How the artistic dividend can improve economic development in historically segregated Black communities




Roberts, Caleb Isaiah

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Major initiatives to develop of artistic and cultural activity can diversify a city’s economic base and help revive neighborhoods or districts. The purpose of this report is to analyze how artistic dividends can influence a neighborhood and lay the groundwork for economic development and new employment opportunities. By establishing a community based effort to support artists and build up artistic and cultural clustering, a new channel can be created to bring value to a community that was not previously present or expressed. I explore how an initiative to develop artistic and cultural activity in an historically African American neighborhood in Milwaukee could help reverse the long-term effects of segregation and disinvestment. A review of the literature and four cases in different cities suggests that targeted, community led interventions to revive the physical, economic and cultural spaces in distressed communities can lead to significant economic change and revitalization incorporating artistic and cultural production. The viability of an artistic dividend at the community scale relies on the ability to create artistic cluster, for that clustering process to result positive economic change that effects the community on an equitable and just level. Milwaukee is in need of new, innovative efforts to transform neighborhoods that have been excluded from economic and cultural opportunities not only solidify the ideals that permeate the city, but also to use the creation of culture to bring about economic benefits that repair and embrace all the cities communities.


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