The Bell School Campus


Funding Received: 2012
New Orleans, LA
Funding Period: 1 year and 5 months
August 17, 2012

In partnership with artists, politicians, neighborhood sand 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.

Project Manager Joe Butler is working with community leaders to facilitate ways in which the Artspace Bell School Campus project can best benefit the people who live in the Tremé neighborhood of New Orleans. Here, ArtPlace asks about strategies to achieve a successful project and how the efforts will impact the community.

ARTPLACE: What do you have to do really (really) well to achieve success with your initiative?

JOE: Individuals, foundations, funders and government agencies and representatives are realizing more and more that a broad spectrum of people are positively affected by the creation of affordable artist housing and community space—artists and their families of course, but the surrounding community as well. To be successful in the endeavor it is essential that we create an inclusive coalition representative of multiple arts and cultural producers—people who will invest in the surrounding neighborhood and its character.

ARTPLACE: How do you expect the community to change as a result?

JOE: Arts and cultural networks in Tremé have atrophied due to reduced or minimal civic support—especially in the aftermath of Katrina. The renovation and adaptive reuse of the Bell School, which will emerge as the Artspace Bell School Campus, is expected to re-invigorate existing arts and cultural networks within existing social fabric of the neighborhood. At the core of the process is the knowledge that placemaking fundamentally facilitates long-term structural investment that supports broad community involvement in inclusive equity-building.