They understand that the arts contribute to the economy and quality of life.
Small towns across America are realizing the potential of the arts to reenergize economies, rebrand districts, and revitalize neighborhood infrastructure. El Dorado, Tulsa, Oak Park and San Carlos realize that the arts area business, and investing in their success spurs the local economy. Take a look at a few of the many arts and business partnerships initiated across the country, below.
El Dorado, AR
$100 Million designated for entertainment district spurring job creation and tourism
Downtown El Dorado suffered from zero to fifteen percent occupancy rates in certain blocks following the oil bust of the 1970’s. Scaling downtown development will turn community blight into benefit.
El Dorado Festivals & Events (501-c3) is investing in the Murphy Arts District, a year-round entertainment district in downtown El Dorado. Plans for the area feature a musical hall, amphitheater, restaurant and a children’s play area. El Dorado Festivals & Events also seeks to spend $32 million to renovate a 1920’s Rialto Theater, which will be reopened to include an art gallery, exhibition hall and artist-in-residence quarters. The grand opening is set for September of 2017.
$30 Million creating new mixed-use retail space for the creative economy
Since the 1920’s the 72,000 square foot Archer Building has had a home within downtown Tulsa. The now abandoned building and its unique architectural elements are getting a face lift due to a grant from the George Kaiser Family Foundation. The Archer Building will turn into 35 artists’ studios, 14 apartments and retail space for 10 restaurants and retail businesses. Magic City Books, a book store with special rooms designated for community gatherings and clubs, will help anchor the ground floor.
Jeff Morton, President of the Board of Directors for the Brady Arts District Business Association states that the development is to breathe new life into the area, “our magic time is not over; it is right now and what is in the future.”
Oak Park, IL
$50,000 set-aside for assisting local arts and business owners
The Oak Park Arts District Business Association is investing time and resources in collaborating with creative workers and artists to further distinguish the neighborhood from surrounding Chicago suburbs.
Oak Park Arts District visitors criticize the lack of visible art within the community. “Friends love the bars and the idea of restaurants coming on Harrison and Lombard…It’s all very cool, but the arts do seem to be lagging,” according to Oak Park Arts and Business Association Trustee, Bob Tucker.
The association plans on focusing its resources towards facilitating the efforts of local artists and businesses that contribute to creating a more artistically vibrant and attractive neighborhood.
San Carlos, CA
Chamber of Commerce hosts industrial arts show for increasing foot traffic
The San Carlos Industrial Arts District is currently known as the home of several home and building supply businesses, but the area is changing to be more consumer facing.
Zoning laws are now allowing food and beverage establishments, such as Devil’s Canyon Brewing Company and the Domenico Winery, to open. Local businesses are excited about anything they can do to improve the area for pedestrians. They desire to transform the neighborhood from a drive-through zone to a destination.
As a result, the San Carlos Chamber of Commerce is working with local business owners to put on an Industrial Arts Car Show geared towards attracting the district’s industrial design enthusiasts along with arts, food, and wine lovers.
Photo: Downtown Tulsa, OK