Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ties that Bind: The Arts' Social Role

Vital, dynamic cities need creative and green communities.  Art districts, sustainable neighborhood developments and revitalized downtowns need creative, green development. 

Cherokee Studios is a bold step towards growing Los Angeles’ support for artists that can contribute to city vitality and dynamism through the social role of the arts. 

“While the arts are commerce, they revitalize cities not through their bottom-line but through their social role.”[1]  Investment in urban space for art and artists is a fruitful means to drive neighborhood identity and spatially connect neighborhoods through their different cultural identities.  After all, who would want to commute to Hollywood or any other neighborhood if it was not, somehow, different. 

For, it is the interpretation of space as producers of not just goods, services and identity, but the interrelatedness of such products to neighboring spaces.  Cherokee Studios revitalizes an historic building and recording house while assisting Hollywood to place artists within the city.  Cherokee Studios is therefore a necessary part of a developing ecosystem of creativity, be it artistic, cultural, technological or economic that makes Hollywood a vital and dynamic neighborhood.  

Cities identified as creative centers are not thriving for traditional economic reasons such as tax breaks and incentives to lure business.  They are succeeding because creative people generate their success.  Beyond their economic impacts, urban artists make contributions to community vitality and dynamism by producing commissioned and informal public art.  Artists often participate in the planning of parks and cultural facilities.  Community events such as parades, festivals and fairs all receive active engagement from artists.  All of their efforts enliven the community.

As a locus of creative activity, Cherokee Studios and its residents will build ties that bind.  By providing a center for creative neighbors to congregate and a platform for communities to share resources like cultural facilities, the dividends of creative processes and conservationist techniques for urban living Cherokee Studios is an asset to the Los Angeles community.  The social network created by Cherokee for Hollywood residents and Los Angeles’ communities will translate into cultural vitality and economic dynamism. 

[1] Seifert, Susan C. & Mark J. Stern.  “Cultivating “Natural” Cultural Districts.”

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