How To Preserve Arts & Culture Spaces During and After a Pandemic

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How To Preserve Arts & Culture Spaces During and After a Pandemic

October 27, 2021

Our cultural infrastructure in cities across America – the spaces where creative people and professionals live, work, make, rehearse, present, and perform – is under threat. Even before the pandemic, museums, artist and recording studios, rehearsal spaces, and independent music venues and theaters have been feeling the squeeze of growing development pressure and restrictive planning policy, rising rents, and changing business and revenue models across the creative industries. And while the pandemic has had a profound impact across the economy, it has been uniquely brutal for cities’ creative economy and cultural sectors. Due to these sectors’ dependence on in-person events, many cultural venues saw revenue losses of up to 90 percent, and some of our cities’ most beloved cultural spaces have closed permanently.

The thought of a post-pandemic without the arts and cultural ecosystems that gives our cities their sense of place and community is a bleak one.

So where do we go from here and what are the solutions — both public and private — that US cities are starting to explore to make sure these spaces can continue to thrive in our cities? How can we do this while recognizing the cultural sector’s unique role as both victims of, and often co-opted agents of, gentrification? And how can we give more consideration to equity-driven solutions to both preserve existing BIPOC run and led cultural spaces and to create new ones?

In this session, participants will get to hear from those leading the fight to preserve these cultural spaces in our cities and learn about the latest policies and approaches being implemented including community and artist land trusts, new public development corporations, and progressive private sector partnerships.

Moderator

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Rebecca Greenwald is a writer, researcher and strategist related to cities and urban development and arts and culture. As a freelance writer and journalist for publications including NextCity, Metropolis Magazine and CityLab, Rebecca has reported on topics related to urban cultural policy and planning, landscape and public space, and equity in the built environment.

Rebecca completed an MA in Cultural Policy and Urban Sociology from Goldsmiths, University of London and worked as a qualitative researcher for cultural and creative industries consulting firm BOP's portfolio of cities and placemaking projects with clients including the Mayor of London's Culture Team, the Design Council, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Inter-American Development Bank. She led outreach around the launch of Making Space for Culture, a pioneering research initiative by the World Cities Culture Forum looking at how over 30 cities' cultural affairs departments are enacting new policies and programs to save cultural infrastructure in the midst of our global affordability crisis.
 

Speakers

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Moy Eng began her career in New York City, fundraising with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and has worked for over three decades as a senior executive in arts and culture, renewable energy, and human rights.  At the center of her life is art, supporting artists and making artworks as a poet, songwriter and vocalist.  By day, Moy serves as the CEO of Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST), San Francisco‐based real estate development nonprofit dedicated to creating permanent affordable housing and workspace for the arts and culture sector in one of the most expensive cities to live and work in the world. Only seven years old, CAST has already been cited as a creative placekeeping model by civic and cultural leaders in Amsterdam, Austin, Denver, London, Paris, Seattle, Sydney, and Vancouver, among many others, and in publications by the World Cities Culture Forum and Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.  Prior to her appointment at CAST, Moy served during the 2000’s as the Hewlett Foundation arts program director, making $165 million in grants of which $20 million helped to build over 750,000 square feet in new artspace for small and midsized cultural nonprofits such as Ninth Street Media Consortium, ODC, Freight and Salvage, Los Cenzontles, and Tannery Arts Center.  By night, Moy is a writer and vocalist.  She recently released her first recording, the blue hour, co-produced with four-time Grammy Award nominee Wayne Wallace, to critical acclaim and international airplay. 

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Dayna Frank is President and CEO of First Avenue Productions, Minnesota’s leading independently owned and operated concert venue and promoter. Dayna has expanded the business beyond its star-adorned walls to include the Fine Line, the Turf Club, the Palace Theatre, and the Fitzgerald Theater. She is currently working with the public to develop a Community Performing Arts Center on the Mississippi riverfront. Dayna is a founding Board Member of the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA), working to secure financial support to preserve the national ecosystem of independent venues and promoters. Dayna is a strong LGBTQ+ advocate, a 2018 Henry Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute, and a firm believer in community building through live music.

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Matthew Richter (he/him) is the Cultural Space Liaison for the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture. He is currently also serving as the interim director of the Cultural Space Agency. He was the founding director of both the Consolidated Works contemporary arts center and the Rm 608 gallery for visual and performing arts, spent two years building the Storefronts Seattle program. He is a recipient of the Safeco Insurance RUDY Award for nonprofit director of the year, has been made an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects, and is a recipient of the Seattle Mayor’s Arts Award. 

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