Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Building thriving arts communities?

New York-based public-arts org Creative Time was at one point tasked to evaluate the state of the arts in Dallas -- "to identify strengths and potential areas for growth." Their findings were released as an 11-page report.

Their recommendations were interesting, but already people are finding among the most applicable items for discussion not just in Dallas but other cities are their sense of 13 key factors for an art community to thrive.

Looking them over, I think they are worth consideration not just for cities, but cultures.

They "believe there are certain key elements that are necessary for any art community to thrive." Paraphrasing them in no particular order:

1. A sustainable artist community and opportunities for live/ work space

2. Cultural institutions with international reach, innovative programs, and historically relevant collections

3. Great patrons who support the creation, presentation, and acquisition of art

4. Mid-sized and small art spaces that support the creation of new and experimental work by local and international artists

5. Skilled and visionary arts leaders in institutions big and small

6. Excellent contemporary art galleries with international reach

7. Residency programs for national and international artists to create in their city

8. Master of Fine Arts programs to train and attract artists

9. Arts education in public schools

10. Public art to engage broad audiences and activate public spaces

11. Engaged audiences

12. Experienced art writers featured daily in primary news media

13. Civic championing of the arts through policies and urban planning

For Lao American arts and the current state of things, many of these recommendations would be of significant benefit. Which ones do we need to prioritize, and what do we need to add to this list? Given our interest in the aims of the UNESCO creative cities network, what kind of social infrastructure do we need to build to make this happen in the US and in Lao expatriate communities abroad?

No comments: