Something beautiful’s happening here: Art revitalizes a community

That particular stretch of east St. Charles Road was blighted: Vacant building after vacant building, broken sidewalks, boarded-up windows. No one really went there. There was nothing to see, after all. But one day, the “For Sale” sign on one of the buildings disappeared. Cars parked in the parking lot again, and people went inside the building. The racket of construction—and sometimes laughter—could be heard. Soon, colorful banners appeared outside, proclaiming “Be A Part of ART!” Paintings graced the formerly barren windows. A large metal sculpture—or was it a bike rack?—could be seen by passengers on the commuter train as it rumbled by. Little by little, foot traffic returned to the block as people ventured there to see the new sculpture garden. Families visited on the weekend to experience art classes together, and then walked into town for a bite to eat. When artists held their gallery openings in the newly remodeled space, their guests found spots for dinner and drinks just down the street. Artists who leased space in the new studios located nearby resources for art supplies, takeout food, and caffeine. And, they told their friends, who took a look around and decided to open their new businesses near the art center. Soon, the block was busy and beautiful, not blighted. The residents took note and brought their business back to the downtown, creating opportunities for more business owners. And the downtown grew.

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Sound like a fairy tale? It doesn’t have to be. Studios630 believes in the power of art to revitalize a community. We’re ready to start. Are you with us? Share your vision in the comments. If you’d like to volunteer, click here. Can you donate? Click here.