New Haven, Conn. – Project Storefronts, an innovative small business development program created and managed by New Haven’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA), was the proud recipient of one of the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) first ever Creative Economy Awards. Following on their recent Award from the Arts Council of Greater New Haven last December, DCA was proud to receive further recognition last week from NEFA at the Creative Cultural Exchange held at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts.
The New England Foundation for the Arts is a nonprofit organization that provides leadership and resources to artists, arts funders and policymakers throughout New England. It was established in 1976 as one of six regional arts organizations designed to cultivate the arts regionally and strengthen the national arts infrastructure. NEFA works with the National Endowment for the Arts, the state arts agencies in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Vermont, and a host of private and public funding partners to identify opportunities for cultural advancement.
Last week’s Creative Communities Exchange comprised a day and a half of workshops and networking for creative and cultural community leaders drawn from across New England. The Exchange provided opportunities for participants to learn about model projects directly from those creative communities. Barbara Lamb, New Haven’s Director of Cultural Affairs, and Margaret Bodell, an independent arts consultant who works with the City to help manage Project Storefronts, shared the project’s conception and evolution with conference participants.. “I was ecstatic to receive one of the two Creative Economy Awards presented last week for excellence in creative cultural community development in New England,” Lamb said. Bodell, who manages the Project on a day-to-day basis, agreed: “This project has only been in existence for less than a year so I really was not expecting that New Haven would be singled out for such an honor.”
The regional award is the second award garnered by Project Storefronts. Last December, the project received a much coveted Arts Award from the Arts Council of Greater New Haven for its success in partnering creative entrepreneurs with vacant storefronts to facilitate new businesses.
Project Storefronts Phase I, operated during 2010 out of storefront space loaned by the Related Companies in the Ninth Square in downtown and captured the interest of communities across the country.
The Project Storefronts initiative is supported financially and with technical assistance from the Economic Development Corporation of New Haven (EDC) and the City of New Haven’s Office of Economic Development. New Haven’s Creative Economy continues play a strong role in the city’s overall economy and Project Storefronts is capturing this new energy and way to create jobs in New Haven.
While some other cities have transformed empty retail spaces into galleries or utilized empty store windows as static sites for art installations, New Haven has taken this concept a step farther by creating a program in which temporary spaces act as incubators for individuals and organized entrepreneurs for arts and cultural performances, educational classes, retail or other creative businesses. Project Storefronts has a successful business grow out of this first endeavor in Ninth Square, whereby one of its former tenants, The Grove, signed a lease at the program’s former location at 71 Orange Street. The Grove is new business providing a co-working space for creative entrepreneurs. The Grove bills itself as a new kind of space encouraging and supporting people in their work and the development of the new ideas that are solving the social, environmental, economic, and urban problems. The Grove is more than just a space, it is a dynamic community of social innovators, independents, artists, entrepreneurs, and thinkers that are the new face of New Haven. Learn more at www.grovenewhaven.com
The City of New Haven's Department of Cultural Affairs is dedicated to enhancing the City's quality of life and supporting its economic development through the production of events, the commissioning of public art and assisting and promoting New Haven's many artists and cultural organizations.
Contact Name: Barbara Lamb
Contact Phone: (203) 946-8378