LAUNCH OF PROJECT STOREFRONTS: NEW INITIATIVE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF CULTURAL AFFAIRS PROMOTING THE ARTS & ACTIVATING RETAIL (Part 1)
(8/31/2010) The New Haven Department of Cultural Affairs announced today the launch of Project Storefronts, a program designed to enliven the City’s commercials districts. Project Storefronts encourages artists and “creative entrepreneurs” to test the viability of new creative and arts-related retail and other businesses by providing access to empty retail spaces. The Department of Cultural Affairs is leading this initiative with funding from the Economic Development Corporation of New Haven (EDC), and in partnership with the City of New Haven’s Office of Economic Development and Ninth Square property owner Related Properties. Artists and other creative entrepreneurs are opening their doors in the old United Way space at 71 Orange Street in the Ninth Square.
Many cities across the nation and abroad are seizing the opportunity provided by this current economic downturn to imaginatively utilize community resources by matching entrepreneurial artists, creative entrepreneurs with collaborative property owners with vacant spaces. “While many cities around the country have transformed empty retail spaces into galleries or utilized empty store windows as static sites for art installations, New Haven has taken this concept one step farther,” said Barbara Lamb, the City’s Director of Cultural Affairs. “By creating Project Storefronts, empty commercial spaces will be temporarily transformed into low-budget arts incubators for performances, education, retail or other creative businesses.”
Working with the Small Business managers from the City’s Office of Economic Development, as well as through the city’s Economic Development Corporation, the Department of Cultural Affairs’ new program is designed to help guide creative start-up entrepreneurs learn about business while test marketing the viability of their business ideas. Artists, creative technology professionals and entrepreneurs that are part of what is known as the creative economy are a major driver of economic growth in our City,” said Kelly Murphy, Economic Development Administrator. “Project Storefronts is an important instrument for the promotion of the creative economy in New Haven.”
“Project Storefronts demonstrates the best of New Haven -- our arts community, our thriving downtown and our entrepreneurial spirit,” said Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. “Project Storefronts takes currently vacant retail space and turns that space into a showcase for artists and entrepreneurship.”
While the Department of Cultural Affairs is launching Project Storefronts in the Ninth Square there will be at least one other neighborhood location for a Project Storefronts site. The Department of Cultural Affairs has been out reviewing potential sites in various commercial districts and intends to launch a second Project Storefronts site during 2011.
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