Backed by millions of dollars in new grant money, "creative placemaking" promises to breathe new life into hard-hit urban areas. Will it work?
The FAB Lab, a part of Wayne State University's TechTown initiative, recently won a planning grant from ArtPlace America, a collaboration of charitable foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and federal agencies. The funding is designed not just to feed starving artists or prop up grand old arts institutions. Under the banner of "creative placemaking," these grants aim to inject new life into local economies.
"Our idea is that we will invest in art and culture as part of a portfolio of strategies meant to transform communities," says ArtPlace president Carol Coletta.