Hey, we’re going to start a little series of guest pieces about the storefronts (lower case) movement and Storefronts’ (upper case) place in that movement.
Our first is from Emma Crawford, a young writer who aspires to be a full-time journalist, and who emailed out of the blue to offer a piece she was interested in writing about the use of empty retail space nationally. Emma, take it away…
Seattle plays big role in nationwide expansion of storefront projects
It’s no secret that Storefronts Seattle has been one of the largest innovators and groups when it comes to filling store spaces with one of a kind art. In recent times, the great transformation that many Seattle-area fronts have seen has begun to be seen in an expanding number of cities across the United States. Other organizations in different cities are beginning to follow Seattle’s lead, with the goal of improving neighborhoods for the better.
The great thing about the expansion of organizations dedicated to neighborhood and storefront improvement is the different ways in which they are having an impact, as well as how they’re going about doing so. For example, the city of New Haven has benefitted from an effort to provide storefronts to budding artists and entrepreneurs for three month time periods. The impact in New Haven has gone beyond just helping out local artists, as the town has experienced improved foot traffic and an improved feel for many of its streets.
Just last month the New York State Council on the Arts announced plans of taking on applications for a project that would give artists in the city the opportunity to showcase their work in storefronts in the city that never sleeps. Funding would be given to some of those who apply, offering them the chance to extend research on the art of storefront projects and planning.
Much like the strong work done here in Seattle, other cities have simply looked to improve their own landscape and foot traffic by integrating art into their storefronts. Where storefronts have been taken up locally, the whole area has reaped the benefits, whether it’s a street chalked with retail or a storefront that anchors a neighborhood of Seattle apartments. What Seattle has seen done is sure to be present in a number of other cities in the near future.
As 2012 is beginning to get in full swing, the number of storefront projects is increasing from city to city. From those aimed at helping artists, to ones marketed towards entrepreneurs, there will certainly continue to be great variety in the types of storefront initiatives as well. Whatever the case may be, opportunities for artists will continue to grow in the near future as a result of storefront projects.