Animating Neighborhoods

Stories of projects enlivening local communities, increasing equitable access to the arts for local stakeholders, and improving the quality of life of neighbors.

Featuring six dynamic leaders in the field, these 12-minute talks explored the outputs and impacts of innovative projects across the country. An in-depth discussion followed and discussion among Virtual Summit participants took place simultaneously via #ArtsFwd on Twitter. These Talks stream in the following order.

A New World
Rick Dildine, Artistic Director and CEO, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis

In 2010, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis gave the entire canon to its residents with only one rule: make the play happen any way you see fit. Since committing to a radical form of community theatre, SFSTL has seen its mainstage audience increase over thirty percent and its funding increase at the same rate.

Creative Practice + (Social Service and Neighborhood Revitalization) = Happy People
Noël Raymond, Co-Artistic Director, Pillsbury House + Theatre

Pillsbury House + Theatre is exploring how artists and artistic practice can infiltrate social service and neighborhood revitalization in a way that makes radical organizational restructuring easier, collaboration and collective impact successful, and neighborhoods better places to live (without displacing the people who live there).

Harnessing the Power of Art to Inspire and Transform Communities
Trey Devey, President, Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra

What happens when artists from multiple disciplines come together in an unprecedented fashion to bring art to the people? We’ll explore the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s recent LumenoCity project, which drew 37,000 people to a formerly dilapidated park in the inner city and resulted in over 2 million social media impressions, and talk about how the arts can be a springboard for urban renewal.

Reclaiming Our Community: A Profile of Partnership and Innovation in Indian Country
Jay Bad Heart Bull, President and CEO, The Native American Community Development Institute

The south Minneapolis American Indian community has benefited exponentially from the development of the All My Relations Arts Gallery. We have been successful in creating a destination and anchor in our community that continues to generate innovative ideas and strategies for a more vibrant future.

How the Rubber Hits the Road: Arts and Culture on the Ground to Create Livable and Resilient Communities
Mary Rowe, Vice President, Managing Director, Municipal Art Society

Although with increased focus on ‘big data’ and the need for large infrastructure reinvestments in cities around the world, the most effective innovation is often hyper-local, coming from arts and cultural workers whose eyes, ears, and hands are closest to the challenges and opportunities of their communities.

Radical Hospitality
Jack Reuler, Artistic Director, Mixed Blood Theatre Company

Mixed Blood Theatre Company will discuss Radical Hospitality, its no-cost admission model, and how it has impacted both Mixed Blood’s Cedar Riverside neighborhood and the larger community. Revolutionizing access to live theatre has changed the construct of the theatre’s audiences, shaped a new way of doing business for Mixed Blood, and clearly defined a mission-driven strategy for pursuing social justice through the arts.

Fishbowl Discussion

After the three Talks concluded, on-site Summit participants in Denver — as well as online participants, who contributed questions and comments via the #ArtsFwd tag on Twitter — joined together for an informal, organically flowing fishbowl discussion about the theme of Animating Neighborhoods and other topics. The online participants’ voices were represented by the Talks moderator, Richard Demato.

All of these talks were livestreamed as part of the free Virtual Summit on Monday, October 21.