Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The most important survey ever: [Almost] Three questions with Kerry Hayes

Posted By on Tue, Nov 9, 2010 at 3:03 PM

Kerry Hayes
  • Kerry Hayes
ArtSpace a national non-profit that develops affordable living and working space for creative people in cities across the country has been engaged by the City of Memphis to do a project here, which Kerry Hayes, special assistant to Memphis Mayor AC Wharton, describes as, "a tremendous asset for Memphis’ arts community." On Wednesday, November 10, he invites interested to Playhouse on the Square fron 5:30 to 7:30 to have a drink, and talk with ArtSpace staff.

The happy hour event has been arranged to help promote a survey that goes live on Wednesday, November 10 at ArtSpaceMemphis.org. The first step of the ArtSpace process, Hayes says, is to determine the size, depth, and unique needs of the city’s creative community. I asked Kerry if he'd answer three questions about the survey and the event but he's such a good answerer only two were necessary.

Intermission Impossible: So why is this little shindig so important?

Kerry Hayes: Wednesday’s event at Playhouse is just an excuse to invite a bunch of artists and creatives to come together, have a drink, talk to the folks from ArtSpace who will be in town that day, and (most importantly) take the online survey then and there. Anybody who has a vocational or avocational interest in the arts should take the survey — full-time or part-time painters, musicians, sculptors, writers, performers, choreographers, printmakers, photographers, filmmakers, etc are all welcome and encouraged to make their voice heard. If ArtSpace sees we have a robust and thriving arts community, the project they end up doing here will be that much more awesome.

Intermission Impossible: Awesome. Now for the wonky stuff. Our cultural institutions are really quite an economic engine. Can you give us some sense of what this engine means to the economy and how it might be optimized?

Kerry Hayes: Dense concentrations of artists have tremendously powerful restorative effects on neighborhoods. We can see this in our Cooper-Young and South Main arts districts, where artists have been responsible for stabilizing and increasing property values, inviting more local businesses and economic development, and renovating properties and homes that would be otherwise blighted. The new MCA Nesin Graduate Center is one of the more high profile examples of this. We’re starting to see some of that arts-driven rejuvenation in areas like Broad Avenue, Crosstown, and Soulsville. The City of Memphis is committed to doing a better job of supporting our creative class in any way we can. Simply put, artists make cities great, and a city with such a rich creative heritage like ours deserves assets and opportunities like these. Working with a nationally-regarded organization like ArtSpace to provide more affordable live/work space for artists who need it is something big that we hope will keep creative people living and working here.

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