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What role should arts institutions have in urban areas?

Urban areas often contain galleries, museums, colleges and universities, arts schools, studios, art centers, and other forms of ensembles of practioners of the arts. These institutions vary in how, and how much, they interact with and engage in the communities within which they are set.
As we envision within City 2.0, the TEDPrize winner, or in our view of what we want our cities to be like in, say, fifty years, what novel roles can these institutions play? Do these new or expanded roles require changes in how these institutions plan their programming, either as individual institutions or in hybrid forms or collaborations?


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    Apr 3 2012: Urban areas, particularly Chicago, have neighborhoods with drastic wealth disparity. These neighborhoods are relatively segregated into Caucasian, African American, Latino, and Asian. I began my student teaching (8th grade science) in a Chicago Public School early August on the west side (Austin community).

    One of the many realizations I came across , from personal experiences and interaction in the community, was that many of the students had never/rarely left their neighborhood, let alone go downtown to visit/explore these fine arts institutions (On a field trip a student told me that was his first time downtown). The school infrequently has library/music class and does not have an art class. School is only core subjects.

    Visiting these types of institutions and practicing these many arts from childhood played an integral part in my evolution as a person, both mentally (Expanded view of what knowledge is/freedom for nontraditional knowledge exploration) and physically (Dexterity, Penmanship, etc).

    Ideally and realistically in 50 years... Every citizen has regular exposure to these foundation-forming institutions. This needs to happen via education starting in PreK going through high school. Doing this will expand opportunities for students by encouraging interdisciplinary thought and integrating traditional schools of knowledge to real life/non-traditional inquiries/situations/interests/strengths.

    Many people's strengths lie in these fine arts and providing the necessary tool's to explore and bridge the relevance of school to personal interests/real-life will yield scholars.
    In order to better ourselves as a community of educated and well-rounded citizens these arts institutions should play a large role in both urban and suburban neighborhoods, and start at a young age. To produce more art, scholars, musicians, etc. we need to open these doors to all knowledge seekers.

    Culturally relevant education/programming is critical for initial engagement and...
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      Apr 3 2012: I worked for a city development programme in Germany - through artists and art institutions. Mostly these cities have quarters with high unemployment (15 - 18%) and high migration (25 - 35%) - in a post-industrial region which could not built new industries like steel and coal. Just these problem quarters were the ones which attracted galleries and cinema and dance companies - strangely enough, but minus and minus add to a surplus and value added.

      I could not agree more as you wrote - adding formal to informal education; traditional to non-traditional knowledge - and I would add: top down city policy with crowd-sourced initiatives of locals.

      Here you can find the reports and films we did within the last two years on the projects in 7 cities:
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        Apr 3 2012: Bernd, I have not yet had the chance to follow the link to your urban projects, but where I live artists have been using space that building owners cannot rent out (because of the economy) for temporary installations. It prevents the area from looking blighted, adds color and interest, and gives the artists exposure.
        Now I followed the link. What a great resource! Thank you.
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        Apr 4 2012: Bernd,

        I read and watched through labkultur, it is great. Chicago would be an ideal place for this.


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      Apr 3 2012: Alex, as you work in Chicago, are you familiar with what Theaster Gates is trying to do? That might be in Hyde Park, but I am not sure.
      Could you see some sort of outreach to connect students to the activities of arts institutions even if they cannot practically speaking leave their neighborhoods easily?

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