Arts Based Revitalization Duluth


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Arts Based Revitalization Duluth

  2. 2. Heidi Rettig and Associates CONTENTS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1 INTRODUCTION 3 CONSULTING PROCESS 3 Research, Review and Visits Pilot Projects Audience Development and Media Training COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT APPROACH 5 Neighborhood Assets Gifts and skills of neighborhood residents Diverse population with community ties Physical and cultural assets Cultural anchors Strong, vibrant community agencies Strength of its funders STRATEGY FOR IMPLEMENTATION 7 Summary of the Implementation Plan Neighborhood Development and Implementation Ongoing leadership and management Develop mission statement and task force Hire strong marketing manager Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods
  3. 3. Heidi Rettig and Associates INVEST IN “CREATIVE CATALYSTS” 14 Artists as “Catalysts” Expand the C.RE.A.T.E. Program Increase home ownership for artists Increase support for artists and cultural organizations in Hillside/Downtown Creative Place-Making initiatives Beautify the neighborhoods Create “accidental spaces” Think safe, clean and green Promote the cultural assets of Hillside/Downtown APPENDIX 32 Consulting Team Resources Links of Interest Interviews, Community The consulting team would like to thank the Duluth Arts District Development Committee for its commitment to this project: Pam Kramer; Bob DeArmond; Jean Sramek; Johannes Aas; Joe Modec; Ann Klefstad; Cheryl Reitan; Cindy Petkac; Dan Hartman; Crystal Pelkey; Gene Johnson McKeever; Brendan Hanschen; Cliff Knettel; Sue Sojourner; Claudie Washington. Photo credits: James Kraschel (Twin Ports Temporary/Public) ; Debra Tomson Williams, Heidi K. Rettig (Pittsburgh). Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods
  4. 4. Heidi Rettig and Associates EXECUTIVE SUMMARY This plan is intended to help the residents of Duluth realize their shared vision of establishing neighborhoods where creative people can come together to live, work, and do business. Our goal is to use arts and culture as a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization in an area that is already a magnet for artists and audiences – Downtown Duluth and the Hillside neighborhood, which is a “gateway” for residents and visitors to downtown and a home for many of Duluth’s strongest cultural anchors. CONSULTING PROCESS This arts-based revitalization project began at the 2008 Art Works! Conference. The consulting team, Heidi Rettig & Associates, did work in Duluth over a six-month period. During that time, we studied similar projects around the country, the Hillside and Downtown neighborhoods, and talked to the artists, organizations and residents in the area. The consulting team reviewed previous planning studies that proved essential to our work in Duluth. These documents include the 2005 East Downtown, Hillside, and Waterfront Charrette Report and Plan (funded by Duluth Local Initiatives Support Corporation, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation); the At Home in Duluth plan for Central Hillside and the “mini-plan” for the Fourth Street Corridor. A temporary public art project was commissioned to test a decision-making process for the Duluth Arts District Development Committee and to learn more about artists’ capacity and interest in the neighborhoods. What made the project unique was that artists were asked to work collaboratively with residents using found materials collected from the area. Finally, an audience-development and media-training session was conducted, in conjunction with the Duluth News Tribune, with a twofold goal: First, to provide technical assistance on media and marketing strategies, and second, to connect local artists with local media in order to stimulate interest in the project. COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT APPROACH A strengths-based approach was utilized in developing the plan, rather than a needs-based approach. This arts-based revitalization plan for the Hillside and Downtown neighborhoods builds on these strengths: • Gifts and skills of neighborhood residents • Diverse population with ties to the community • Physical and cultural assets • Cultural anchors • Strong, vibrant community agencies • Strength of its funders Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 1
  5. 5. Heidi Rettig and Associates STRATEGY FOR IMPLEMENTATION This plan leverages the existing neighborhood cultural programs into strategies that engage arts and culture in a broader community and economic development process. The end result will be cleaner, more attractive, safer neighborhoods that engage residents and draw tourists to the area. A comprehensive strategy must invest in artists and cultural programming and recognize the key role that arts and culture can play in neighborhood revitalization. The consultants designed these strategies as part of a three-year implementation plan, but it is important to have a longer- term view. The following elements are the critical pieces of this arts-based revitalization plan: • Ongoing leadership and management • Investments in “creative catalysts” • Creative “place-making” ONGOING LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT First a formal committee must be established with resources identified and a timeline for accomplishing its goals. The consulting team recommends that the committee: • Organize a task force and prepare a mission statement • Hire a strong marketing manager to implement strategies INVEST IN THE NEIGHBORHOODS’ “CREATIVE CATALYSTS” A strong community of artists, supported through the strategic investment of resources, can provide the seeds for economic development and growth. The consulting team recommends that the committee: • Create incentives to encourage artists to live and work in Hillside/Downtown • Invest in local artists and build their earning capacity through the C.RE.A.T.E program • Develop a micro-grant fund to support creativity and innovation in the neighborhoods CREATIVE SPACES AND PLACES If a neighborhood displays public art and attractive landscaping, if trash is picked up and weeds removed, it will project itself as a place that is not only clean and attractive but also economically productive. • Use existing arts and cultural assets to beautify the neighborhood • Think “clean, safe and green” Many examples have been provided in order to help visualize and stimulate the creative process in terms of which direction the committee takes. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 2
  6. 6. Heidi Rettig and Associates INTRODUCTION This project evolved from ideas that began germinating at the Art Works! Conference in March 2008. Work has begun in earnest thanks to a planning grant from the Art Works! Moving Forward program, the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, Duluth Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and the Superior Business Improvement District. This three-year arts-based revitalization plan outlines a set of hands-on strategies prepared by our firm, Heidi Rettig and Associates, for the Hillside/Downtown neighborhoods of Duluth, Minnesota. The strategies recommended in this document build upon the strengths of these neighborhoods and align with the vision of the residents, business owners, and community leaders who represent the community. CONSULTING PROCESS Research, Review and Visits In July 2009, the Duluth-Superior Arts District Development Committee approached our consult- ing firm, Heidi Rettig and Associates, about the project. In the succeeding months we researched creative cluster projects in other communities, conducted four visits to Duluth and Superior, and tested a hands-on public art program in Duluth’s Hillside neighborhood. This work was supple- mented by an ongoing review of data on community cultural participation in the Duluth-Superior region, and a review of the strengths and needs in the cultural sector. The consulting team reviewed previous planning studies that proved essential to our work in Duluth. These documents include the 2005 East Downtown, Hillside, and Waterfront Charrette Report and Plan funded by Duluth LISC, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; the At Home in Duluth plan for Central Hillside, and the “mini-plan” for the Fourth Street corridor. During the site visits, we visited with local artists and Duluth’s civic, cultural, and community leaders. Many of these conversations took place at cultural anchors in Duluth and Superior. We also spoke with city officials in charge of arts, culture, parks, recreation, housing, economic development, zoning, and community partnerships for the city of Duluth. We are especially grateful for the insight and dedicated participation of the Duluth Arts District Development Committee. (See Appendix for a list of those who contributed insights to this project). Web sites like Facebook and Twitter were paired with traditional print media to gather informal feedback from the community and generate interest in the creative cluster project. Online, we collected approximately 950 followers in the Twin Ports and have had three mentions in local print publications. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 3
  7. 7. Heidi Rettig and Associates Pilot Projects The project also included two small hands-on pilot projects; each aimed at engaging a number of stakeholders, providing technical assistance to local artists, and generating interest and excitement about Hillside/Downtown. One initiative was a pilot public art program, Twin Ports: Temporary/Public. Twin Ports: Temporary/Public had several goals: • To identify local artists and engage them in projects in the neighborhood • To use temporary public arts projects as a visibility strategy for the neighborhood • To develop and test a public art “tool box” for use by the Duluth Arts District Development Committee. With support from the committee and Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, a call for arists was posted on the Internet and in print media. A seven-member committee reviewed submissions and selected a proj- ect for installation. Duluth LISC offered a $500 stipend Left to right: Twin Ports: Temporary/Public artists to the team of artists chosen by the committee. Kristen Pless; Daniel Schutte, and Dan Neff. Photo credit: James Kraschel. Audience Development and Media Training During the first part of November 2009, we designed and conducted an audience-development and media-training session. We believe that good communication about the creative clusters from neighbors, artists, and nonprofit leaders will greatly improve the chances for the long-term success of the initiative. The audience-development session was open to the public and attended by artists from both Duluth and Superior. A media-training session was conducted by Christa Lawler from the Duluth News Tribune. The goals of the session were to provide technical assis- tance on media and marketing strategies, to connect local artists with local media resources, and to stimulate interest in the project. During a final visit in January 2010, we conducted further interviews and site visits. A draft of the Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Hillside/Downtown was shared with the Duluth-Superior Arts District Development Committee, with interviewees, and with the public via the Web, providing an opportunity to respond to ideas in the document. We gathered feedback via e-mail comments, phone calls or in-person meetings. This information was shared with the committee and, where appropriate, incorporated into the final document. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 4
  8. 8. Heidi Rettig and Associates COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT APPROACH Neighborhood Assets The consulting research utilized in this report uses a community development approach that focuses on “what works” in the neighborhood – building an implementation plan that supports the neighborhoods’ strengths, rather than a needs-based approach that looks only at perceived weaknesses. We worked with residents and community leaders over several months to identify assets and develop strategies based on the assets of Hillside/Downtown. Here are some of the strengths and resources we observed in the community: 1. Gifts and skills of neighborhood residents We were struck by the hard work and dedication of neighborhood residents who put time and energy into bringing the neighborhood together. These neighbors organize formal and informal cultural activities and work together to solve problems, often without pay, to make Duluth an even better place to live. Local residents have been very active in the planning process for the At Home in Duluth plan for Central Hillside, the Duluth Charrette initiative led by LISC, as well as the research that informed this document. 2. Diverse population with ties to the community Hillside/Downtown is home to people of all ages, from all walks of life. The neighborhoods have many active community groups that offer potential for interesting collaboration, including sharing audiences, program ideas, management experience, and venues. Knight Foundation’s Soul of the Community survey in 2009 found the people of Duluth to be “highly loyal and connected to the community,” with the greatest levels of community attachment among lower- income residents and those over 65. The Knight research suggested that social offerings that target students, recent graduates, and residents at mid-career may be an appropriate next step for agencies interested in stopping the “brain drain.” The diversity of Hillside/Downtown offers a laboratory to test some of these ideas. 3. Physical and cultural assets Hillside/Downtown has unparalleled views of Lake Superior, mature trees, historic buildings, and cultural anchors that define their unique character in Duluth. Sacred Heart Music Center, Washington Studios, the Grant Community School collaborative, The Armory Center, Zeitgeist Arts, Teatro Zuccone, and organizations at the Depot are just some of the groups that bring dynamic programs, learning opportunities, and new audiences to the neighborhoods. Commuters and visitors pass through Hillside when visiting the lake and enjoying downtown amenities. Both neighborhoods have implemented planning and support for projects that make the area clean, green, and welcoming to all. Further, both Hillside and Downtown have physical space – vacant lots, vacant buildings and storefronts – that offer opportunities for programming or redevelopment. 4. Cultural anchors The Central Hillside neighborhood is home to two significant cultural anchors: Sacred Heart Music Center and Washington Studios. Sacred Heart Music Center, a transformed, dramatic, historic church, is a showcase for an eclectic mix of live music performances and arts education programs. Sacred Heart houses a world-class recording studio and the historic Felgemaker organ. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 5
  9. 9. Heidi Rettig and Associates Washington Studios, one of the first artists’ housing developments in the country is home to 39 live-work studios, a gallery, two dance studios, three music rehearsal rooms, and meeting rooms. Both facilities have tremendous potential to anchor interesting activities and programs that will draw people and help create a sense of place. 5. Strong, vibrant community agencies Schools, libraries, hospitals, social service organizations, parks, police and fire departments, businesses, home-based business, and financial institutions all play important roles in this community, providing programs and services for neighbors. Hillside and Downtown benefit from the involvement of a strong and vibrant city government and nonprofit institutions with an active community-based planning agenda. Working together, these organizations have focused on community development and have a track record of successful planning efforts and collaboration. Greater Downtown Council, Duluth LISC, and Neighborhood Housing Services of Duluth are important connections to planning and community improvement resources and expertise. The East Downtown, Hillside, and Waterfront Charrette (2005), the City of Duluth Comprehensive Land Use Plan (2006), and the Central Hillside Community Neighborhood Revitalization Plan (2007) were three planning documents we reviewed in preparation of this report. 6. Strength of its funders Relative to cities of similar size and composition, Duluth has a strong and diverse group of funders that actively support local arts, culture, and community development efforts. Duluth LISC, Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, Northland Foundation, Northeast Entrepreneur Fund, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation actively support projects aimed at strengthening this community. Arrowhead Regional Arts Council (ARAC), A. H. Zeppa Family Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, Jerome Foundation, and the state of Minnesota provide a strong nework of support for artists and nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. Further, these funders have invested significant resources in collecting data on arts, culture, civic participation, and the economic well-being of Duluth. The consulting team reviewed this research in preparing the strategies in this document. Particularly helpful to this work were the Central Hillside Community Revitalization Plan prepared by LHB Inc., Minnesota Citizens for the Arts’ study of the economic impact of individual artists, and two Knight Foundation reports, Community Indicators for Duluth, Minnesota, and Soul of the Community. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 6
  10. 10. Heidi Rettig and Associates STRATEGY FOR IMPLEMENTATION Long-term View Like all economic development plans, organizing and coordinating creative economy strategies to build arts-based revitalizations requires a long-term view. Successful plans draw on lessons learned from economic development, community development, and place making. Working together, planners, artists, community organizers, and local governments can bring diverse approaches, perspectives, and resources to strategy development and implementation. They invest in artists, with the understanding that artists can play a key role in economic development. Vibrant cultural communities attract audiences by offering consistent public programming that reflects a mix of disciplines and interests and offer various “points of entry” for audiences. These kinds of programs and activities are already happening in Hillside/Downtown. Although for-profit institutions are not often considered by planners, neighborhood residents count professional music schools, commercial galleries, and dance centers as part of the community’s cultural character. There are many active community groups, art and craft fairs, and community festivals that are family-friendly and low-cost or free-of-charge. There are formal and informal public performances and exhibits in schools, churches, and community centers, as well as scheduled, ticketed events at professional venues like Teatro Zuccone and Sacred Heart Music Center. This arts-based revitalization strategy develops, leverages, and integrates the cultural assets of Hillside/Downtown into economic development planning. The recommendations we outline in this document integrate existing arts and culture resources into a broader community devel- opment process led by organizations like Duluth LISC and Greater Downtown Council. We offer some suggestions about how cultural programming can be integrated into place-making strategies and used as both a mechanism for neighborhood economic development and community building. Investing in artists and strengthening their place in the neighborhoods can complement goals identified in previous community planning efforts: physical revitalization of the downtown, animation of public space, encouragement of mixed-use development, support and promotion of local businesses, and making Duluth’s Hillside/Downtown safe and attractive for residents, commuters, and tourists. Thanks to the creative vision of Mayor Don Ness, developers and One of the community’s most significant assets is funders such as the A.H. Zeppa Family Foundation and service the presence of committed people with diverse skills. organizations like the Greater The cross-sector nature of successful initiatives and Downtown Council, Duluth has the unique attributes of arts and culture are developed seen rapid cultural development and implemented most effectively by multi-disciplinary the Downtown neighborhood. coalitions. Planners, artists, community-building The designation of Downtown organizers, and local governments can bring diverse and Canal Park as a special service district keeps the area approaches, perspectives, and resources to strategy clean, safe, and green for residents development and implementation. This plan gives and visitors. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 7
  11. 11. Heidi Rettig and Associates neighbors in Downtown Duluth and the Hillside neighborhood an active role in developing these plans for arts-based revitalization that suits their talents and strengths. It is important to note that the consulting work took place during a significant downturn in the national and regional economy, a time when philanthropies and private donors began rethinking their patterns of giving. For example, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s level of giv- ing to Duluth was uncertain as this document was being completed. This three-year implementa- tion plan assumes, therefore, that resources for project development will be more limited than usual. The strategies reflect the conditions of the funding environment in their scope and scale, putting artists, service providers, and community leaders working in the neighborhoods at the center of this initiative. The existing committee should be able to carry out most of the strategies outlined in the plan and play an active role in shaping the neighborhoods’ cultural policy from the bottom up. The consultants designed these strategies as part of a three-year implementation plan, but it is important to have a longer term view. The Implementation Plan Summary The following elements are the critical steps in the implementation plan. These are summarized here and fleshed out in greater detail below. Ongoing Leadership and Management To implement an arts-based revitalization plan requires collaboration among artists, city planners, and local leaders. By working together, these stakeholders can identify goals, corral resources and dedicate the time required to accomplish the long-term goals of the committee. The existing committee should formalize its operation, confirm its mission, and assess the best organizational structure for achieving its mission. It will recruit a staff person with strong management, marketing, and partnership skills, and will eventually apply for nonprofit status. Invest in “Creative Catalysts” At the root of successful regional and neighborhood creative economic development strategies is a cadre of successful artists and creative entrepreneurs. Investments to encourage artists’ creative and financial success require a combination of marketing and education, financial literacy, and effective access to a wide variety of resources. These resources might include small business or home-owner loans, live-work spaces, and training programs. Adapt and Reuse Spaces and Places If a neighborhood displays public art and attractive landscaping, if trash is picked up and weeds removed, it will project itself as a place that is not only clean and attractive but also economically productive. Artists and cultural anchors should be employed in place-making initiatives in the Downtown Duluth and Hillside neighborhoods to beautify and animate public spaces. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 8
  12. 12. Heidi Rettig and Associates THE IMPLEMENTATION PLAN Neighborhood Development and Implementation Organization An arts-based revitalization plan for the Hillside and Downtown neighborhoods is a long-term endeavor. Other cities that effectively use arts and culture to encourage economic revitalization benefit from consistent leadership; strong, committed constituencies; and an enduring organiza- tional presence at the neighborhood level. Develop Mission Statement and Task Force To support ongoing efforts to revitalize efforts in Hillside/Downtown, we recommend that the committee formalize the mission of the Duluth arts district development committee and assemble a task force that supports the goals outlined in this plan. An early priority should be for the committee to distinguish the identity and priorities of the Duluth neighborhoods from those of Superior. The project has evolved in some important ways since the 2008 Art Works! conference and should reflect current priorities and long-term goals. The process of creating a mission statement and renaming the initiative will help the committee to clarify roles, responsibilities, and next steps for members. The mission statement should, ideally, encompass the strategies outlined in this implementation plan: to be a catalyst for revitalization in the Hillside and Downtown neighborhoods by enhancing its physical appearance and safety, and promoting the neighborhood’s cultural assets to artists, investors, business owners, and tourists. The mission statement and strategies in this plan may help identify any knowledge or resources that should be represented within the group. The committee should continue to grow, encouraging the participation of neighbors, local business, and nonprofit leaders with diverse backgrounds and skills. Representatives of city government and local nonprofit agencies may have important insights that will enable the committee to move specific tasks forward. Attorneys, city councilors, leaders of economic development and cultural institutions should be fully integrated into the committee. Artists dedicated to neighborhood-level arts and culture will also contribute valuable insight and creative, authentic programming ideas. The continued participation of the Greater Downtown Council, Hillside and Downtown artists, neighbors, and organizations like Neighborhood Housing Services, the Chamber of Commerce, Zeppa Foundation, Duluth LISC, and the Hillside Business Association will be valuable for preserving continuity as the initiative grows. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 9
  13. 13. Heidi Rettig and Associates Two strong examples are Neighbors in the Strip, in Pittsburgh’s Strip district and the LowerTown Arts District Association in Paducah, Kentucky. The missions of both organizations include enhancing the creative community, increasing awareness of neighborhood resources, and actively promoting arts and cultural activities, neighborhood real estate, and local businesses. Neighbors in the Strip and the LowerTown Arts District Association have been instrumental in the development of partnerships with civic and governmental groups, private foundations, and commercial sponsors that have improved basic services and infrastructure for neighbors and visitors. They have also worked with individuals, businesses, and local nonprofits to create and/or market innovative arts and culture programs. Finally, each has a dedicated, paid, staff – key to ensuring the long-range strategic planning and fund raising necessary to the viability of creative cluster initiatives. Hire a Strong Marketing Manager A next step will be for the committee to recruit a staff person with strong management, marketing, and partnership skills, and to set performance goals for the first twelve months of the staff member’s tenure. Identify a committee member able to provide office space and oversight for the staff person. Duluth LISC and Sacred Heart Music Center are well-managed organizations in the neighborhood that have the management experience, community networks, and physical space to consider taking on this role. The committee may also want to consider housing the staff person at the Zeppa Foundation or Greater Downtown Council. Duluth LISC may be the best choice in the interim period, to ensure that the neighborhood-level community and economic development priorities align and/or support the revitalization efforts initiated by LISC and other agencies. There should be one staff member who is the primary resource for people interested in learn- ing more about development opportunities in Hillside and Downtown. Ideally, the organization would be able to provide fiscal sponsorship for a year or two while the staff person develops commu- nity partnerships and neighborhood-level program- ming, and pursues funding and in-kind support. Mechanisms of Potential Support for Staff Person: Membership fees paid by residents and businesses, an annual fund drive, special fund-raising events, contributions by board members, and grants from public agencies, private foundations, and individual donors. The “Cool Space Locator” in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania matches artists and business owners with available space in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 10 

  14. 14. Heidi Rettig and Associates Measureable performance goals for a staff person should relate to the overarching mission of the arts-based revitalization committee. The staff person should identify existing constituents and resources, make connections between these constituents and resources, and use these connections to identify new resources. Successful “creative economy” ventures learn how to capture the strength of multiple constituents and funding sources. The Marketing Manager’s key responsibilities will be to identify constituents and garner resources: • Identify artists living and working in Hillside/Downtown. Are there studios that can be opened to the public? Artists living in Hillside/Downtown could serve as examples for graduating art majors interested in establishing their own studios in the neigh- borhoods. • Consider a long-term goal of establishing an open studio/public art/gallery/venue tour in the neighborhood or a music series.1 • Recruit business or community members interested in coordinated efforts for marketing or promotional opportunities. Consider organizing business-card swaps or networking events.2 • Connect neighborhood arts programs and cultural events with community calendars, blogs, and resources like The DuSu. • Connect artists in Hillside/Downtown with resources that support ongoing skill development – Artist Nexus at DAI, C.RE.A.T.E., etc. • Connect local business and community agencies with artists interested in collaborative work in Hillside/Downtown. • Collaborate with neighborhood crime-watch teams. • Develop joint marketing programs for cultural anchors and businesses in the neighborhood. • Catalog vacant or under-utilized properties, storefronts, and vacant lots; match artists, organizations, and creative developers with appropriate space. • Develop a neighborhood Web site. • Develop a communication and long-term budget and fund-raising plan. • Recruit businesses, nonprofits, artists, and residents in a membership program. • Establish relationships with decision makers in local government, private foundations, and other agencies. • Take action and plan next steps on this document’s economic development, design, and cultural programming as appropriate. • Create and sustain a sense of community and vision for the neighborhood strategies. 1 First Tuesday music series ( 2 Fort Point Business Exhibition is an annual event that brings together all the business owners with the intent of swapping Fort Point business cards and networking. It is organized by the Friends of Fort Point Channel, a nonprofit organization committed to making the Fort Point Channel an exciting and welcoming destination for all of Boston’s residents, workforce, and visitors. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 11
  15. 15. Heidi Rettig and Associates The involvement of an AmeriCorps staff person in the community-building and volunteer- recruitment aspects of this neighborhood revitalization plan could a helpful source of support for a part-time marketing manager. For the initial three year period, we recommend that part-time staff dedicate time and energy to the implementation of these strategies in Hillside/Downtown. Typically, neighborhoods work- ing on arts-based revitalization strategies have formed a nonprofit organization, become part of municipal economic development initiatives, or local business improvement organizations (such as the Chamber of Commerce) to handle the administration and to structure a mission dedicated to creating cultural programs unique to place. A longer term goal for the committee may be to apply for 501(c)(3) status. The legal structure of a 501(c)(3) corporation would allow the board to actively raise money, recruit dues-paying members, and realize a viable, long-term fund-raising strategy. Some assessment at the end of the employee’s first year of work may help the committee decide if 501(c)(3) status is helpful or necessary. Good relationships between the proposed marketing manager and Duluth’s policy makers will greatly enhance the success of this initiative. Most cities serve the cultural sector through three types of agencies – local arts commissions, film and music offices, and visitor and convention bureaus or offices of special events. Most often, these agencies are housed within the city’s economic development agency, but may also be part of the mayor’s office. (Rosenstein 2009) Local arts commissions typically provide grants and technical assistance to nonprofit arts organizations, advocate for increasing public and private funding for the arts and arts education in the schools. They may be a part of the city’s budget or incorporated separately as a 501(c)(3). Local arts commissions housed in city offices often play a helpful role in capital improvement and development projects for cultural spaces. They may also provide funding for arts and cultural organizations to upgrade buildings to ADA standards – a very important but expensive process. City film and music offices offer tax incentives and streamline city permitting processes to Support for organizations like Paducah’s encourage filmmakers and producers to work LowerTown Arts District Association there. Visitor bureaus provide tourism and and Pittsburgh’s Neighbors in the Strip marketing support for major events and may comes from a variety of local, state, oversee large facilities like convention centers. and national sources. A diverse commit- tee with experience in community development, arts, culture, and civic Even in city cultural agencies with sufficient engagement can work with the Duluth funding and management capacity to staff person to develop a wide variety support arts and culture, neighborhood-level of funding sources. Low-cost member- activities are often not well served within the ships generate interest and income, albeit system. All too often, resources are directed small. Adding earned income from ticket at nonprofit organizations, and away from the sales and an annual fund drive to informal, unincorporated street fairs, festivals, regional or national grant dollars will diversify the pool of resources available and so on that bring vitality to the cultural life for the cultural program. Setting a goal, of the neighborhood. Other policy functions early on, to raise money for an endow- that are critical for the vitality of cultural life ment may ensure the project’s in neighborhoods are public safety, health, long-term sustainability. and quality of life. Most ordinances dealing Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 12
  16. 16. Heidi Rettig and Associates with smoking and noise, panhandling, vagrancy, parking, and bus transportation have been developed without considering their impact on cultural activity in neighborhoods. Policy makers need to be made aware of the policies’ consequences and help plan for change. A part-time staff person can lead advocacy efforts and give neighbors a clear place to direct questions and concerns. Promote neighborhood cultural assets Led by the part-time staff person, and involving and promoting local businesses, agencies, and individuals, a cooperative marketing campaign can promote the cultural assets of the Downtown/ Hillside neighborhoods to residents and tourists. A collaborative effort may be able to secure discounted advertising rates for members and would also reinforce the shared vision of the neighborhoods’ cultural planning and improvement efforts. The committee should encourage Sacred Heart’s role as an adviser to smaller cultural organizations on marketing, fundraising, and ticketing systems. Work with Washington Studios building co-op and Artspace (owner-developer) on exterior improvements; signage, banners, and fencing. Encourage the development of a marketing budget for gallery openings and more public use of building spaces, including an open studios program. Encourage co-op representation and involvement with local community organizations. Permanent public art could be installed on the exterior of Washington Studios or Central Hillside Community Center. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 13
  17. 17. Heidi Rettig and Associates INVEST IN “CREATIVE CATALYSTS” According to Mark Stern and Susan Seifert at the University of Pennsylvania’s Social Impact of the Arts Project (SIAP), the strongest “creative cluster” has a density of cultural assets – organizations, businesses, audiences, and artists – that sets it apart from other areas. The artists living and work- ing in the Hillside/Downtown neighborhood are a significant asset that can be strengthened. Encour- aging the community of artists to be successful in Duluth and to help it connect with other constitu- ents interested in community development is a foundation for cultural economic development. Increasingly the complex role of the individual artist in local economic development is being understood, documented, and developed into concrete economic development strategies. Economic research documents “The Artistic Dividend,”3 the benefit that artists provide to regional economies. Like small businesses, the work of artists directly influences local economies: producing work for sale, contracting for services and products, and paying taxes. The importance of investing in artists and strengthening their place in the local community is supported by the data on the concentration of local working artists in the regional economy. 4 In neighborhoods like Hillside/Downtown artists can play a pivotal role in reclaiming commercial buildings for work studios, galleries and temporary exhibition spaces. Open studios and crafts fairs can have a direct economic benefit for the individuals and ancillary businesses like the cooperative food market. In slow commercial real estate markets, temporary galleries and window display projects create a sense of vibrancy and value to underutilized spaces. These temporary initiatives can also develop into long-term relationships and new thinking about marketing and leasing oppor- tunities in either Downtown Duluth or the Hillside neighborhood. Outdoor murals are often used by city art agencies to brighten vacant spaces. By printing this piece on fabric, the artist has created a temporary outdoor “art gallery” for the neighbor-hood. The art work can be easily 
 cleaned or changed by the building owner. Understanding the role of artists in neighborhood and economic development started with the 2008 Art Works! conference. The conference clearly identified that investing in arts and culture is “not just a handout” and that a variety of strategies can be developed to encourage the creative economy. Our goal is to use arts and culture as a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization in an area that is already a magnet for artists and audiences – Hillside/Downtown. 3 see Markusen, Ann. 4 The economic study conducted by Minnesota Citizens for the Arts confirmed that a large percentage of artists in the region make a living from selling their artwork. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 14
  18. 18. Heidi Rettig and Associates This three-year plan encourages an already diverse, unique cultural environment. Successful, arts-based revitalization in Duluth must build the capacity of artists to make a life in Duluth and strengthen their role in the community by encouraging home ownership and increasing earned income. A second goal is ensure that individual artists are positioned to take advantage of existing opportunities and that the variety of existing efforts is coordinated to be more effective. Artists as “Catalysts” Recent studies have looked at the more nuanced role of individual artists as innovation “catalysts.” Ann Markusen suggests that “the productivity of and earnings in a regional economy rise as the incidence of artists within its boundaries increases, because artists’ creativity and specialized skills enhance the design, production, and marketing of products and services in other sectors. They also help firms recruit top-rate employees and generate income through direct exports of artistic work out of the region.” Efforts like The DuSu can help by directly connecting young entrepre- neurs and artists, and encouraging their collaboration. If we encourage and support the existing cultural assets in Hillside/Downtown, we may also encourage a growth in cultural production, which may, in future years, attract new audiences, residents, businesses, and services, increasing spending in the area. Data collected by The Reinvestment Fund in Philadelphia supports this idea. Over a two-year period, there were marked differences in improvement between block groups in the local housing market. TRF learned that the “level of cultural assets correlated very strongly with block group improve- ment” – sometimes the improvement was least two market categories (Stern and Seifert 2007). Data collected for the Arrowhead Region by Minnesota Citizens for the Arts report, The Arts: A Driving Force in Minnesota’s Economy, tells us that residents of the Arrowhead region spent $19.48 per person per event, excluding the cost of a ticket; “cultural tourists” spent $44.95 per person per event, exceeding the state’s average of $36.89 for cultural tourists. A strong community of artists, supported through the strategic investment of resources, can provide the seeds for economic development and growth. Workforce development strategies for artists, like other successful workforce development strategies, are most effective when they are tailored to the unique needs of the target group and when they are coordinated. Develop A Fund To Support “Creative Catalysts” In Hillside And Downtown. Establish a pool of money at Duluth LISC earmarked for “creative catalyst” projects taking place in Hillside/Downtown. This money would not Potential contributors to a small grant program: The Knight, support the day-to-day work of the McKnight, and Jerome foundations; committee but would make targeted investments Arrowhead Regional Arts in growing creative enterprise in Hillside/Downtown. Council; and the Minnesota State Potential grantees are cultural anchors located Arts Board; contributions from in Hillside or Downtown, individual artists, partners like LISC, NHS Duluth, and those interested in doing creative projects and tourism and marketing resources from city marketing in Hillside/Downtown. As the program develops, efforts; Chamber of Commerce. smaller grants should be able to be expedited by the creative cluster’s neighborhood staff person. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 15
  19. 19. Heidi Rettig and Associates Artists and organizations could request support for: • The development of new programs and ideas taking place in Hillside or Downtown • Programming expenses not being met by organizational budgets, including guest artists or materials for projects • Support for collaborations between organizations – arts or non-arts • Support to encourage providers to offer programs in Hillside/Downtown small venues • Consulting and staff time • Small building projects and expenses, such as paint, plantings, indoor and outdoor improvements • Marketing and event promotion • Equipment and facility rental • Liability and other insurance required to perform or display work in Hillside/Downtown • Permanent public art in the Hillside and Downtown neighborhoods • Performances and community festivals like the Juneteenth Festival, Hillfest, Art Walk, and Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) Duluth Flower Fest By placing neighborhood stakeholders in charge of grant-making decisions, this small grant program will shape cultural offerings in the neighborhood that are unique to place. Pooling resources lessens dependence on any one funder, and greatly enhances the potential of the program’s effectiveness. By engaging residents, the committee, and the staff person in programming decisions, grant decisions will reflect the priorities of the neighborhood. Rather than taking a top-down view, and making recommendations about the kind of art that should happen here, we are suggesting a bottom-up approach that encourages artists to tell the neighborhood what works and deepens the capacity of existing organizations to act as catalysts for creativity in the Hillside/Downtown neighborhoods. We propose a comprehensive fund-raising effort targeting private foundations like Knight, McKnight, Jerome, and Bush, as well as the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, Arrowhead Regional Arts Council, Minnesota State Arts Board, and individual donors to raise money for a small grant making program. The staff person could lead an effort to secure funds. Pooling resources lessens dependence on any one funder, and a strategic, philanthropic vision greatly enhances the potential of the program to have impact. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 16
  20. 20. Heidi Rettig and Associates The grant-making process should engage residents and the committee and staff person in programming In 2004, the Massachusetts decisions and grant decisions that reflect the priorities Legislature created the Adams Arts Program, which funds projects of the neighborhood. Grants should be small – from that create jobs and income, $1,000 to $5,000 – and be made quarterly by a board revitalize downtowns, and draw that represents the two neighborhoods. cultural tourists. Adams-funded projects leverage the assets of the creative sector – artists, cultural Expand the C.RE.A.T.E Program organizations, and arts-related businesses – to generate income. C.RE.A.T.E. is a business training initiative that helps artists in northeast Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin develop entrepreneurial skills. It is offered by Duluth’s Northeast Entrepreneur Fund (NEF). C.RE.A.T.E. offers a 12-hour curriculum based on NEF’s nationally recognized Core Four business training program and covers business fundamen- tals such as finance, operations, marketing, legal considerations, and business planning. Instruc- tors are successful artist-entrepreneurs, and participants include visual artists, sculptors, potters, film-makers, photographers, musicians, and writers. Classes are held at the Duluth Art Institute. Participants include, but are not limited to, visual artists, sculptors, potters, filmmakers, photographers, musicians, and writers. According to Urban Institute’s 2003 study, Investing in Creativity, A Support System for American Artists, artists expressed the need for more stable, reliable, and centralized sources of artistic training and professional development. Artists earn their income from a variety of sources – most cannot support themselves through art alone. On average, they earn less than people with comparable education and skills. The benefit of part-time employment, teaching opportunities, and even full-time work in nonprofit arts and cultural organizations is the flexibility. The draw- backs are lower wages, limited access to health insurance, and fewer professional development opportunities. Data collected by Minnesota Citizens for the Arts for its Artists Count: The Economic Impact of Individual Artists, indicates that artists in northeast Minnesota’s Arrowhead Region received 38 percent of their income from their art – relatively high compared to artists in the state overall – but Arrowhead artists include the second highest percentage without health insurance (16 percent) and retirement plans (38 percent). We recommend pursuing grant support to: • Increase the number of artists able to participate each year in the C.RE.A.T.E. program. • Collaboration with NEF and Duluth LISC to refine C.RE.A.T.E. course offerings tailored to the needs of artists in Hillside and Downtown. These programs might include the adoption of specific marketing and financing programs that may be relevant for specific creative disciplines (performance, visual art, fine crafts). They should also include “home buying 101” and information about small-business or personal loan programs that can be used to support their studio work. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 17
  21. 21. Heidi Rettig and Associates A strong community of artists, supported through strategic investment of resources, can provide the seeds for economic development and growth. Capacity building programs for artists, like other successful skill-development strategies, are most successful when they are tailored to the unique needs of the target group and when they are coordinated. Increase Home Ownership For Artists. Artists’ work is characterized by a number of unique challenges, including a scarcity of affordable space to live, work, and exhibit. Artists now have tremendous control over where they do their work. Changes in marketing technologies have significantly expanded their access to markets – local, national and international. They can produce locally and sell globally. Web sites collapse the distance between sellers and buyers and sometimes allow artists to keep 100 percent of their earnings from a sale (rather than giving a 40 percent commission to a commercial gallery). These changes mean that artists can be successful in Duluth if their unique needs for space are supported. Tugboat Studios in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania has a ground floor art studio/commercial gallery and upstairs living space. It was purchased and 
 remodeled by the artist. With backing, they can stay in Duluth, resulting in positive economic benefits for the region and individual neighborhoods, as discussed at the 2008 ArtWorks! conference. According to research conducted by Leveraging Investments in Creativity or LINC, artists may be a catalyst in neighbor- hoods that don’t appeal to other types of households. LINC says, “Reliance on artists as drivers of neighborhood revitalization may pay off where community developers actively strive to create a critical mass of arts-related activity and complement these efforts with real-estate development and community-building activities.” Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 18
  22. 22. Heidi Rettig and Associates Vacant buildings offer many creative programming opportunities both temporary and permanent. In the hands of a visionary property developer, Hillside’s Nettleton Elementary School, the Old Fire Hall at Third Street and First Avenue East, and storage facility land (ISD 709) are potential sites for creative redevelopment and growth. Nettleton Elementary School (or another vacant space in Hillside/Downtown) could house a temporary, one-month art fair, similar to Art-o-Matic, in Washington, D.C. The annual Art-o-Matic exhibits and sells the work of local visual artists, performers, and musicians on nine floors of a vacant commercial building in the Capital Riverfront Business Improvement District. The event is a partnership between Monument Realty (a for-profit firm) and Capital Riverfront Business Improvement District. There are many buildings in Downtown and Hillside that could be adapted for live-work space or even become a permanent home for a cultural organization. Carlson Book Store; NorShor Theatre; Kozy Bar; and the Gardner building are four sites in Downtown Duluth that have strong potential for cultural development. This might be a viable option for some of the less desirable buildings or properties in the Hillside neighborhood. Recent building projects by AS220 in Providence are examples of mixed- use artists’ buildings that integrate design and programming to encourage artists’ buildings to be active participants in changing their neighborhoods. The projects go beyond providing physical space and focus on building community. Projects include mixes of live-work and studio spaces combined with public uses like theaters and restaurants. These buildings create active and vibrant streets and activity throughout the building at various times of day. In addition, artists who live in the building are expected to “be more than tenants.” They are expected to be active volunteers on public programs by contributing time to building projects (five hours of community service) 5. Assets for Artists is a Massachusetts program that helps Berkshire County artists become home owners and/or strengthen their creative businesses. Low- to moderate-income artists of any discipline may apply for grants of up to $4,000 to help buy their first homes or of $2,000 to improve their businesses. The program provides state-funded “individual development accounts” that match the participant’s own savings for six to 24 months. The program supports artists in their savings by matching their investment while providing a wide range of related trainings; home buying, marketing and business planning are part of a coordinated effort. The program is run by the Berkshire Creative. Assets for Artists is a partnership between Berkshire Creative, MASS MoCA, MCLA’s Berkshire Cultural Resource Center , and Pittsfield’s Office of Cultural Development. ( Both Hillside and Downtown have physical space – vacant lots, vacant buildings and storefronts– that offer opportunities for programming or redevelopment. The development of live-work and studio spaces for artists in Duluth should be helped by Duluth’s proposed Unified Develop- ment Code. This code (scheduled for review during the summer of 2010) would allow no variances, and would lead to a simpler and more cost-effective permitting process.6 5 6 The arts overlay district is a planning tool that can facilitate the development of artist live-work housing or studios. They allow such use to be developed without lengthy and expensive variance and permitting processes, but with the new codes this might not be necessary in Duluth. Overlay districts also signal the city’s intent and can have an impact on the local market. This can be positive if it encourages development or negative if it encourages speculation. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 19
  23. 23. Heidi Rettig and Associates The disposition of abandoned property and vacant lots provides another opportunity for the city of Duluth to signal its interest in encouraging artists’ relocation. Fact sheets should be developed to advise artists on ways to acquire property or find sites for temporary exhibitions or public art. Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)7 are useful tools to encourage savings for home buying or retirement, or for capitalizing loans for studios, equipment, or small- business needs. Duluth Community Action’s Family Assets for Independence Minnesota (FAIM) runs an IDA program. FAIM can help Duluth artists save for a home, business, or education. This committee could partner with Duluth Community Action to expand the FAIM program and recruit more participants to this program. If passed, the proposed Unified Development Code would also allow greater flexibility to home owners interested in converting a portion of their residence for gallery or studio space. The relatively large size of single-family homes in Hillside and the presence of flexible vacant commercial space in Hillside/Downtown offer the creative community some interesting options. Other cities can provide a visual example of “scattered site” single-family, live-work projects. In Pittsburgh, the Friendship Development Association’s Penn Avenue Arts Initiative focused on the revitalization of a blighted commercial corridor. The Friendship Community Development Corporation provided financial support to artists to rehabilitate a series of two- and three-story storefront buildings. A typical unit has a ground-floor studio space, second-floor residence for the artist-owner, and a third-floor rental unit. In addition to supporting the supply of artists’ housing, it is important to support an individual artist’s access St. Louis-based developer to housing resources. Even when an artist has a moder- McCormick, Baron, Salazar is well known for revitalization ate income the structure of their income (periodic sales, projects that include arts and non-W-2 earnings, and yearly fluctuation of income) cultural space for residents. can influence credit and their ability to get a mortgage. The firm combines private Affordable-housing guidelines and regulations are investment with instruments often designed to measure salary and wages and focus like New Markets Tax Credits on whether there is too much income. Artists with and even Hope VI funds in their mixes of salary, commissions, year-to-year fluctuations, redevelopment work. Recently, MCB completed a mixed-use or very low income are not a neat fit with traditional historic renovation of a 60,000 income-verification processes. square foot Woolworth’s building in the St. Louis Grand Designing support systems that address these issues Center arts district. The build- can be a powerful complement to programs that ing includes an indoor farmer’s identify and market space to artists. Programs that market, an arts education cen- ter, and subsidized space work with artists on how to prepare their financial for local nonprofits. material or work with lenders on how to assess an artist’s financial status can be useful. 7 Individual Development Accounts are special savings accounts designed to assist low income people on their path toward asset ownership through matched savings and financial education. IDAs reward the monthly savings of people who are trying to buy their first home, pay for college or start or expand a small business. The programs usually combine matched savings programs with financial literacy programs. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 20
  24. 24. Heidi Rettig and Associates Often lenders do not understand the physical needs of artists, and their loan programs can have hidden barriers to live-work studios. Even when zoning does not prohibit the combination of live and work space, loans or housing subsidy programs can often have restrictions on the type of building a home mortgage or subsidy program can finance. In addition, some housing pro- grams come with physical requirements for the amount of build-out or number of bedrooms that can limit their application to artists’ housing. Addressing some of these barriers can sometimes be as simple as education. To be effective at supporting the development of artists’ housing, tactics should address methods for aligning traditional housing-support programs with the unique needs of artists. The tactics suggest technical and policy reviews that can be complemented with outreach and media to increase the supply of eligible artists. Boston’s Artist Space Initiative, located in the city’s redevelopment authority, has increased housing available to artists by: 1) Identifying the market demand for artists and providing information about this market through Web sites and notifications of housing opportunities. 2) Reviewing city housing policies and initiatives to identify how they can be adopted to work for artists. 3) Using the “bully pulpit” of the mayor’s office and redevelopment agency to state the importance of artists’ housing to neighborhood and economic development.8 We recommend that the following steps be taken in order to increase home ownership for artists interested in living and/or working in Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside neighborhoods: • Create a central source of information about neighborhood amenities. Many arts districts maintain a list of available properties and offer to match businesses and artists interested in relocation with appropriate space available in the neighborhoods. • Bring together artists and professionals to review affordable-housing guidelines and assess how they work or don’t work for low-income artists. Develop a fact sheet to help artists access affordable housing resources like Section 8 vouchers and programs that help with purchase and down payment. • Consider using existing incentive programs, like Low Income, New Markets Tax Credits, and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to encourage the development of affordable artists’ housing. • Publicize the availability of home-buying support, incentive programs and workshops available through community service providers like NHS and/or C.RE.A.T.E. 8 Artist Space Initiative, Boston Redevelopment Authority, City of Boston asp Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 21
  25. 25. Heidi Rettig and Associates • Work with university career centers to ensure that artists and creative entrepreneurs are aware of the neighborhoods and their potential for flexible live-work space and the presence of financial support for Twin Ports entrepreneurs. • Encourage the mayor of Duluth to develop and broadcast a coordinated effort across city departments to encourage Hillside/Downtown’s amenities and systems of support for young home buyers, artists, and entrepreneurs. • Assess vacant buildings on Fourth Street for adaptive reuse as prospective live-work or studio spaces. • Identify vacant land parcels for new construction of “green,” efficient, affordable live-work space. • Programs aimed at home buying or marketing for artists can establish funding and support partnerships that increase the availability of resources. Partnerships with banks and city programs can support home-buying programs, while the Small Business Administration and university business schools can be tapped for marketing and business-development support. Mechanisms of Support for Workforce Development and Housing: Legacy Amendment from the State of Minnesota allocates $370,000 for Professional Development for Artists and Organizations; CDBG; Workforce development funds – DOL or DOE earmarks or demonstration projects. IDA programs – Health and Human services. This Pittsburgh home has been converted to include a ground-floor artist’s studio, a live-work space, and a rental unit. The building houses the Encyclopedia 
 Destructiva bookbinding studio. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 22
  26. 26. Heidi Rettig and Associates There appears to be a limited number of commercial art galleries working on behalf of emerging artists in the Hillside/Downtown neighborhoods of Duluth. An opportunity exists for a real estate developer to refurbish a building to provide space for artists or creative entrepreneurs, with a ground floor, commercial gallery that sells the work of local artists. Behind a nondescript garage door, in a nondescript building, Pittsburgh painter Connie Cantor has created a work 
 environment filled with light and space. 
 Connie Cantor’s studio. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 23
  27. 27. Heidi Rettig and Associates CREATIVE PLACE-MAKING INITIATIVES Beautify the neighborhood To encourage a creative place you must first ensure that it is physically inviting. Is the space welcoming? Do you feel safe there? Is it interesting? Does it work for the proposed activities? Improving these perceptions and appearances is a fundamental strategy of cultural economic development. The Central Hillside Revitalization plan indicates that local residents do not perceive Hillside and Downtown as The 2005 Duluth Charrette attractive, safe neighborhoods. Physical enhancements included guiding principles and beautification of the neighborhood are two strate- for place-making – recom- gies that can be used in Downtown/Hillside to make mending “initiatives and people feel safer and perhaps, over time, reduce crime. programming that improve Sidewalks, community centers, and other common areas the attractiveness that are vibrant and attractive encourage people to inter- of existing public spaces to reinforce them as magnets act. Walkways encourage people to be outside and active for public activity.” (2005 East while reducing the empty spaces where crime is more Downtown, Hillside, and Waterfront likely to happen. If a neighborhood displays public art Charrette Report and Plan.) and attractive landscaping, if trash is picked up and weeds removed, it will project itself as a region that is not only clean and attractive but also economically productive. Unattractive surface parking, vacant lots, The city of Providence, Rhode Island, homes and storefronts, and a lack of uses a community organizing Web site public art and streetscaping make a called SeeClickFix (http://seeclickfix. neighborhood less appealing. Illegal dump- com) to gather anonymous tips about ing and improper waste disposal can also what is happening in neighborhoods. indicate neighborhood decline and disorder. SeeClickFix allows residents to track the cities’ progress toward resolution of their Perceptions of neglect and disorder have real complaints. Using feedback coming economic costs through decreases in property in through the Web site, Providence values and investment. Research has shown has resolved neighbors’ concerns about tha clean public spaces are safer, while “dirty” potholes, graffiti, and crime. Mayor Don public places promote criminal behavior. Ness has created a SeeClickFix page for Dumping sites attract more dumping and other Duluth, with all messages going directly to his desk. criminal activities as well, further eroding the quality of life of the surrounding community. The Duluth Charrette identified neighborhood cleanup programs and lawn and home mainte- nance as priorities for the community. Local agencies like Duluth LISC and the Greater Downtown Council have been working hard to implement this vision. The designation of Downtown as a “special services district” has led to streetscape improvements that are already very visible– like art in the skywalks and storefront windows, flowerpots, and bike racks. Projects like these add visual appeal for both residents and visitors to enjoy. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 24
  28. 28. Heidi Rettig and Associates Connect Business Improvement Organizations and Artists Cities large and small have used artists to animate downtowns by encouraging connections between business-improvement organizations and artists. Consider the establishment of an arts programming committee as part of the Greater Downtown Council. The committee could build on the council’s efforts that integrate the arts and business community –street improve- ments, holiday designs, temporary reuse of vacant buildings, for example. The Greater Downtown Council can also play a role in realizing creative strategies outlined in the 2005 Duluth Charrette plan. Many of those include goals in alignment with arts-based strategies outlined in this document. Duluth’s Hillside neighborhood has ongoing concerns about the amount of trash in parks, alleyways, and along the roads. In support of these recommendations, the consulting team recommends continued support for the Greater Downtown Council and investment in similar programs for the Hillside neighborhood. We recommend the committee, with leadership from the staff person, turn vacant lots into community assets by actively encouraging plantings, gardens, and green spaces where neighbors can walk, play, and interact. The Duluth Charrette team made several design recommendations aimed at preserving, nurturing, and enhancing parks and open spaces. “Pursue place-making initiatives and programming to improve the attractiveness of existing public spaces to reinforce them as magnets for public activity; for example, programming in larger public parks could include community “jam sessions,” flea markets, farmer’s markets, and participatory arts, sports, and cultural activities.” (2005 East Downtown, Hillside, and Waterfront Charrette Report and Plan) A critical finding from Knight Foundation’s Soul of the Community research in Duluth was the connection of social offerings to residents’ emotional attachment to their community. Survey respondents reported higher levels of satisfaction in communities where there were places to interact with neighbors, in neighborhoods where residents care for one another, and where there is night life that residents can enjoy. We suggest that the vacant lots sprinkled throughout Hillside be used to enhance the attractive- ness of the neighborhood and establish an identity of Hillside as a creative cluster. The spaces could be used as temporary outdoor performance and exhibition venues, public green space, or community gardens. Picnic tables can be used in the summer by neighbors and workers at lunchtime. Create “Accidental Spaces” Research from the field confirms the importance of having safe, enjoyable green spaces where neighbors can gather, interact, and have fun. Community planners call these “accidental spaces”: they share a unique character, a sense of place, comfort, the perception of safety, visibility, and proximity to activity generators such as paths, roads and businesses (Zelinka 2005). Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville community used the neighborhood’s many vacant lots to establish new green spaces within the creative cluster known as the 16:62 Design Zone. Landscaping, planting, temporary and permanent public art, paint, and ongoing cleanup ensure that vacant lots remain visual, green assets to the neighborhood. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 25
  29. 29. Heidi Rettig and Associates Neighbors in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittburgh, Pennsylvania work together on 
 the design and maintenance of a vacant lot. 
 A vacant lot in Duluth’s Hillside neighborhood. In Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood, an artist’s decorative gates invite neighbors to enjoy a newly 
 green vacant lot. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 26
  30. 30. Heidi Rettig and Associates Using funding from the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Elm Street program adminis- tered by Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development, the Lawrenceville Corporation purchased and now maintains 25 vacant lots and derelict alley houses. The corporation, made up of residents interested in improving the neighborhood, converted the lots to public spaces and dog parks. Grass has been planted, and the lawns are free of litter. When used as dog parks, such spaces also encourage cleaner streets. The retaining wall under Mesaba Avenue 
 in Duluth’s Hillside neighborhood. Plantings and brightly painted houses at the 40th Street entrance to Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood distract the 
 eye from an unattractive concrete wall. Most neighborhood associations will not have the financial resources to purchase and rehabilitate vacant properties. By focusing on a small number of properties – perhaps those most visible, or those under the control of the local housing agency or a willing neighbor – the committee could implement a pilot project. Cleanup and maintenance will require some collaboration between artists, neighbors, NHS, and relevant city agencies. There may be opportunities to partner with the colleges’ landscape architecture students,art departments, or community garden groups. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 27
  31. 31. Heidi Rettig and Associates Think Safe, Clean, And Green. Continued support for neighborhood crime prevention programs are an integral part of keeping vacant lots clean, comfortable spaces for all neighborhoods. The committee and staff person should collaborate with local crime watch teams to keep the neighborhood clean, safe, and green. An active group of volunteers from the neighborhoods could help the committee meet its goal of “clean, safe, and green” neighborhoods A landscaped vacant lot and brightly painted facades improve the appearance of buildings along this busy corridor in Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood. Paint can be a very simple way of bringing a sense of creativity to a neighborhood while also 
 improving the appearance of neglected or rundown sites. Residents and business owners can make dramatic changes to the appearance of the neighborhood with a very small investment of time and money. Many communities, including Superior, Wisconsin, have participated in NeighborWorks’ Paint-The-Town program. This short-term project (usually two weekends) involves residents in neighborhood cleanup. The group works together to identify buildings that need attention. Volunteers strip old paint on the first weekend and repaint on the second week- end using donated paint. 
 City Repair project, Portland, Oregon Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 28
  32. 32. Heidi Rettig and Associates City Repair, started in Portland, Oregon, is another volunteer-led place-making initiative. City Repair’s artistic and ecologically-oriented projects honor the connection of human communities and the natural world ( Paint and plantings have been used to create the feeling of “creative space” in the Lawrenceville neighborhood of 
 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Paint and window box planters enhance the appearance of a vacant storefront in the 
 Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Street windows at a school in the 
 Lawrenceville neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 29
  33. 33. Heidi Rettig and Associates This project will benefit from ongoing partnerships between the neighborhoods’ committee and city agencies and local nonprofits like LISC, which are already working hard to improve the appearance of the neighborhoods. The committee and the paid staff person could be a valuable resource for these agencies, which need help coordinating volunteer painters, gardeners, and artists. Mechanisms of Support for neighborhood beautification: – CDBG funds – Tax credits – historic, low income, new markets tax credits – Business improvement – Main Street program, local business associations – Grants from private foundations – Local corporate funders, including Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Target There is potential to start an “Adopt a Litter Container” strategy in the Hillside neighborhood. This is a partnership between the neighborhood and city services, a model successfully imple- mented in Minneapolis. The city will install a trash can and the business will sign a two-year contract to maintain it. Business owners and/or residents pay $12 a month and agree to maintain the area around the can and change the plastic liner as needed. The city agrees to pick up the trash. A staff person can be very helpful, working with other neighborhood agencies and communicating needs to local leaders to ensure that the city addresses maintenance needs. Many communities use marketing materials and streetscape signage to create a distinctive identity. The Lawrenceville neighborhood in Pittsburgh is a creative cluster for entrepreneurs. The local Community Development Corporation, or CDC, “branded” the neighborhood, creating a clean, identifiable image for the 16:62 Design Zone. The logo is displayed throughout the zone on banners, litter containers, and posters and is part of all marketing materials. The steelworker logo marks all 
 neighborhood signage in Lawrenceville. Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 30
  34. 34. Heidi Rettig and Associates 
 Lawrenceville’s branded trash cans. The Trash Can Project is an extension of the Steel Yard in Providence, Rhode Island. The Urban Furniture program uses federal and state money to provide artistic and functional street furniture for Rhode Island cities. ( page.html). Arts-Based Revitalization Plan for Duluth’s Downtown and Hillside Neighborhoods 31