levels of cultural production might be product of competition or cooperation
    • revitalization relies on both direct economic impact and, perhaps more importantly, impact on the civic life of urban neighborhoods
    • two possibile negative consequences for culture-based development: gentrification and expansion of economic inequality
      • displacement can occur only when conditions are "right"
      • proliferation of informal arts sector is one symptom of expanding inequality within the creative sector
    • "The conflict between downtown and neighborhood development is a false choice" (10)
      • creative sector excels at and needs to build connections, foster social engagement
    • culture is effective at strengthening communities and building bridges between them

    Migrants, Communities, and Culture (Stern et. al., 2008)
    • Migrant cultural engagement is particularly important for urban neighborhoods
    • all immigrants are not alike
    • urban cultural scenes offer immigrants links to other social institutions
    • immigrants are concentrated at bottom and top of economic ladder
      • many have problems translating educational achievement into economic benefits
      • institutional barriers to arts, education, employment, and health
    • cultural expression is a way for immigrants to define who they are; more than a commodity
    • immigrants are likely to participate in informal cultural expression related to themselves, but are less likely to participate in established cultural organizations
      • shift balance between nonprofit cultural sector and commercial and informal sectors
    • differences between arts organizations are less based on nonprofit vs commercial, but on large vs small
    • immigrant groups often provide opportunities for cultural expression alongside other social benefits
      • fulfill everyday necessities and self-identity needs
      • cultural engagement can promote an assets-based strategy for expanding opportunities for immigrant communities to link to a wider range of services
    • immigrant arts have accelerated the growth of the informal sector

    • What benefits are gained by thinking of the cultural sector as an "ecosystem"?  How is this different from thinking about the sector as a market?
    • How is culture better able to foster inclusion than other types of activities?
    • How might it be possible to get immigrants more involved in established arts organizations?  What problems or issues might be involved in drawing them away from their ethnic cultural organizations?  What would the benefits be?
    • Why is the distinction between informal, nonprofit, and commercial arts organizations significant?  Is it only important to the structure of the organization?  How does it effect the experiences of the participants?
    • Why is the 'conflict between downtown and neighborhood development' a 'false choice'?  How can development occur across geographic lines when resources are often tight?
    • How can policy improve the environment for arts organizations?  How, besides providing funding, can they encourage them to succeed and proliferate?
      • Should public policy actually be involved in these arts organizations/cultural sector?
    • How are direct economic impacts and impacts on the civic life or urban neighborhoods related?  Is their relationship of the 'the chicken and the egg' variety, or is there a clear process in which they occur?

    Further Reading:
    *highlighted sources in documents
    Information on the Rotunda (connected to Penn)

    Saturday, April 2, 2011

    Community Art: Project Row Houses - Week 9
    • "the mission of Project Row Houses is to transform community through the celebration of art and African-American history and culture"
    • "Since our inception, PRH’s campus has grown from the original block and a half to six blocks, and from 22 houses to 40 properties; including twelve artist exhibition and/or residency spaces, seven houses for young mothers, artist residencies, office spaces, a community gallery, a park, low-income residential and commercial spaces."
    • work was inspired not only by Beuys' social sculpture but also by artist Dr. John Biggers' principles of the creation of effective communities:
      • Art and creativity should be viewed as an integral part of life, exemplified in African traditions wherein art is interwoven into the very fabric of life through rituals and ceremony activities.
      • Quality education is defined through impartation of knowledge and wisdom – including understanding that is passed from generation to generation.
      • Strong neighborhoods have social safety nets, woven by community to support community and to raise social responsibility
      • Good and relevant architecture; meaning housing that should not only be well designed, but also make sense to preserve a community’s historic character.
    • staff includes founder, executive director, development manager, education manager, public arts manager, Young Mothers program manager, and an administrative assistant, as well as volunteers
    • publicizes visiting hours
    • showcases history of buildings within their decription
    • hosts after-school and summer programs for school-aged children
      • cost is dependent on a sliding-scale based on household income
    • Young Mothers Program serves single mothers 18-26 
      • mothers must be enrolled in school, have at least a part-time job, and attend program events/counseling sessions/etc.
      • program focuses on development in the areas of academic excellence, career development, financial security, parental responsibility, and social/spiritual awareness
      • serves up to 5 women at a time; so far program has supported 50 "graduates" who have proven to be successful after their stay
    • Row Houses Community Development Corporation - sister program
      • focus on providing low-income rental housing as well as opportunities for home-ownership for low-income individuals
    • offers opportunities for summer studios to college-attending artists interested in community-based art
    • street-scaping effort to install public artworks around campus
    • hosts artist and community talks
    • formed partnerships with many organizations, mostly local, such as the Architecture department at Rice

    "Activism as Art: Shotgun Shacks Saved through Art-based Revitalization" (Sholette, 2010)
    • art that helps the community and directly engages in it rather than art that is about the community--idea of Beuys' social sculpture
    • plan was conceived as an effort to save the historical (at least within the community) "shotgun shacks" from demolition; also wanted to help the people currently living within them to stay within their community
      • need for artistic component to prove to community that they were more than slumlords, prove that they truly care
    • Project Row Houses includes a residential program for young mothers and artist-in-residence programs
    • funding that goes directly into a community rather than into a medial institution trying to serve the community can result in greater ripple effects (especially economically) throughout the community
    • finds ways to enhance the economic structures around the community: developed more housing in the area surrounding PRH, but this is more to preserve the community and "control" its economic destiny
      • rent prices on new homes are still kept low, so it's not a money-making venture for the program
    • want to mix middle-income people into the area to bring in more education/more dollars--but important to retain the mix rather than just bring bigger payers into the community 
    • Lowe doesn't want to get involved in actual policy because he feels that he serves better as an artist

    "Project Row Houses: Social Scultpure in Practice" Video (Current TV, 2008)
    • high school student challenged Lowe to create a solution to the issues his art was raising (the people in these communities already knew the issues)
      • create art with practical implications
    • artists and young people began to "sculpt" the mostly abandoned area of the Third Ward; slowly more and more people became involved in helping to clean and "program" the site
      • wanted art and artists to be at the core of what they were doing
    • goals:
      • understand and elevate the architecture
      • engage art and artists
      • focus on education as something that could contribute to improving the quality of life in this community
      • create a social safety net
      • future goal: economic development

    "Project Row Houses" (Roeck, 2010)
    • Lowe hoped that the renovated houses would instill a pride in the community
    • began as a non-profit--was able to get funding because they were promoting the arts, saving historic structures, encouraging community development, and addressing social problems
    • idea of treating the community as an art project
    • mentions that while many people feel that PRH gives them a fresh start and can enable them to be successful, it's not transformative for everyone
      • Lowe suggests that this is understandable as the work of social art is never done
    • PRH has year-round arts programming from workshops to openings to festivals
    • PRH helped the community to avoid the gentrification that some nearby neighborhoods were experiencing

    Project Row Houses (America's Most Livable Communities)
    • goal: connect local artists with revitalization of the third ward community
    • campus primarily serves low-income African Americans; several houses are set aside for artist residencies and some gallery space
    • Artists Project uses teenagers to assist the artists and act as tour guides
    • site attracts many people throughout Houston of various cultural, ethnic, and social backgrounds
    • organization has grown into comprehensive community development group, with programs focus in the arts and culture, education, and historic and community preservation and revitalization
    • PRH helps the community reconnect with its African American culture and history and resist the threat of gentrification

    "Project Row Houses endeavor branches into laundromats" (Gray, 2009)
    • campus has grown tremendously and now blurs into surrounding community
    • in addition to homes, PRH has renovated historic spaces like the Eldorado Ballroom and taken in Victorian-era shotgun houses moved to their site when the original neighborhood was threatened
    • questions if the artwork can be expanded to other areas of the city/country/world
    • Lowe claims the key is for the artists to focus on the art and to bring in specialists or incubate new businesses for other ventures, such as work force development or counseling
    • Laundromat as art: create a "Cookie Love's Wash 'n' Fold"--an actual nice, clean laundromat that celebrates the life of a real person (Cookie Love) part of the Third Ward

    Interview: Rick Lowe on Designing Project Row Houses (Finkelpearl, 2001)
    • large-scale art initiative tend not to originate within minority/underprivileged/underserved communities
    • eight or so of the row homes are dedicated to art exhibitions
    • claims that PRH addresses issues that art-as-urban-development projects tend not to address, like teenage mothers, school drop outs, etc
    • Lowe wanted to create political art that was actually reaching the people it was relevant to--wanted to display his art outside of the gallery space
    • felt need to focus his audience--focused on poor/working-class African Americans, because speaking to all the poor/working people was too difficult
      • felt it was more effective to work with a focus
      • didn't care so much about what the artist world thought of his projects so long as the community was pleased
    • question of the line between art and propaganda 
    • Lowe believes he can only make work reflecting issues that are relevant and meaningful to him; doesn't feel successful in making commissioned work
    • commitment to doing long-term community projects rather than a hit-and-run 
    • approached houses as if working on a sculpture
    • got local arts museums and organizations to adopt houses--built partnerships to renovate houses more quickly and with more people
      • brought together lots of people working side by side in the Third Ward
      • at first many outsiders were volunteering, but then churches began to get more community members to volunteer as well
    • there were many conflicting values among the people involved in the organization, which sometimes made it difficult to accomplish things
      • ex: advisor didn't want someone from Planned Parenthood speaking to the young mothers because she was against abortion
    • Lowe feels that his creativity within the project is over, but he is proud that he created a forum which can stand independently from himself; wants to step back once he feels the project is truly stable
    • Lowe doesn't devalue 'museum' or 'gallery art,' he just doesn't feel like it's his calling as an artist

    Interview: Assata Shakur on Living in Project Row Houses (Finkelpearl, 2001)
    • Shakur was one of the first women to be a part of the young mothers program
    • in the beginning, the mothers felt that they were somewhat on display and had a hard time navigating how to achieve privacy when they were living in a public art project
    • project was initially quite strict and had multiple behavior requirements, though those restrictions became somewhat more lax in later years
    • program provided day care for the children; idea was to provide women with all the resources they needed to essentially get on their feet and prepare them to be successful once they left the program
      • created a total support system
    • Shakur, after leaving the program, continued to volunteer with PRH; felt that she owed dedication to the program similar to that which they had given to her
    • women supervising behavior/character/training classes was a psychologist who had grown up across the street and thus understood many of the issues these women were now facing
    • Shakur comments on the communal nature of PRH and how it created an environment which caused people to build relationships with one another
    • some artists began doing work related to the young mothers program; others allowed the young mothers to work with them as interns, giving them experience as artists or businesswomen 
    • Shakur to Lowe: "I'm your art"
    • PRH attracted people who wouldn't normally visit a museum or gallery; it presented art in a non-threatening way which had a connection with these people 
      • brought something to the community rather than bringing the community to the museum


    • What other examples of "social sculpture" like this exist?  
    • Can/should all community art projects create social safety nets? 
    • organization seems to have a strong focus on building partnerships with other community organizations
      • receives lots of funding, mostly because of how multi-faceted the project is, it seems
    • like the articles from last week, mentions that funding can have greater effects when it goes directly to the community rather than through some intermediary organization--but Project Row Houses does seem to be such an organization, just one with different functions than a museum
    • interesting that the Economic Development organization is separate from the main organization but that the two do seem to work closely together
    • Question of whether or not art is actually central to the success of this project--Lowe thought it was, but how is that changing the lives of the people in this community?
      • Does it make a different that there is art within these houses rather than just renovating the houses themselves?  
    • What social issues are involved when an artist treats a community as an art project? What are the positive/negative ramifications of that?
    • the project does bring in specialists for programs not directly related to the artwork
    • Could this project be transplanted to another place?  What are the qualifications for a project like this to succeed?
    • Does Lowe's intended audience make this project seem exclusive to people not from the community?
      • appears that it doesn't
    • How can you achieve privacy for people living within a public art project?  Especially if they are considered to be part of the art?

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    Community Art: Forms of Engagement - Week 8

    Community-Based Artistic Practice: Perspectives from a Gathering of Exemplar Artist Companies (Treuhaft, 2008)
    • meeting between Cornerstone Theater Company, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Sojourn Theatre, and Urban Bush Women
    • goals of the meeting
      • express core values and working methods of each organization
      • link Summer Institutes
      • examine ways theatre and dance function differently and similarly in their work
      • discuss engagement strategies, partnership-building, and ensemble-based work
      • discuss the role of the leader/director/facilitator in projects and organizations doing work that involves collaboration within groups of artists and within community contexts
    • works of all four companies involve eye contact, connection, physical sharing, gestural dance, bilingualism, and storytelling
    • community partnership: "a partnership with others who bring equal value to the table and then we figure out together what our commonalities are and how we work together"
      • process of learning from one another, of entering the work humbly and with curiosity
    • "All the artists agreed that the work must be connected to specific community needs: it can't just live as generalized "medicine," a cure-all intended to work for every problem" (5)
    • need for an exit strategy in community work, lay groundwork for community to take up the project/new projects on their own
      • need for action inside the leave-taking
      • ritualizing the leave-taking
    • all groups were committed to providing training in community-based practice for the next generation of artists via "institutes"
      • organizing group acts as both a learner and a teacher, brings a passion for collaboration
      • groups expressed interest in some form of collective institute
    • ways of achieving a fiscally healthy company: corporate sponsorship/partnership
      • can these corporations be looked at as diverse communities instead of homogenous monoliths
      • can these partnerships be formed with denigrating the artistic process in some way?
      • redefining idea of a corporate community makes it possible to see how art could play a role
        • place where people are engaged in more diverse surroundings than their home lives
        • need to understand their own cultures and address the ways that outside communities look at them, the successful integration of a product, the impact of a product on society, and the concept of a company's footprint on the environment
    • can a national organization have a local impact?
      • need to find ways to develop roots at home while broadening national audience
      • having a home necessitates accountability
        • issue that many of these organizations don't have a space of their own in their hometown 
      • each company seems to have a different definition of "home"
      • all have a commitment to how the arts can deepen a personal and communal sense of place

    Live from Your Neighborhood: A National Study of Outdoor Arts Festivals (NEA,
    • "art works": artist productions, arts engaging and inspiring audiences, arts workers as real workers
    • festivals and fairs collectively attract more unique audience members per year than most arts events
    • festival audiences are on average more diverse that those for many other types of live art events; their audiences more closely resemble the general population that no other groups of art-goers
    • arts festivals as tokens of civic pride, demonstrated by the government and community support they receive
    • activities usually span a wide array of art forms which converge in a single space
    • usually create a high-quality arts experience (juried, curated, managed by professionals, etc.)
    • arts educational opportunities form a component of most outdoor arts festivals
      • some even form partnerships with schools/school districts
    • most are free or offer discounted ticketing
      • in the case of Houston's IFest, even charging for admission still seemed to draw an economically-diverse audience
    • usually take place in small or mid-sized communities
    • tend to occur in accessible and family-friendly spaces
    • most have occurred in the same community for more than a decade; a part of the community's 
    • culture
    • support of local government agencies is crucial to success of outdoor arts festivals
      • most funds however come from corporate sponsorship and vendor fees
      • public-private partnerships have much lower costs than private non-profits due to breaks from municipal government on licenses, services, etc.
    • rely heavily on volunteers and small number of dedicated staff
    • festival as an opportunity to showcase their community, give the public the gift of art and culture, and promote cultural understanding, appreciation, and acceptance
    • festivals engage greater interaction between audiences and artists
    • opportunity to expose audiences to unfamiliar artistic forms and styles and to introduce lesser-known artists alongside big names
    • audiences are usually involved more in the arts either as observers or as active participants (or both)
    • less traditional (i.e. not "high-art") festivals seem to have a more diverse audience based on snapshots of case studies
    • jazz is the most common type of music played at music festivals, followed by blues, folk/traditional, bluegrass, and then rock/pop music and more popular music
    • survey used qualitative and quantitative data

    Feminist Aesthetic Practice of Community Development: the case of Myths and Mirrors Community Arts (Clover, 2007)
    • article argues that "paying attention to the aesthetic dimension of politically-oriented pedagogies can add to the knowledge and understanding of community development and social learning theory and practice.  Imagination and creativity are powerful tools inherent to all human beings that enable risk-taking, the reclamation of public space, and the simultaneous exercising and contesting of power within the neo-conservative landscape"; also augments cultural leadership
    • Myths and Mirrors Community Arts "uses the arts to creatively build community, encourage creative forms of civic dialogue, learning and engagement, and stimulate imaginative critiques that challenge neo-conservatism and injustice"
    • neo-conservatism as a danger to civic participation (causing a decline) and to long-establish social policies and practices (shift to more market-based policies)
    • empowerment, feminist, and transformative approaches to community development emphasize process (especially dialogue, collective decision-making, and debate) and address issues of oppression, social justice, and exclusion, "linking personal issues to those that are local, national, or even global"
      • focus on concept of social learning, which can go hand in hand with "consciousness-raising," which supposedly always includes creativity and imagination
      • ex: small arts and crafts industries for self-sufficiency are used to alleviate some adverse excess of globalization
      • community development and adult education as integral parts to feminist movement in northern Ontario
        • feminist aesthetic: made connections between oppression and culture, the culture industry and the absence of women's voices as these women developed their own practice to address issues such as violence and poverty
        • brought together professional artists with residents to collectively create art to explore modern 'myths' and reflect or 'mirror' back their own stories, knowledge, and experiences
    • A Show of Hands: community art project which prompted reflection, analysis, and discourse on the theme of neighborhood
    • Quilt Project: alternative space where women's voices could become an integral yet creative part of the public discourse about the future of northern Ontario
      • outreach beyond those who usually get involved in political work; not activist, but "real women who were really interested in talking about their dreams and their community for the future" (516)
    • Myths and Mirrors attends to socioeconomic and political issues while at the same time places at the centre the cultural, aesthetic, and creative elements of humanity and community
      • aesthetic reclaiming or recreation of spaces, filling it with people's visions, artworks, and abilities so they may begin to see themselves and the 'creative possibilities of their own lives in a different light'
      • conscious effort to use women's arts/crafts and create projects that attract women
      • make artists socially responsive
        • artists do more than create art pieces based on input of community; they work to create artists, cultural actors, and agents of socio-cultural change--foster a collective art piece or multiple individually-created art pieces
      • puts product and process on same level (rather than valuing process more)
        • since the product is going public, it must be of a quality that makes the creator proud and the audience take notice
      • make concepts of hope, celebration, and fun fundamental to both their process and product

    Common Ground: cultural action as a route to community development (Matarasso, 2007)
    • view from England
    • shift in cultural policy from collective to individual outcomes is in line with growing individualization of policy since the 1980s
    • difficult to work on longer-term community objectives with grants are more often given on a project basis
    • changes reflected in nomenclature--"community arts" becoming "community-based arts" or "participatory arts"
    • rural touring networks: establish genuine equality between the partners; effects of empowerment can be seen in those communities that have gone on to promote other performances independently and, more usually, those that have developed other cultural and social activities as a result of the experience, confidence, and skills gained through rural touring
    • south-east Europe "Living Heritage" program
      • developed set of guiding principles on the method, intention, and approach
      • intended to convey that every community has heritage or cultural resources that are important to them, and in respect of which they have unique expertise
      • necessary that people proposing the project cared about it and could demonstrate a similar commitment in the wider community
      • wasn't open to applications from existing organizations
        • aimed to support marginalized and disempowered communities
      • provided non-financial support in form of formal training, site visits, specialist assistance through local experts, support in negotiating with public bodies, etc.
      • offered small grants; program had to enable a process of local capacity building and organizational development that would leave each community better able to work collectively toward shared goals
        • gave funds directly to communities they were working with rather than intermediary agencies or arts organizations
          • money as form of empowerment, proof of respect
      • unlike most community arts practice, didn't rely on professionals with artistic/cultural expertise; residents were key players in project implementation
        • learning process for the participants
        • strengthened existing community associations and development of new ones
        • created new ties and partnerships
      • recognizes intrinsic cultural value of such projects and the broader developmental outcomes they can produce
        • culture however is not a secondary issue but a way in which to understand and address other problems
        • focus on community assets not problems
      • self-managed cultural projects are within people's existing means
      • art and the community activism it can nurture aren't final solutions to social problems, but they can be tools used in achieving those final solutions
        • form nucleus of self-determination, even of resistance

    Skimmed readings:
    • A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Arts Education for At-Risk Youth (Silbert and Welch, 2001)
      • though many support arts education, few are committed to paying for it
      • five program features most strongly associated with quality: extended in-time program, complementary program components, ties with other community organizations, youth mentorship opportunities, emphasis on performance and presentation
      • found average cost of "quality arts education program"; while acknowledging prosocial and academic developments associated with such programs, this cost is compared to benefit in dollars of the reduction in criminal activity (and thus court and prison spending) such programs can cause; also compares it to the tax benefit state will receive if these children grow up to have higher-paying jobs due to their academic achievements
    • Eloquent Evidence: Arts at the Core of Learning (President's Committee of the Arts and Humanities, 1998)
      • cites facts about how arts educated students score higher on SAT
      • cites facts about prosocial improvements as they relate to participants in specific arts programs
      • cited how arts programs can aid in job-preparedness
      • cites arts as a vehicle to teach other subjects
      • cited art as particularly useful for at-risk youth

    • What are the problems created by national organizations seeking to have local impacts in specific places?  Is it possible to have effects both at home and in these new places?  Is that even necessary?
      • ex: If your organization is reaching out to underserved places, do you really have to have a physical grounding in Brooklyn where you're based from?  
      • How does home-based support affect an organization?
    • How can these redefinitions of corporate communities be spread to a greater number of arts organizations?  How might these organizations accept these redefinitions?  Do corporations actually want to be considered as communities, or do they want a more removed role (get their name on as sponsors and nothing else)?
      • Can this be carried over to discussions of corporate sponsorships at festivals?
    • possibility for contradiction between addressing community needs rather than claiming to be some general panacea and creating developmental rather than remedial impacts
      • claims that positive development is more successful that remedial solutions in arts impacts 
    • For festivals, are jazz/blues/bluegrass actually the most played at festivals, or did this study not consider more 'corporate' music festivals (Bonnaroo, SXSW, etc.)
      • How does this statistic relate to other studies which have found interest in jazz to have decreased--is it that people aren't realizing they're listening to jazz, that it's not displeasing so it's played more at these festivals, or are these festivals appealing more to older crowds?
    • How can arts organizations use what has been learned from outdoor arts festivals to diversify and broaden their own audiences?
      • How do these festivals impact the other programs some of these organizations put on?  Are their other programs more likely to have some spillover effects from the festivals?
    • What are the problems and benefits created by Myths and Mirrors focusing on "women's crafts/projects"?  Is this limiting participation?  Is this reinforcing stereotypical gender-norms?  Or is it attracting people who wouldn't often involve themselves in the public sphere and voice their own opinions?
      • Can an equal balance actually be achieved in value given to process and product? in attention given to socioeconomic and political issues verse aesthetic and creative development?
    • How do international approaches and intentions of cultural community development differ from that in America?
      • Why do these differences exist?
    • How can self-managed cultural projects be made possible when outside sources are in fact involved in some way?
      • Are the outsiders meant to instigate projects then step away?  How do they help with management and oversight while the project still claims to be "self-managed"?
    • How can cost-benefit analyses and other more typical policy evaluations be used to promote the arts in the public realm?

    Further reading:
    Schools, Communities, and the Arts: A Research Compendium (NEA)
    McArthur, David and Sally Ann Law, "The Arts and Prosocial Impact Study: A Review of Current Programs and Literature," Santa Monica, CA; RAND 1996.
    Stone, Ann et. al., "The Arts and Prosocial Impact Study: An Examination of Best Practices," Santa Monica, CA; RAND 1997.
    Stone, Ann et. al., "The Arts and Prosocial Impact Study: Program Characteristics and Prosocial Effects," Santa Monica, CA; RAND 1998. 
    Belfore, E. and Bennett, O. (2006) Rethinking the Social Impact of the Arts: a Critical-Historical Review, Research Paper No. 9, Centre for Cultural Policy Studies, University of Warwick, England.
    Connelly, S. (2006) Looking inside public involvement: how is it made so ineffective and can we change this?, Community Development Journal, 41(1), 13-24.
    Greene, M. (1995) Releasing the Imagination: Essays on Education, the Arts and Social Change, Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco.
    Can der Veen, R. (2003) Community Development as citizen education, International Journal of Lifelong Education, 22(6), 580-596.
    Survey in NEA Outdoor Arts Festivals Appendix

    Tuesday, March 15, 2011

    Community Art: Public Art - Week 7

    Making Exact Change: How U.S. arts-based programs have made a significant and sustained impact on their communities, A Report from the Community Arts (Cleveland, November 2005)
    • field of art-based community development has shifted from focusing on beautification, quality of life, and community animation in describing their work to addressing conflict resolution, public safety, economic development, and community revitalization
    • methodology of research involved research review, field survey, site research, case studies
      • case studies should be attached in picture 
    • community art defined as "art that is made with, for, and about the communities they serve"
    • findings
      • cross-sector arts partnerships produce expanded definition of success; expand the "we" involved
      • productive community programs have a good organizational and support structure, are patient and adaptive, promote partnerships and networking, value process as much as product, celebrate their history, practice community building
      • commitment to community can be shown through reacting and readjusting based on community feedback
      • community arts are often considered in terms of community cultural development (help developmental and aesthetic goals)
      • community arts programs produce leadership development as a natural byproduct
      • commitment to community engagement as responsibility not strategy; community relationships are integral to art production and presentation
      • mission values informed by practice
      • involve multiple generations
      • emphasize trust and respect
      • pursue sustainability
      • work really is relationship-based: work is community-defined
      • ownership should devolve to community
      • learning for leadership/staff happens on the job; non-traditional hiring practices strengthen diverse workforce
      • communities of interest and program intentions are clearly defined
      • real-estate ownership provides stability and credibility
      • free-labor is expensive
      • addresses lack of research and evaluation
      • high turnover of labor--people get burned out; there's few examples of stress- or trauma-mitigation programs for their staffs
      • leadership transitions can be difficult
    • discussed possible further steps to delve deeper/expand research and improve the support structure for community-arts programs
    • appendix includes questions and survey materials used when conducting research

    “Arts Programs for At-Risk Youth: How U.S. Communities are Using the Arts to Rescue Their Youth and Deter Crime” (Americans for the Arts)
    • claims that arts programs can help youths find their hidden talents build critical self-discipline, communication and job skills
    • details problems that face teens of today, including school dropouts, violent crimes, and gun possession
    • claims arts programs are more cost-effective approaches than other traditional programs (Midnight Basketball, boot camp)
    • focuses most programs on positive development (don't correct problems, give kids the tools to correct them themselves)
      • improvements/new skills for youth should have long-term benefits
      • fix predicators to fix the problems
        • did a longitudinal study of 25,000 students; found that arts lead to greater success in school, regardless of economic status
    • impacts:
      • decreased truancy
      • increased percentage of high school graduates and college-goers
      • decreased levels and intensity of juvenile crime; fewer incidents of repeat criminal behavior
      • improved youth's attitudes about themselves and their future
    • what draws youth to these programs?
      • thrill of creative and artistic expression
        • address similar needs of graffiti in this way
      • community recognition of their work
      • learning of new job skills
      • use of arts as a means to communicate difficult thoughts and emotions
    • many federal agencies will fund arts programs for at-risk youth
    • features "5 steps to get your program off the ground"
      • involves reaching out to other organizations and community members and seeing what's already out there--particularly to see if there's a group already doing what you want to do or a group who would be beneficial to partner with

    Art spaces, public space, and the link to community development (Grodach, 2009)
    • argues that art spaces function as public space and that these spaces community development potential can be expanded with greater attention to this role
      • for the most part, all of these art spaces are indoors, which is a different conception of public art spaces that what one might normally imagine
      • spaces serve as art school, resource and outreach center, and community gathering space in addition to presenting art; work closely with local artists and communities; build upon local assets, generate economic revitalization, and assist in the development of artistic careers
      • conception as public space can be problematic as public space can bring certain groups of people together while sometimes excluding others
        • inclusivity in public space is difficult to actually achieve
    • by strengthening the safety and attraction of their environments, public art spaces can then prompt economic development as a result of the community development and bonding this brings about
    • attributes of public art spaces
      • mission statement of these spaces sets the stage for understanding its public space characteristics
      • variety of programs in facilities designed to handle multiple activities
        • active and diverse schedules even in places that can't hold events for large numbers of people
        • often will use space for community meetings and special community events
      • partnerships with local organizations further engagement with community; some also form partnerships beyond their own community
      • location: most have not built their own building; many have adapted to older buildings 
        • because of high rent prices, most cannot afford to be in the vibrant commercial areas of cities; can sometimes be perceived as being in dangerous areas even if the spaces themselves are free of crime
        • location is crucial in determining access and the perception of access among possible visitors
      • access: most are accessible via public transportation, but most are still built with access by car as the primary means; more support must be given to alternative forms of transportation in order to attract a great variety of visitors/participants
    • roles as public space:
      • attract and represent diverse audience
      • create opportunities for community engagement and interaction within and between groups
        • even those that don't come together in production can come together in space
      • provide venue for underrepresented groups to enhance their visibility
      • become a nucleus for more individualized communities
      • generate local economic activity
        • can strengthen and reinforce social networks in wide arts scene
        • can attract people to a neighborhood who will then spend money there
        • most successful when there is a clustering of compatible activities in terms of economic and social activity
      • can enhance perception of a surrounding neighborhood as a safe place
    • weaknesses as public space:
      • some unintentionally isolate themselves from their surrounding community
      • some try to appeal to every possible interest group and, in the process, risk alienating important constituents
      • diver programming does not guarantee broad representation or that different groups will interact
      • accessibility is a major concern, especially in terms of transportation to the space, handicap accessibility, perceived lack of safety of the location, and the need for family care/activities

    Public Art and Urban Regeneration: Advocacy, claims and critical debates (Hall and Robertson, Jan. 2001)
    • public art claims: help develop sense of identity, develop senses of place, contribute to civic identity, address community needs, tackle social exclusion, possess educational value, and promote social change
      • also contribute to local distinctiveness, attract companies and investment, have a role in cultural tourism, add to land values, create employment, increase use of open spaces, and reduce wear and tear on buildings/lower levels of vandalism
    • 1980s: vast expansion of arts infrastructure, became more linked with public sector
      • "percent-for-art" policies
        • heavy criticism as "corporate baubles"
        • doubts about equitable economic development and art's endorsement of come environmentally damaging and socially exclusive development
        • developed on economic basis
      • local authorities and independent commissioning agencies commissioning public art
      • communities and social activist groups committed to communal regeneration
        • developed on social basis
    • public art: "It's about community building, not simply building something for the community"
      • shift in function to deal with aspirational values of community and constituencies
      • four values fundamental to community development: shared history, identity, needs, and aspirations
      • can promote senses of community and, in practice, actually strengthen community ties by bring people together in the process of its creation
      • in addition to "static art," festivals and other arts project have similar effects
      • public art as catalyst and conduit for generation and communication of social discourse
      • participation is key in social development claims
    • ability to develop sense of place can be founded on commemoration of events or aspects of local history; can also create unique physical identities for certain spaces
      • strengthen the bonds between people and place to strengthen the bonds between people
      • critique: some people may feel excluded based upon what is being remembered/celebrated
    • questionable if public art has the ability to create a unifying civic voice
    • public art can address physical and some economic and psychological needs of communities
    • possibility for public art to be exclusive, though they can in some ways be inclusive in their process, and this usually makes them seem less exclusive in their presentation
    • public art projects can have an educational value, either by having educational programs or having art work with an educational capacity on its own
    • provocative public art is said to promote social change, often by raising awareness of certain issues
    • four broad critiques of public art:
      • lack of satisfactory evaluation of the claims of public art and of a rigorous critical apparatus
      • essentialism of much advocacy
      • lack of critical intervention in much public art practice
      • fundamental flaws of the technocratic advocacy of public art
        • also:
          • complains about the blandness of some public art; in trying not to disturb anyone art which isn't particularly appealing to anyone is created too often
          • discusses exclusionary ability of some corporate public art
    • need for research on public art to address empirical, policy, structural, civic, and ideological questions

    Just Art for a Just City: Public Art and Social Inclusion in Urban Regeneration  (Sharp et. al., 2005)
    • addresses how public art can be inclusionary/exclusionary as part of the wider project of urban regeneration
    • exclusionary public art in the colonial city
      • art that celebrates imperial control, fosters political reaction and the will to de-commemorate alien rule
      • can sometimes lose its meaning with the passage of time
    • public art often masks the political outcomes of its generation and presentation; posits itself as politically neutral
    • inclusion: should it be an end or a means to an end? under what conditions does it contribute to a sense of democratic ownership over the inscription of urban spaces?
    • public art: art which has as its goal a desire to engage with its audiences and to create spaces--whether material, virtual, or imagined--within which people can identify themselves, perhaps by creating a renewed reflection on community, on the uses of public spaces or on our behavior with them
      • focus in this paper is on visual public art
    • in addition to typical claims of public art, mentions that authorities can use public art to signal their willingness to deal with social and environmental problems
      • question of whether public art which "settles" conflict actually enhances the community
      • critiques public art's trend recently to avoid controversy
    • problems of exclusion
      • urban economic restructuring is often accompanied by deepening socioeconomic inequalities
      • there's currently no real proof that public art produces social inclusion
      • characteristics of (ideal) inclusive city
        • gives expression to multiple and shifting identities of different groups
        • avoids the cultural domination of particular elites or interests
      • inclusivity is important al the various stages through which participation in the public art process can take place
    • Can public art make urban development more just by addressing the following issues?
      • non-recognition: reclaiming place and recognizing the past
        • public art does benefit from its visibility, use it to remember/validate histories/marginal groups
        • important to remember that, like notions of community, artwork can have the ability to transcend specific geographical locales
        • should include people in product and practice
      • disrespect: giving voice, countering the stereotype, and rediscovering the margins
        • marginalization results in both invisibility and inaudibility
        • giving people a voice in and ownership of public art can help to empower them and to make the artwork more sustainable
          • can be hard to get multiple voices involved in the process to agree--problematic
        • involving communities fundamentally in the process has a much greater effect than just asking them for their opinion
          • difficult to achieve at the city-wide level
        • public art can rebrand a city's image
        • danger of gentrification as community becomes re-aestheticized  
      • cultural domination and the arts of resistance
        • claim that "city beautiful" is constructed to hide incompatibility of development with a free society
        • problem of where public space is--can any space actually be inclusive?
      • resistance and regeneration
        • graffiti and vandalism is a way that those who have been passed over by regeneration can write themselves back into the landscape, refusing to conform to the new urban order; possible that public art can also fulfill this role
        • attention should be paid to issues of economic redistribution
      • problems of process
        • division between public art initiated by authorities and grassroots approaches is messy
        • question of what responsibility artists should have to the community in which their artwork will be displayed
          • some artwork interferes with daily life, can't be avoided as art in a gallery can
        • context and community involvement are very important
    • lack of research
      • hard to outline methods of "good practice," provide credibility to claims about social impact, and make affirmations of what constitues a "successful" intervention
      • lack of significant dissent on certain forms of public art may be read as support for change, but it can also be understood as false consciousness--i.e., the way in which the art was produced/presented convinced citizens that their interests are equivalent to those of dominant economic classes
    • "The capacity of public art to foster inclusion is at best partial, able to address symbolic more than it is material needs." (1021)

    • what happened during the past 25 years to change the intention/goals of community arts organizations, i.e., the impacts they claim they're having?  was it because that's what funders were responding to?
    • Why exactly are arts programs more cost-effective forms of programs designed to benefit at-risk youth?
      • since these are mostly positive programs, youth not considered to be "at-risk" for the most part could benefit from these programs just as easily--great way to form job and leadership skills and have an outlet for creativity/expression
      • the "hidden talents" these programs help youth to fine do seem to be more than creativity; does it hurt these programs to focus on the other benefits, as many have to do in order to receive funding?
      • How do the impacts of these programs affect community development?
        • possibly... safer environment, greater opportunities for employment (higher academic achievement and job skills), and (depending on the program) community clean-up and beautification
    • If art spaces do indeed function as public space, how should this aspect be promoted in order to make more people feel invited into the space and feel like it's a place for discussion and collaboration?  What are ways to foster inclusitivity or, more importantly, to make different groups of people gather in one place at the same time?
      • should all community arts programs focus on bridging the gaps between different groups of people? or should they focus on one role of community outreach/partnership/involvement?
    • How can public arts spaces in "dangerous" areas prosper?  How can they create sustainable community development?
    • What exactly are the dangers of technocratic advocacy of public art?
    • What ways other than process can community be involved in public art? What other opportunities are there for collaboration or more simply bringing people together?
    • How can public art begin to address material needs over symbolic issues?  Is there a way for the symbolic to actually have effects on the material?  If so, how can that be promoted?
    • What responsibility do public artists have?  How can they make art for a community without creating "bland" art?  Is there a way to make interesting and unobtrusive art?  How does the actual art, regardless of its process, impact the community?
    • Is there any way other than luck to have art-based cultural/social/economic development without gentrification?  At what point does "people being attracted to the community and spending money there" become a problem of gentrification?  Can a balance be reached?

    Further Reading
    Markusen, A. and Johnson, A. (2006) Artists' Centers: Evolution and Impact on Careers, Neighborhoods and Economies, Project on Regional and Industrial Economics, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.
    Mataresso, F. (2007) Common Ground: cultural action as a route to community development, Community Development Journal 42 (4), 449-458.
    Newman, T. et. al. (2003) Do community-based arts projects result in social gains? A review of the literature, Community Development Journal, 38 (4), 310-322.
    Eloquent Evidence: Arts at the Core of Learning  (uses research findings to demonstrate impact of arts education, found on Kennedy Center's website)
    Youth Arts Development Project and Arts and Public Safety Impact Study (research on impact of arts programs)
    "Involvement in the Arts and Success in Secondary School." Americans for the Arts Monographs, Vol. 1, Num. 9
    Institute for Community Development and the Arts
    Miles, M. (1997) Art, Space and the City (London, Routledge).
    Jones, S. (Ed.) (1992) Art in Public: what, why and how (Sunderland, AN Publications).
    Wallis, B. (ed) If You Lived Here.
    Blaney, J. (1989) The arts and the development of community in suburbia, in: British and American Arts Association (Eds.) Arts and the Changing City: an agenda for urban regeneration, pp. 81-84.
    Art for Architecture (Petherbridge, 1987).

    Tuesday, March 8, 2011

    Museums and Communities - Week 6: MASS MoCA Case Study

    Mill Town, Factory Town, Cultural Economic Engine: North Adams in Context (Oehler et. al., 2006)
    • social context is important in understanding the community effects of a cultural organization
    • MASS MoCA comprises one-third of North Adams' downtown business district (in terms of land)
    • article uses first person accounts to give the history of the factory and to provide personal experiences of the townspeople in the days before MASS MoCA
    • the perception of North Adams has changed greatly from one century to the next as it changes from a center of industrialization to a place of "post-industrial decay"
    • North Adams possessed rich architecture
    • 1942: Sprague Electric "recycles" Arnold Print Works factory
      • workplace was a community in its own right
      • factory employed a majority of the residents of North Adams; you either worked there or knew someone that did (likely a member of your own family)
      • company began to demise in late '60s-'70s, mostly due to a realignment of senior management and a 10-week strike
      • closed in 1985
    • 1968: North Adams government began urban renewal program
      • actually brought destruction; would destroy buildings downtown without actually renewing anything
      • cited as 'breaking the spirit of North Adams'
      • wrecking ball became central image of town
      • caused economic downturns because businesses that relocated during program did not return
    • North adams began to see large amounts of poverty, a decline in the quality of education, and unemployment; became poorest community in area
    • article's use of maps helps to bolster important points
    • MASS MoCA's goals: bring economic expansion to North Adams and bring the best of contemporary art to the public
      • mayor was behind the plan "from day three"
      • connection with Guggenheim: positive and negative consequences
        • now, while part of the Guggenheim, it is not branded as a Guggenheim museum
      • due to poor economy, project's political backing collapsed; project needed to find private support, which it did
      • town was generally very receptive to the idea and were happy that the building would finally have a use after sitting dormant for so many years, but the press tended to be against the idea
        • Boston Globe: project is "preposterous, and completely devoid of artistic and economic logic"
      • developed partnerships within Berkshire County and developed a plan to become more interdisciplinary
      • MASS MoCA has helped to develop (directly/indirectly) new sources of local pride
    • MASS MoCA runs largely on earned revenue and private donations
    • called a "case study for urbanologists and politicians seeking to revive failing cities" and "a compelling, haunting overlap of adaptive reuse and neighborhood vitalization"
    • according to mayor, the town now attracts new and young businesses and artists and has experienced an increase in housing values, however they say they have not really experienced problems with gentrification
    • MASS MoCA has shown it can be a catalyst for ongoing community improvement

    Culture and Revitalization: The Economic Effects of MASS MoCA on its Community (Sheppard et. al., 2006)
    • ethnographic and anecdotal evidence suggests that the most important signs of community development impact are at the neighborhood level
      • National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership (SIAP is a member)
      • Americans for the Arts and Creative Economy Council also provide information on economic development through cultural and artistic activities, but not usually on the neighborhood level
      • article discusses advantages and disadvantages of certain models for economic analysis
    • creation of ideas and culture is an important part of today's economy
    • MASS MoCA's spending is largely recirculated throughout the community; has direct, indirect, and induced effects
    • MASS MoCA brings almost 100,000 visitors in town, has led to an increase of 230 jobs, benefits various sectors of the economy (even the medical profession)
      • an increasing number of people spend the night in North Adams, especially compared to other local towns
    • MASS MoCA's operations result in almost $2.2 million in taxes a year, which help offset the government spending initially invested in this project (high return on investment)
    • after MASS MoCA opened, the community became a more desirable place to live (seen in rising housing values near museum/downtown)
    • gentrification has not yet become a serious problem in North Adams; this may be due to the relative abundance of affordable housing due to the town's history of population loss
    • North Adams now has more businesses with more employees
      • these new jobs have not been dominated by low-wage, low skill occupations; average salery per employee has increased
    • thus far, "all of the economic impacts of MASS MoCA are positive... on the local and regional economy." (22)
      • positive impact is clear out to 1.7 kilometers

    Downside UP (documentary on MASS MoCA and North Adams) (2003)
    • the director, originally a resident of North Adams, gives a general history of North Adams and particularly the building that now houses MASS MoCA up through MASS MoCA's first year of operation
    • her main point seems to be that before MASS MoCA and after the closing of Sprague Electric, the town seemed to imbue a sense of hopelessness in its residents which could follow them even after they moved out of North Adams; now she sees possibility that children in North Adams will grow up with positive memories of their town
      • beach in the street project (meant to allow kids to be creative)
    • not all residents really appreciate the art inside the museum; some say they'll never visit it more than once, though others claim that the more they visit it the more they become more accepting of and intrigued by the art
    • museum has prompted new projects, such as the opening of various restaurants and the Porches Inn
    • there were many problems in getting the museum to actually open, particularly funding, yet the museum was able to raise money and eventually get the support of the state
    • residents do seem for the most part to appreciate what the museum has done for the community, even if they don't appreciate the museum itself
      • there does seem to be some question of gentrification and how buildings of some importance to the community are being torn down
      • one resident commented that they would rather be worrying on how to keep housing prices affordable than trying to keep any/all residents within the town

    Visit to MASS MoCA/North Adams
    • both tours (Sol LeWitt and general highlights) mention some history of MASS MoCA and North Adams and the MASS MoCA building
      • general highlights tour specifically mentions economic impact museum has had on community (30% occupancy downtown before opening vs 90% occupancy today)
      • shows general understanding of community in which museum is located
    • lobby offered postcards/pamphlets about other arts organizations/cultural business downtown, cultural/tourist attractions in the area, lodging information, etc.
      • parking lot had map of downtown North Adams to show visitors where certain amenities and businesses were located
    • actual art/exhibitions in museum had very little to do with community; community did not seem present in the process of the exhibitions either
      • did seem to employ community members in cafe/as security guards
    • artist co-op was located on main drag in downtown North Adams, as well as galleries and a theater
      • businesses were closed the day/time I visited, most likely because it was a Sunday
    • the homes in the area in the .5 mile or so surrounding the museum did seem significantly nicer than homes further out from museum (such as those between North Adams and Adams)
    • the museum did do a good job via tours and pamphlets to provide context and a general understanding of the artists/art works; the fact that this information was in pamphlets was especially helpful because it meant visitors could take the information home with them

    Other readings read/skimmed:
    • Pincus, Andrew L. "When can the arts revive an economy?" The Eagle.
      • looks at cultural institutions that have as one of their main focuses having an economic impact on their community, as well as working towards community development
      • these institutions are not "magic bullets"
      • strategy is more likely to work in areas that are already somewhat built around cultural tourism, as the Berkshires are
    • Oehler, Kay, et. al. Shifting Sands in Changing Communities: The Neighborhoods, Social Services, and Cultural Organizations of North Adams, Massachusetts." C3D. 2006.
      • gives overview of the communities of North Adams and the changes they've undergone in the past 20-40 years.
      • "cultural organizations can be part of a collaborative process for rebuilding human capital and social stability in the community"
      • due to growth of cultural organizations, many residents have a more positive outlook about the community which leads to more positive social structures within the community being formed
        • argues that just the promise of MASS MoCA was enough to have an effect on these outlooks
      • MASS MoCA is working to strengthen the community via educational outreach programs and curriculum development for schools
        • residents are now more likely to graduate high school and to pursue higher education since MASS MoCA's opening
        • almost 20% of museum expenditure goes toward educational services
      • MASS MoCA promoted growth of "creative cluster" in North Adams
        • attracted people to community, but was not what kept them in town
      • cultural institutions like MASS MoCA "can effectively use public space to achieve community goals"
        • host town meetings
        • Berkshire county residents can visit the museum free of charge by making use of passes available at public libraries
      • "MASS MoCA has become the symbol of economic hope in North Adams"
    • Oehler, Kay, et. al. Network Analysis and the Social Impact of Cultural Arts Organiztions. C3D.
      • uses mapping technique to trace linkages of individuals or groups with various groups and institutions within the community
      • shows that MASS MoCA has a rather central relationship with other institutions that are part of its community networks; brings linkages from being between 3 organizations to being between 7
      • MASS MoCA is heavily linked to the most central organizations in the community
      • MASS MoCA is positioned to be a coalition builder because it's linked to many organizations in the community and it links them to each other
        • has ties between various sectors (educational, leisure, public, professional, and cultural)
        • strong ties to social services sector as well
      • "with a map of its primary network, a cultural arts organization could demonstrate its collaborative potential in grant proposals"
        • map could also be part of strategic planning within organization
    • Kifner, John. "Museum Brings Town Back to Life." May 30, 2000. The New York Times.
      • claims North Adams is now in renaissance 
      • 2/3 of shops are occupied, compared with 3/10 in mid-80s
      • $5 million project to renovate homes for Porches Inn
      • in first year, MASS MoCA had 105,000 visitors to galleries, 25,000 more to performing arts events; rented commercial space to 8 tenants
        • web companies are among the museum's main tenants
      • MASS MoCA's success in some way hinges on phenomena of post-modern art, particularly the large size of works
      • conception of MASS MoCA had long been considered a pipe dream

    • while founded primarily for the benefit of the community, MASS MoCA doesn't seem to have many other attributes of a community museum; focus still seems largely on the collection/exhibits/performances
      • despite this, the effect on the community in terms of economic and social development does seem great
        • more money in economy, more jobs, more businesses downtown, higher housing values
        • residents are more hopeful and have a renewed sense of local pride
    • the research methods used to prove the effects MASS MoCA has had on North Adams seem very effective in proving both the economic and social impacts
      • while many papers mention a specific paper on MASS MoCA's social impact, I have not yet been able to find this paper... where is it?  has it actually been published?
        • social impacts currently are seen in terms of coalition building, but some articles suggest other social impacts, such as reduced crime
        • Is this because measuring social impacts is in fact the hardest thing to do?  Are they undertaking a more longitudinal study?
    • the downtown does seem to be doing much better than in the pictures/descriptions before MASS MoCA opened
    • MASS MoCA can act as a template for cultural institutions in other towns, but it's important to remember that not all towns are suited to this particular set up
      • Can every town benefit from the investment in some type of cultural institution?  Or must the town already have certain attributes (like a tourism built into the general region)
    • Is it an anomaly that MASS MoCA hasn't caused gentrification?
    • Can MASS MoCA and North Adams sustain this attraction of new media business and keep them in the town?

    Further Reading:
    Vigdor, Jacob. "Does Gentrification Harm the Poor?" Brookings-Wharton Papers on Urban Affairs, 2002, p. 133-182.
    "Not a pretty picture; City hopes museum proposal can spark dismal economy." The Boston Globe. March 2, 1992.
    Zukin, Sharon. 1995. The Cultures of Cities. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers, pp 79-107.
    Zukin, Sharon. 1997. "Cultural strategies of economic development and the hegemony of vision," pp 223-243 in The Urbanization of Injustice, ed. Andy Merrifield and Erik Swyngedouw.  New York University Press.
    Mooney, Brian C. "A 'joke' becomes a showpiece." Aug. 18, 1999. The Boston Globe.
    Reardon, Mike. "Art meets industry." Apr. 15, 2000. The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, MA)
    Filler, Martin. "The museum game." Apr. 17, 2000.  The New Yorker.
    "Berkshire Renaissance." Jul. 18, 1999. The Boston Globe.
    Seaman, Bruce A. "Arts impact studies: A fashionable excess," pp. 43-75 in Economic Impact of the Arts: A Sourcebook.  Washington, DC: National Conference of State Legislatures.
    "Web gives old towns new life." Dec. 27, 1999.  Providence Journal-Bulletin (Rhode Island).