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 talks to Project Manager Joe Butler about the importance of partnering with community members and organizations to develop a project that meets their unique needs.
ARTPLACE: Who outside your organization has been key to your ability to move your initiative forward?
JOE: Our surrounding neighborhood association, St. Peter Claver, and the collaborating network of organizations working in geographic footprint which includes our Tremé neighborhood (The New City Partnership) have worked together to help ground the project within the needs and vision of the community while offering a platform for communication and group involvement.
ARTPLACE: Are there secrets to good partnerships?
JOE: Presence is one of the keys to good community partnership. As an individual and organization it is imperative that you are involved in the multitude of activities that define a community's culture. Presence is required during celebrations, difficult conversations and in times of grieving; one must—as an individual and organization—demonstrate connection with the community—a connection that is beyond the needs of a single project or organization.