The findings from the CRDA/ArtSpace Inc Pre-feasibility Study are in! And as was revealed at Dante Hall in Atlantic City last night, artist housing in Atlantic City is, well, feasible. And still a long way off. Three to five years is the current projection.
The good news is the Arts & Cultural District will move forward. Well…maybe. Depending on funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, which could arrive any day now, there will be as much as $475,000 available for sculptures, murals, benches (artistic benches), etc. But the district itself is still dependent on which major players sign on the dotted line. They are getting closer to doing so.
Bottom line, nothing is certain yet but it is still moving forward. Huh?
The people from the CRDA will be the first to admit, and did last night, that they are not artists. They are looking at this from strictly an economic point of view. They weren’t the least bit fazed by the quality of regional artwork supplied by ArtC, Mary Cantone of the William Ris Gallery and of course the artists, for last night’s event at Dante Hall. They had no idea how much work went into putting that much artwork together in a very short time for a very short time. Now just magnify that effort by a billion and that’s what it will take to create a sustainable, creative, exciting and financially profitable arts district in AC.
And you know what? That’s OK. More than OK, it’s the way it should be. The CRDA is taking some heat from the public and even artists for trying to do something that could really help not only the City of Atlantic City but the region and possibly the state. They have to look at it as economists, not artists. It will not be easy. Artists, good artists as well as emerging artists, need to become more excited about this and, so far, for the most part, they are not. At least not yet.
Last night’s event was another step forward. The CRDA kept its cool, made its case and they will continue to do what they do. Forget the naysayers and ‘what’s in it for me’ sayers. This can be a great project and yes, artists, not just institutions, need to be included and involved. Take some time, take the survey. It could help.
All photos taken for ArtC by Frank Weiss.