The city of Little Rock will receive a $345,000 grant from ArtPlace America to enhance the “Creative Corridor” on Main Street with streetscaping, signage and artwork, the national foundation collaboration has announced. The city was one of only 55 communities out of 1,300 applicants to receive the grants from ArtPlace America, which promotes the “field of creative placemaking, in which art and culture plays an explicit and central role in shaping communities’ social, physical, and economic futures.”
The city received an earlier grant to commission a design the “Creative Corridor,” from the 300 block of Main to the 600 block, by Marlon Blackwell and the University of Arkansas Community Design Center. ArtPlace America’s description of the Little Rock project:
Little Rock, AR (population 196,500) will explore a hybrid model for a cultural district by relocating three existing arts organizations with strong histories of programming into new homes that are clustered along what had been a moribund Main Street. The Ballet and the Symphony will relocate to this new creative corridor and have new, storefront practice spaces, with the Ballet purchasing portable barres that will allow them to rehearse on the street, and the Symphony buying a new sound system that will allow passersby to eavesdrop on rehearsals and performances. The Repertory Theater will expand its space by adding a new black box theatre and class room space for its young artists. Artists will be commissioned to create signage, lighting installations, and other streetscape improvements throughout the corridor. ($345,000)
I’m not sure Ballet Arkansas’s company will actually jete down Main, but the plan is for the ballet’s space to be fronted with glass so passersby may observe the dancers at the barre.
Since the “Creative Corridor” was first envisioned, it has transmogrified into the Creative and Technology Corridor, with plans to locate Little Rock Technology Park facilities in the same area. Should the corridor someday blossom with dancers and music and techies, Mayor Mark Stodola, the major proponent of the creative corridor idea, should get much of the credit.