Arts Impact: Examining the Establishment of an Arts District on Baltimore’s West Side.
The well-documented decline of industrial cities over the past 40 years has focused primarily on the loss of manufacturing jobs – skilled blue-collar jobs that provided good incomes and enabled middle-class families to live comfortably in the city. Over time those jobs decamped to suburban highway locations, to other parts of the country, and eventually to other countries, leaving behind a population unable to reach them and a city with no replacement work to offer.
This report examines the possibility in one city – Baltimore – of creating an arts district in an area with identifiable assets and potential but that has been stubbornly resistant to revitalization. We look closely at the area itself, including its built environment, how it’s connected to the rest of the city, what physical, cultural, financial and political factors portend a successful district designation and what barriers will hinder that success. We finish with a series of recommendations on how the city might go about creating an arts district on its West Side, and on some of the policy and leadership implications should it decide to proceed with the designation application.
Faculty Advisor: Professor Sidney N. Brower
Maia Shanklin Robert