Creative Building Reuse

Yesterday, Parade magazine published an article on a creative building transformation that has taken place outside St. Louis, where a struggling enclosed shopping mall has been turned into a thriving arts center. If you haven’t read it yet, check out Can Art Save a Mall?

It’s a good example of how an existing building, and once popular destination, can be reinvented instead of torn down. One of my other favorite creative building reuses is the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, VA. Once an actual torpedo factory during the early part of last century, the building now houses three floors of working artist studios, galleries, an art school, and a museum.

As the economy struggles and more buildings become and remain vacant, I wonder what other creative building reuses will emerge.


Cleveland is Creative

Although, I have known this for awhile, the rest of the world is just catching up and realizing that Cleveland is creative. Featured as one of Fast Company’s most creative cities, Cleveland joins other national cities like San Francisco and New York and international cities Taipei and Vancouver.

While the article focuses on the creative reuse of land in the city, there are so many other things here that make Cleveland creative and just a cool place to live.

  • Check out Cleveland.

Image Courtesy of Fast Company

Art Bar: Part II

In a previous post I gushed about Art Bars never even having tasted one. Their concept of combining fair-trade chocolate bars and fine art seemed to be the perfect pairing.

Well, while I was in Los Angeles and visiting the gift shop at the Huntington Library I bought one: dark chocolate with coconut. Not only was the chocolate yummy, but the artwork inside was captivating: a miniature reproduction of an original sepia-toned silver gelatin print by Meg Birnbaum. The tiny little artwork also included a brief and well-appreciated interpretation.

Finally, a portion of the proceeds from Art Bars goes toward art education, including the International Child Art Foundation.

  • Interested in submitting your art work?

Image Ithaca Fine Chocolates

Who’s Your City?

That’s the question that Richard Florida asks in his latest book entitled, Who’s Your City?: How the Creative Economy Is Making Where to Live the Most Important Decision of Your Life.

It’s a question I’ve asked myself. Early in my career, I chose to move to our nation’s capital because I was looking for work in museums and with the plethora of cultural institutions dotting the Washington, DC area, I figured I was bound to find a job. And, I did.

Ultimately, I realized that my family was more important. After attaining my career goal in DC, I decided to move back to Ohio to be closer to my loved ones. Although Cleveland has some amazing arts organizations, I decided to take a different path, one in the corporate world.

Creative Tourism

Are you like me and seek out learning experiences when you travel or do you want to make your city a creative destination? If so, the Santa Fe International Conference on Creative Tourism may interest you.

It will be held from September 28 – October 2, 2008 in Sana Fe, New Mexico, which has recently been named as the first UNESCO Creative City in the United States.

Some of the program topics include Artist’s Tours: Generating Sales for Artists Through Creative Tourism and Keeping it Real, “Authenticity in the Creative Industries”. There’s also a keynote by Eric Maisel, my creativity teacher.

  • Plan your next creativity trip today.

Art Bar

What do you get when you combine two of my favorite things: art and chocolate? Art Bars. Created by Ithaca Fine Chocolates, Art Bars contain fair-trade certified organic chocolate and a collectible card featuring an art reproduction. Plus a portion of the profits support art education. Brilliant!

Image Ithaca Fine Chocolates

Changing the World Through Design

This is an impressive goal, but a creative non-profit is trying. Nest, based in St. Louis, was founded to support women artisans in developing countries. It does this by selling products, including clothing, accessories and home goods by an exclusive group of designers. The profits from these sales are used to create micro-loans offered to international artisans, who in turn sell their goods on the nest website. It’s a creative approach to supporting global communities.

Lakewood Arts Festival

Art festivals are a staple of summer in Northeastern Ohio. Normally, the endless jewelery and photography booths bore me and don’t even get me started on all the pottery! But Lakewood’s festival usually contains a few creative surprises and even some interesting artists.

USA: United States Artists

I think this graph says a lot about how we view the arts in this country. From this statistic, USA, United States Artists was created to support artists. Their goal is to inspire innovation at its source by investing in artists. Last year, they awarded grants to 50 artists totaling $2.5 million.

The organization is funded by foundations, arts patrons and corporations and awards $50,000 grants in the following disciplines: Architecture & Design, Crafts & Traditional Arts, Dance, Literature, Media Arts, Music, Theater Arts and Visual Arts.

Image United States Artists and the Urban Institute

Art Inspires Volunteerism

According to the National Endowment for the Arts, if you patronize the arts, no matter what your education level or income is, you are more likely to do volunteer work and give back to your community.

  • Look for volunteer ideas here.