Arts-Based Community Development Convening
Transforming Post-Industrial Cities through Art and Innovation
April 12 through 14, 2012 - St. Louis

RBABIII is over, but DC3 is not asleep!

Posted on by roseann

So Rust Belt to Artist Belt III was almost a month ago now, and it might seem like that’s where it ends. So often a conference is all about big ideas, and we talk about so much, and then afterward we get lethargic. I can’t count how many times at the conference someone said to me:

“This is so great! But what are we going to do?”

It might seem like things are quiet right now, but in actuality that’s because there’s so much behind the scenes that needs to happen in order to move forward. We’re thinking seriously about the findings of Rust Belt to Artist Belt III, as well as applying what we’ve learned to our future programs and coordinating with conference participants and attendees in order to better implement some of these ideas.

So, albeit a little late in the game, here are just a few quick thoughts and observations from the conference itself. These are the ideas that, when I re-read my notes, just kept coming up.

1. Even in difficult economic times, investing in art and culture is important. Wait, especially in difficult economic times, investing in art and culture is important. This is not to say that arts, or artists, or even creativity in general, is the whole solution, but that it is an important part of our lives. It is an important part of our cities.

2. Our cities, maybe especially in the rust belt, are more complex than the numbers make them seem. Detroit and her rust belt peers have complex and complicated histories that need to inform our future plans. It isn’t as if once things were great and now they’re not-so-great, it is so much more.

3. We have limited resources, and we need to use them wisely and respectfully. We cannot expect to do more with less, to be what we were 50 years ago, or to grow too fast. Maybe fast growth isn’t the answer anyways.

4. We need to redefine how we think about things. The public realm is more than just outside. Creatives are more than MFAs. Our communities are already rich in many ways, so much is already happening, and we can seek to be a part of it.

Just a few bullet points for now! More to come, or check out the Detroit Creative Corridor Center website, to see what else we’re working on.

-Katherine D Maurer

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