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In partnership with artists, politicians, neighborhood and philanthropic leaders, Artspace is working to convert the six-building, two-block Bell School campus in the heart of the historic Tremé neighborhood into a vibrant, multi-faceted arts facility. What today is vacant and dilapidated space will be re-animated by artists and creative people as a catalyzing community asset.

ArtPlace asked Artspace Project Manager Joe Butler to discuss the sustainability and future of the Bell School Arts Campus.

ARTPLACE: How will the work you’ve begun be sustained after your ArtPlace grant?

JOE: The work Artspace has begun Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans will be sustained by the depths of the partnerships we have created—which includes their capacity to deliver culturally relevant programming and our capacity to provide space and continued investment in the community. Our New Orleans partners have provided effective community program for many years—but each are challenged to create an affordable long-term base of operations. The Bell School Arts Campus is being designed to address that need.

Our partners have worked collaboratively in program implementation, and view a co-location strategy such as the Bell School Arts Campus as a means to greater efficiency of arts and education service delivery.

ARTPLACE: Have new options for sustainability emerged during the grant period?

JOE: For this project, “new options” can best be described as recognizing emerging opportunities. New Orleans’ individuals, organizations and neighborhoods are looking to leverage resources and investments for maximum value in the continued redevelopment of the City and its infrastructure. The sustainability of the Bell project is built into the project, based on Artspace’s mission—to create, foster and preserve affordable space for artists and arts organizations—and its 30-year history of creating successful, sustainable projects. What keeps the implementation of each project new and vibrant is the priority we give to the individual needs and contributions of each community.

ARTPLACE: Will this work live beyond the grant period and how has this work affected the work you will do beyond the grant period?  

JOE: The work beyond the grant period should strengthen the connectivity developed during the past couple of years. Our objective will be constant—creating and maintaining affordable space for the Arts. As Artspace succeeds in developing physical space, our programmatic partners will continue to develop opportunities for enrichment—which make the buildings and community more invested and integrated in the mutual well-being of all the stakeholders.

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