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Artists and Urban Revitalization — Take 2

Other OOM issues have focused on the long-standing tradition of artists who can play an important role in helping to revitalize communities, using modest cash investments and lots of sweat equity to reclaim whole neighborhoods in decay and help transform them. We certainly saw evidence of this when we completed our cultural plan for Richmond earlier this year. Now, with foreclosures at an all-time high in many areas of the country, there are new incentives for artists who can take advantage of distressed real estate prices to find affordable property and begin this process. In March, National Public Radio reported about such activities in Detroit. More recently, I learned of CreateHere, a nonprofit, public-private group founded in 2007 in Chattanooga, TN. CreateHere has developed housing, moving, and workspace initiatives to bring artists to the city as a starting point for downtown revitalization. They have already raised $160 million for riverfront beautification and attracted 24 artists to the area through their relocation and grant programs – ArtsMove and MakeWork. ArtsMove helps to bring artists to the city, while MakeWork aims to stimulate the region’s creative economy, providing grants to artists within 50 miles of the city.

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