Are Small Towns the Next Arts Districts?

As rising costs expel artists from urban cores, some small towns are positioning themselves as unlikely magnets for creative expression.

November 12, 2015, 10:00 AM PST

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc


Small Town Art

huffstutterrobertl / Flickr

Traditionally, artists and other bohemian creatives favor low-cost urban living, often gathering in "arts districts." Today's rising urban rents might turn that pattern on its head as artists migrate to the ultimate destination in ironic cool: small towns.

According to this piece in Nonprofit Quarterly, "small towns are reinventing themselves through the arts and attracting new revenue streams and business." Anne Katz, executive director of Arts Wisconsin, cites an "explosion" of art facilities and programs in her state. From community centers to galleries, festivals to theater companies, many towns are encouraging investment in an arts scene.

The author notes that "[Nonprofit Quarterly] is exposed to a lot of pitches for stories about the civil sector where the hype clearly outpaces any real movement. It's a tendency we are not fond of, though those stories clearly do show some creativity. But Katz's narrative is helped by the reality on the ground."

Thursday, October 29, 2015 in Nonprofit Quarterly

Gentrification

What We Really Mean When We Say Gentrification

The focus on gentrifying communities has, in many cases, eclipsed the similar problems facing more stagnant neighborhoods.

September 14, 2021 - Vox

Brooklyn Redevelopment

Study: Market-Rate Development Filters Into Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing

New research sheds new light on one of the most hotly debated questions in planning and development.

September 15, 2021 - Full Stack Economics

High-Speed Rail

Democratic Legislators Obstruct Funding for California High Speed Rail

Voters approved a $9.9 billion bond for the California High Speed Rail project in 2008. State legislators would like that money to be spent in other ways in 2021.

September 10, 2021 - Sacramento Bee

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.