(L to R) ArtsWrap guests Colleen Houston and Kathryne Gardette with host Alecia Kintner
Hear the full discussion with Colleen Houston and Kathryne Gardette on episode four of ArtsWrap with Alecia, available wherever you get your podcasts.
Neighborhoods with regular arts activities grow housing, population and school test scores, along with 5-10% decreases in crime, according to Americans for the Arts. Is Cincinnati seizing this potential?
Of 52 city neighborhoods, ArtsWave estimates that almost half have an active community arts center, arts district, and/or anchor arts institution that drives significant economic activity.
Price Hill and Kennedy Heights, along with independent townships like Silverton and Lincoln Heights, are great examples of smart art growth.
Likewise, Walnut Hill, once considered Cincinnati's second downtown and the neighborhood that inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin," now attracts business development and residents who see potential for a uniquely vibrant community.
Kathryne Gardette, president of the Walnut Hills Area Council, and Colleen Houston, CEO & artistic director of ArtWorks, talked with ArtsWrap about how the arts contribute to neighborhood revitalization.
"There is real potential for our city to rediscover this incredible neighborhood: Eden Park, Cincinnati Art Museum, Playhouse in the Park, the new home of Cincinnati Ballet, the Paramount building and more," said Houston. "It was an exciting decision
for ArtWorks to embrace Walnut Hills, as not only our next home, but our permanent home."
Adjacent to ArtWorks' future headquarters, Five Points Alley exemplifies how arts transform neighborhoods. "Five alleys meet off of downtown Walnut Hills," explained Gardette. "It was fenced in and a place where 'independent pharmacists' worked. We said,
'If we cleaned this area and made it beautiful, people would see that Walnut Hills is a place to be.' Now, there are picnic tables, Wi-Fi, a stage and sound system. People gather to eat, converse, hear music and swap stories."
Houston concurs. "Five Points Alley is one of the best examples of creative placemaking in our community across any neighborhood, arguably. Cincy Nice [led by Destinee and Billy Thomas], and others, deserve credit for arts programming that makes this
an inviting and inclusive space."
Local cases like this echo national research: the arts catalyze more feet on the street, an increased tax base, real and improved perceptions of safety, stronger social networks, higher empathy, reduced health risks and more community pride. The arts
attract new businesses, like bars, restaurants and retail, and most importantly, neighborhood-based arts organizations bring people together.