artist-based development goes well beyond gallery walls to build community

A recent study by the Community Partnership for Arts and Culture (CPAC) examines where artists are living in Northeast Ohio. Perhaps it's no surprise that artists tend to populate urban neighborhoods where they can find spacious, affordable housing (including space for studios), walkable streets, diversity and public spaces that foster social interaction.

The report shows that Cleveland Heights is Northeast Ohio's top community for artists -- collectively, the Cedar-Fairmount, Coventry, Severance, Forest Hills, Cedar-Lee and Shaker Square neighborhoods contain 19.4 percent of the region's artists. Other artist-rich neighborhoods include Little Italy/University Circle, Lakewood and Detroit Shoreway.

Yet CPAC's report, entitled "Putting Artists on the Map," also suggests that successful artist-based community development is about more than just counting galleries or lofts where artists congregate. Artist-based development builds relationships between artists and community members, fostering lasting ties that fuel the artist's creativity while aiding the neighborhood's redevelopment.

"Artist-based community development is more than opening an art gallery or having an artist move into a neighborhood," CPAC's report states. "This type of development involves the creation of a more organic relationship between artists and their neighbors."

"This can mean a neighborhood takes steps to identify its hidden arts and culture assets by finding its gathering places and influential figures. Artists can be engaged by making beautiful and interesting public spaces and help unite residents in the process."

The report suggests that neighborhoods like Cleveland Heights, University Circle and Detroit Shoreway should gear their community development programs and policies towards promoting artist-based community development. This spring, CPAC launched its own Artist Community Development Initiative.

To complete the analysis, CPAC mined the databases of large arts organizations such as the Ohio Arts Council to determine where artists live.

Source: CPAC
Writer: Lee Chilcote

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