Arts and Cultural Development

The CivicMoxie team has extensive expertise  in arts and cultural development including on-the-ground master planning of new arts districts, working with non-profit arts organizations, understanding the challenges of creating and maintaining affordable artist space, and researching and writing on arts and community engagement.  Our work in arts and cultural development gives us an understanding that every project and organization is unique; our knowledge of the arts and cultural development landscape allows the CivicMoxie team to avoid cookie cutter solutions.  We match complex and unique projects with a multidisciplinary approach that maximizes synergies between stakeholders and goals and ensures successful outcomes.

In the wake of research and literature on the importance of the creative class to city competitiveness in the 1990s, there has been a wholesale effort to capitalize on the cachet of arts and culture to revitalize cities and recruit the best of businesses and residents. Particularly, the role artists play as urban pioneers transforming disadvantaged and declining neighborhoods, the recruitment of new creative businesses and highly skilled residents, and the availability of destinations for tourists and visitors with disposable income have been highlighted.  Through over a decade of working with clients committed to arts and cultural development, the CivicMoxie team has learned that these “creative class” efforts run a high risk of falling short of goals without considering the unique challenges faced by artists and arts and cultural organizations.  While the term “creative class” is often used interchangeably with “arts and culture,” successful planning efforts require the recognition of very real differences

What does the CivicMoxie team know about arts and cultural development?

  • “using” artists and cultural venues and organizations to revitalize communities can fail if the underlying culture of a community and the unique characteristics of places and spaces  are not an intrinsic part of the plan
  • The success of arts and cultural development can price these very people and uses out, spurring spiraling land values and gentrification from the moment an arts district is designated
  • Creating and sustaining affordable arts and culture space takes great expertise and passion as well as significant organization skill and leadership
  • Artists are business people with a need for access to markets, visibility, low-cost space, and all the support that help businesses thrive
  • Affordable artist real estate development and redevelopment are complex deals that often have multiple financing sources with varied requirements and goals

In her work as Associate Director of the MetLife Innovative Space Awards, Susan Silberberg worked with over 100 arts and cultural organizations nationwide to understand the challenges of creating and maintaining affordable artist space.  The lessons learned from that effort will soon be published and will help arts advocates, artists and non-profits meet the daily challenges and development requirements necessary to provide affordable space and achieve sustainability.  In addition, artist organizations provide varying models for how artists engage with community to affect positive change.  The lessons from these arts organizations guide the CivicMoxie team’s efforts to understand artists’ needs and contributions to community.

Affordable artist space is challenging to create and maintain.  CivicMoxie, LLC teams with Urban Focus, LLC to combine a deep understanding of artists and arts and cultural organizations with the real estate development skill required to evaluate feasibility of affordable artist space development and identify buildings and programs best suited for development.

Some of the services we provide include:

  1. Surveying the potential market demand for space, evaluating building sites and assessing the regulatory environment.
  2. Evaluating the social/political context and assess “political will”
  3. Determining the collaborators and stakeholders
  4. Creating an overall arts and development master plan that identifies synergies and key players
  5. Crafting programming and marketing to support arts and cultural activities
  6. Proposing changes in organizational structures, public sector zoning and other regulations
  7. Identifying development partners
  8. Creating schematic design plans and development pro forma to evaluate feasibility of development
  9. Recruiting developers and development partners for building sites
  10. Identifying funding and financing sources to close financial gaps on development projects