National Symposium on Arts/ Cultural/ Entertainment Districts

The National Symposium on Arts/Cultural/Entertainment Districts brought policy makers, practitioners, and artists together to engage in dialogue on the economic, social and cultural impact of designated arts and entertainment districts. With numerous states and cities employing arts districts as a revitalization strategy, the symposium presented an opportunity to reflect on best practices for the first time. Scheduled in conjunction with the 2012 National Main Streets Conference, this two-day symposium offered the opportunity to learn about existing policy and incentive programs, and discuss critical issues facing diverse arts and entertainment districts throughout the U.S.

The National Symposium was produced by Station North Arts & Entertainment, Inc. with generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Maryland State Arts Council.  Other sponsors included the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation, MICA, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.


The symposium featured 22 Speakers in 5 sessions, representing 13 states.  In addition to speakers, the performances and work of 21 local artists was showcased to a national audience.

Welcome + Keynote Address:
Hannah Byron, Assistant Secretary, Tourism, Film & the Arts, Department of Business and Economic Development
Mark Stern, PhD, University of Pennsylvania

Session I Speakers:
Will Backstrom, PNC Bank
Doreen Bolger, Baltimore Museum of Art
Shuan Butcher, Frederick Arts Council
Pamela Dunne, Maryland State Arts Council
Gaia, Open Walls Baltimore
Matthew Spalding, MFA Candidate, MICA
Gary Steuer, City of Philadelphia
Dominique Zelztmann & Lexie Macchi, Highlandtown Arts District

Session II:
Barnaby Evans, WaterFire
Deborah G. Frieden, Deborah Frieden & Associates
Amanda G. Johnson, PhD, Boise State University
Andy Vick, Allegany Arts Council

Session III:
Anne L. Corbett, Cultural Development Corporation
Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson,contributing editor with Architect magazine
Fred Lazarus IV, President, Maryland Institute College of Art
Jason Schupbach, National Endowment for the Arts

Session IV:
Brendan Greaves, North Carolina Arts Council
Gaye Hamilton, Lousiana Cultural District Program
Meri Jenkins, Massachusetts Cultural Council
Michael Rushton, PhD, Indiana University, Journal of Cultural Economics

Closing Remarks:
Theresa Cameron, manager of local arts agency services, Americans for the Arts