Thursday, October 25, 2007

Downtown Arts District Update

Today's Gazette contains one of the year's most important arts stories - here, in the business section. In contrast with previous plans for the area - which always seemed like the longest of long shots, even when they were tantalizingly close to realization - this plan has Chuck Murphy behind it. In development terms, that's about as close to a sure thing as it gets.

My one quibble with the story is its lead, which says the area would be "transformed into a home for artists, studios and galleries." The area already houses artists, studios and galleries - what's planned is an expansion, albeit a huge one.

An expansion and a gentrification, which is going to be a major back story: Will the already-existing artists and galleries be able to afford this comparatively upscale arts district? For the past few decades, artists have been prominent shock troops of urban renewal. They move into blighted areas, improve them, and are subsequently driven out by the higher prices that result from their own success. (Denver's LoDo was a textbook case.) Much more to come as this story develops.


Blogger atomicelroy said...

Well I hope this works. Sometimes these manufactured art districts end up being retail districts. Arts districts tend to actually work when as you said, artists go into a blighted existing neighborhood and live there until the rent drives them out. Too bad it's so close to the RR tracks, or I'd move my Black Box Theatre space into it.

4:36 PM  

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