Research consistently shows that the arts have a substantial, positive impact on cities and neighborhoods, both culturally and economically. Cultural benefits include fostering a sense of pride among residents and helping create a shared identity. Economic benefits include attracting more visitors to and investment in an area. For all of these reasons, arts organizations, events and programming should no longer be viewed as luxuries but rather as essential to community building and revitalization.
In Fall 2021, students in Professor Karen Beck Pooley’s course, Urban Environmental Policy, investigated how LUAG might continue its work in reaching the local community, ensuring that all feel welcome, and being a good neighbor. Students in the course met with LUAG staff, as well as students in the course ART276 Museum Education and Interpretation, and presented their research to students, staff, and the public on December 2, 2021.
The students’ final recommendations to LUAG included:
- Organize a Hispanic Heritage Festival in September and October of 2022, to celebrate and honor local, national and international LatinX arts and culture during Hispanic Heritage Month.
- Create arts installations – a mix of permanent, semi-permanent and temporary works – on the South Side. These could include displaying reproduced pieces of LUAG’s collection in public spaces and local businesses throughout the neighborhood; transforming a vacant lot or existing greenspace into an “Arts Garden,” and commissioning a new South Side mural in partnership with Broughal Middle School.
- Host community-oriented programming, including a mix of exhibitions, performances, tastings, and speakers aimed at both the Lehigh community and local residents.
Read the students’ full final report below.