Does Columbus Need A Dedicated Arts District?

I can’t tell you how many times a visitor has said to me, “I had no idea Columbus had so much ___________!”  You name it…music, dance, art, theatre.

Those who do not live in “flyover country” seem surprised that non coastal-dwellers have so much available culture.

Adrian Ellis is director of the Global Cultural Districts Network, an initiative of the New Cities Foundation, the Dallas Arts District and AEA Consulting.  Writing in the most recent issue of The Art Newspaper, Ellis wrote about using designates arts districts to draws both residents and visitors in.

“In this context ‘culture’ usually means museums and galleries, theatres and concert halls and the things that animate those buildings—exhibitions, festivals and performances,” Ellis wrote.” “Liveable cities also have compelling public spaces and architecture that draws people to them. They encourage visitors and residents, young and old, to intermingle in ways that destratify, desegregate and generally democratize.”

Sao Paulo was the venue for last month’s launch of the GCDN.  You can take a little tour through the video above. Organizers want to strengthen the connection between the people responsible for “conceiving, planning and managing cultural districts so they can learn more easily from one another, identify common agendas and develop partnerships.”

I would be interested in hearing from business leaders and arts administrators on this subject.  Would an “Arts District” enhance our cultural experience in Columbus, or be just another layer of bureaucracy?  Would we profit from having an area dedicated to the cultural arts, or are we better off having them sprinkled throughout the community, much like the Short North?  Can we have both?  Let me hear from you.

Read: Successful Cultural Districts are Powerful Policy Tools (The Art Newspaper)

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