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Old 05-01-2008, 01:40 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, the Iron City!!!
805 posts, read 2,045,470 times
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In talking with one Pittsburgher yesterday (which was my 41st Birthday, by the way!!!), I heard that in the not-too-distant-past, there was a situation on the South Side, where they gave away, basically free, artist studio space in order to help lure artists and gays to the South Side Flats/Slopes area.... is this true?... AND, as a follow up, if it IS true, are they still doing this program in the Southside or other areas????
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Old 05-01-2008, 02:03 PM
 
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Happy Birthday!

I know they were doing this in Braddock a while back (an old commercial building was providing free artist space). There is also the Penn Avenue Arts Initiative, which helps out artists looking to locate in the Friendship/Garfield area and provides some loan assistance. And I am sure a lot more like that is going on.
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Old 05-01-2008, 02:25 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, the Iron City!!!
805 posts, read 2,045,470 times
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That would be awesome, since I'm a budding photog, and after I get a nice portfolio, I'd love to have a place to sell 'em!!..... or host other artists...
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Old 05-02-2008, 01:45 AM
 
Location: Crafton via San Francisco
2,734 posts, read 1,888,382 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by By~Tor View Post
In talking with one Pittsburgher yesterday (which was my 41st Birthday, by the way!!!), I heard that in the not-too-distant-past, there was a situation on the South Side, where they gave away, basically free, artist studio space in order to help lure artists and gays to the South Side Flats/Slopes area.... is this true?... AND, as a follow up, if it IS true, are they still doing this program in the Southside or other areas????
I'm afraid I'm geographically challenged when it comes to Pittsburgh neighborhoods, but there are incredible deals for artists in your town! It is one of the main reasons I'm planning to move there.

Check out the Penn Ave arts Initiative: Penn Avenue Arts Initiative :: Home

I met with some of the people involved in that organization when I was there in 2006. Very impressive.
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Old 05-02-2008, 06:52 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles Area
3,306 posts, read 1,484,505 times
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What exactly is the point of giving free artist space? Why not give free space to more productive business that can help the area grow?
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Old 05-02-2008, 09:07 AM
 
20,274 posts, read 18,883,560 times
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Originally Posted by Humanoid View Post
What exactly is the point of giving free artist space? Why not give free space to more productive business that can help the area grow?
Actually, there is a great deal of recent research on urban development to back up this sort of plan.

Basically, people have identified an emerging "creative class" in post-industrial American cities, which in its broadest definition includes not just artists but also architects, scientists, business and healthcare professionals, university professors, writers, and so on. The research suggests that the urban communities in post-industrial cities which have succeeded in attracting this sort of resident have tended to end up redeveloping much more rapidly than the communities which have not.

This urban renewal process is sometimes described as gentrification, which has been criticized to the extent it means the former low-income residents are driven out by the increasing popularity, and thus increasing housing prices, of the neighborhood. But with more research people have figured out that a community popular with the creative class can actually have a wide range of income levels, provided that the community offers a variety of housing options. Indeed, the research indicates that the emerging creative class places a high value on toleration and diversity, which includes class diversity, so the high-income members of the creative class actually tend to prefer living in mixed-income neighborhoods.

But the basic problem is how to get this all started, meaning how do you make your neighborhood popular with the creative class? And what people have found is that artists are a good group to target in the first wave. Among other things, artists tend to have high visibility in creative class circles, meaning they know a lot of other creative class people. The presence of artists also tends to strongly signal diversity and toleration to other members of the creative class. And perhaps most importantly, artists tend to be amenable to economic incentives, meaning a bunch of artists may well move to a currently depressed neighborhood if given an incentive like free studio space.

So that is the theory behind things like the Penn Avenue Arts Initiative, which in fact is sponsored by the local community development groups. And there is some evidence that these efforts really do help revitalize urban neighborhoods, but they also have to be combined with a number of different factors (e.g., communication and transportation infrastructure improvements, thoughtful commericial and residential development, innovative school options, and so on) for the whole creative class to truly become interested in a neighborhood.
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Old 05-04-2008, 05:35 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles Area
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Quote:
So that is the theory behind things like the Penn Avenue Arts Initiative, which in fact is sponsored by the local community development groups.
I've heard the "theory" before, but I've never seen it work well. Having such areas is neat and certainly adds value to the area, but it doesn't seem to do much for the economy. Artist types are very different than entrepreneurs or scientists, the two groups of people don't associate much. Regardless, why try to indirectly attract people this way when you can do it much more directly? The city could instead give free (or near free) warehouse/office space to start-ups for a few years (targeting start-ups from the local universities). In doing this they could also create a small group of people that is there to help such start-ups (with accounting, how to do business in the city etc).

Instead the city picks some voodoo, where magically an area is going to economically grow due artists. Anyhow, I don't think its a bad idea. It will add value (culturally) to the area, but its unlikely to help the local economy in a dramatic way.
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Old 05-04-2008, 09:53 AM
 
Location: East Orlando
626 posts, read 1,183,548 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juliegt View Post
I'm afraid I'm geographically challenged when it comes to Pittsburgh neighborhoods, but there are incredible deals for artists in your town! It is one of the main reasons I'm planning to move there.

Check out the Penn Ave arts Initiative: Penn Avenue Arts Initiative :: Home

I met with some of the people involved in that organization when I was there in 2006. Very impressive.
There's a good article about this in the most recent Shady Ave magazine.

From my own perspective as someone who lives in an area affected by what happens in this portion of Penn Avenue, I have to say that I am very pleased with the growth and improvement that I have seen in just the past year. And at least some of the recent upward mobility of this area can undoubtably be laid at the feet of the Penn Arts Initiative, which is turning what once was a series of blighted storefronts into something hip and energetic, and encouraging other businesses to put down roots in the area.
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Old 05-04-2008, 07:42 PM
 
20,274 posts, read 18,883,560 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Humanoid View Post
I've heard the "theory" before, but I've never seen it work well.
The theory is based on studies of how regions have actually developed. So it isn't just speculative.

Quote:
Artist types are very different than entrepreneurs or scientists, the two groups of people don't associate much.
This is incorrect. That is what the research has indicated: the "creative class" defined as including artists, scientists, knowledge workers, and so on does in fact associate a great deal.

Quote:
The city could instead give free (or near free) warehouse/office space to start-ups for a few years (targeting start-ups from the local universities). In doing this they could also create a small group of people that is there to help such start-ups (with accounting, how to do business in the city etc).
This is economically ineffective. Again, artists are amenable to relatively minor economic incentives like this. For a more ordinary business, cheap office space isn't going to be enough of an incentive, since that isn't as large a component of their costs of doing business as studio space is for artists.
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Old 05-04-2008, 08:22 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles Area
3,306 posts, read 1,484,505 times
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Quote:
The theory is based on studies of how regions have actually developed. So it isn't just speculative.
How does one know how "areas actually" developed? This isn't something that is actually easy to know. In fact which areas developed in this fashion? Lets see the studies.

Quote:
This is incorrect. That is what the research has indicated: the "creative class" defined as including artists, scientists, knowledge workers, and so on does in fact associate a great deal.
Where is the study that shows this? What is the nature of the association? That is how was "association" defined? How was the association measured?

Quote:
For a more ordinary business, cheap office space isn't going to be enough of an incentive, since that isn't as large a component of their costs of doing business as studio space is for artists.
Seriously, do you just pull this stuff out off your butt or what? More ordinary business? Is an online retailer an ordinary business? Is a software development company an ordinary business? Is a consulting firm an ordinary business? The list goes on. The main cost as a start-up to all of these businesses is....oh oh...a place to work! This is why so many of them grow-up in their apartments or garages! Having a free/near free warehouse or office would be a big incentive to these people. Running a business semi-legally out of an apartment isn't not very attractive, but it is done because the cost of renting an actual place of business is too high. Most businesses aren't started with dirty VC funds, they are bootstrapped. In fact VC is so dirty that many people that can get it prefer not to.

Anyhow, if you are trying to target a "creative-class" it its very unclear why the only strategy seems to be to offer free studio space. How much of this "creative-class" will find this useful?
"Creative-class"...ha...so funny really.
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