Susan Silberberg started working with Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC) in 2006 to create and launch a first-of-its kind program of research, awards and learning to recognize and foster the creation of affordable artist space in communities across the US. In 2009, Space for Change: Building Communities through Innovative Art Spaces was launched by LINC in partnership with MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning through a funding collaboration between the MetLife Foundation and Ford Foundation. As part of that initiative, The MetLife Innovative Space Awards identified projects that provide affordable space for artists of all types, and that contribute to community revitalization and sustainability through artist programming and active collaboration, and engagement between the artists and the community.
In her role as Associate Director of the program, Susan helped shape the awards structure and criteria and put a research program into place to take full advantage of the depth of information provided by awards applicants from across the country. Performance artists, literary organizations, visual artists, new media organizations and other arts groups offered a glimpse into their successes and challenges around physical space acquisition and development, organizational strategies, and community engagement models. Mining through over 150 applicants, Susan and her MIT research team identified key trends, common challenges and inspiring success stories in affordable artist space development and community collaboration. Susan’s work will be presented in a series of publications and case studies beginning in early fall of 2013, which will shed new light on what policies, strategies and collaborations can help ensure success for these groups and spaces.