An Arts District Comes Into Its Own

Last week I had the pleasure of sitting down with several of the movers and shakers in the North Village Arts District at a Tourism Breakfast hosted by the Columbia Business Times and I have to give them all kudos for what they’ve helped create.

Most of us remember when the area north of Broadway was more warehouse than art house. I even remember when we started calling it the North Village Arts District and the often tortured explanations as to what it was.  (Well, there’s these new art studios…) Now, thanks to a lot of  hard work, artist recruitment efforts and property redevelopment, we’re seeing a snowball effect in this area. The addition of PS: Gallery and Pure Exposure in the Berry Building is only helping build momentum. (Take a look at their Facebook page to get a sense of how many creative businesses have located there recently.)

PS Gallery

If you look at master plans for downtowns across the state–and the nation, for that matter–many include an arts district with studios, galleries and a community of creative people. It’s not just a development goal, it’s an economic development one as well. While our arts district is progressing so well, other towns have not been so lucky. It takes a lot of things to make that happen–a vital and energetic center city, a wealth of city and non-profits who support the arts, affordable and eclectic studio and galley space, and a community of people willing to support the arts through their purchases.

So next time you’re strolling along Broadway, take a quick walk up to Walnut and Orr and check it out for yourself.