How did you become involved in the Downtown Placemaking program?
I have always been drawn to artists and creative types, and while traveling have observed how in many cities the initial impetus for neighborhood revitalization and vibrant districts begins with artists (and Gay people) moving into an area.
A few years back I also co-authored a study of artists and craftspersons in northwest Wisconsin that helped me draw the connection between arts, placemaking and community development in a big way. We found that even in more rural areas these people were contributing over 20M per year to the regional economy. They were also contributing to local and regional tourism development, participating in festivals and art shows, and helping create destinations where both residents and visitors to an area would congregate and mingle.
Having moved to Appleton 5 years ago I was eager to get involved with people and groups that are rolling up their sleeves and doing projects that create a stronger sense of community through the arts. I'm honored to have had the opportunity to become involved in ADI's creative placemaking initiative over the past several months, and look forward to helping organize and activate the creative spaces this group is helping bring to life!
by Andrew Dane
Appleton Downtown Placemaker