Art spaces, public space, and the link to community development
Grodach, Carl (2009) Art spaces, public space, and the link to community development. Community Development Journal, 45(4), pp. 474-493.
Recent literature credits community art spaces with both enhancing social interaction and engagement and generating economic revitalization. This article argues that the ability of art spaces to realize these outcomes is linked to their role as public spaces and that their community development potential can be expanded with greater attention to this role. An analysis of the public space characteristics is useful because it encourages consideration of sometimes overlooked issues, particularly the effect of the physical environment on outcomes related to community development. I examine the relationship between public space and community development at various types of art spaces including artist cooperatives, ethnic-specific art spaces, and city-sponsored art centers in central city and suburban locations. This study shows that through their programming and other activities, art spaces serve various public space roles related to community development. However, the ability of many to perform as public spaces is hindered by facility design issues and poor physical connections in their surrounding area. This article concludes with proposals for enhancing the community development role of the art spaces through their function as public spaces.
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