Free Space For Artists As A Revitalization Strategy

Pittsfield, Mass is providing local artists free space in vacant buildings storefronts in the abandoned downtown.
December 6, 2004, 5am PST | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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"An unusual collaboration involving city officials, business leaders and a group of hard-working artists is helping to transform this city in western Massachusetts. Over the last two years, Mailer persuaded many of Pittsfield's largest property owners to turn over empty storefronts on North Street to more than 30 artists. The artists pay no rent for street-level studio space that in many cases allows passersby to observe them as they work.

Though any economic payoff is not yet measurable, the artists' presence has enlivened downtown Pittsfield. Windows on North Street showcase the whimsical sculptures of Rachael Champion, the delicate brush paintings of Roppei Matsumoto and Mailer's own paintings, which focus on architecture and family. A few new restaurants have opened, bringing chefs from Boston. This summer, a company that sells designer resale clothing on the Internet located its headquarters on North Street, with Chanel shoes and Prada suits in the window."

Thanks to Chris Steins

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Published on Saturday, December 4, 2004 in The Los Angeles Times
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