Cultural district strategies large and small
There are strategies at a variety of scales;
Identifying districts: Sidewalk kiosks, street sign caps, custom crosswalk paintings, and pole banners can announce a district to the public.
Installing wayfinding: Incorporating cultural spaces and destinations on a map or branding individual buildings can give people a reason to follow the map or go inside.
Supporting busking and plein air painting: Welcoming musicians and street performers and people who paint landscapes on site can remind residents and visitors that a neighborhood is vibrant and arts-friendly. Turning vacant space into galleries: Exhibiting art works in vacant storefront spaces is an easy way to turn an eyesore into an asset.
Expert resources on cultural districts
The Americans for the Arts National Cultural District Exchange
This exchange offers a one-stop shop on cultural districts, from learning about different types to making one a reality in your community. We recommend starting with their cultural district basics page and checking out the video of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake of Baltimore, Maryland discussing the success of the city in its three cultural districts., From there, you can view case studies and find all of the information you would need, from planning and programming to securing funding and passing enabling legislation.
The National Endowment for the Arts’ OurTown Portal
Cultural districts are a popular strategy funded by the NEA’s OurTown Program. Read examples and case studies on the Cultural District Planning section. Be sure to check out Station North, one of Baltimore’s cultural districts which specifically sought to capture transit riders who might not otherwise leave the station, and in the process transformed a once-blighted area into a cultural destination.