Downtown Provo sort of has an arts district. The “100Block” (University Ave, between 100 North and 200 North) has a pair of music venues, and formerly had a couple of art galleries and art-displaying businesses. There are still a couple of gallery spaces downtown, as well as a theater.
But Provo’s arts district isn’t as robust as many people (including me) would like. Significantly, it’s a very pale version of what it was just a few years ago. A revitalized downtown and an increased arts presence should go hand in hand.
As the last few posts have sought to argue, arts are great ways to spur overall development. This article argues the same thing (albeit with a focus on San Francisco), and includes information on how to make an arts district successful. Notably, it points out that not only do arts districts spur economic development, but bolstering them is also much cheaper than other types of city improvement.
The link above includes some interesting information about shared resources and community space and is well worth a read. In addition, here are some useful quotes worth considering in the context of Provo:
On art programs for homeless people and at-rish youth: “These organizations are not only serving the needs of their community but also building new audiences for the arts.”
“The most successful districts add experimental temporary programming to their permanent projects. Many districts organize “art in storefronts” programs, art fairs, gallery walks and mural projects. But when these events expand beyond expectations, they can be catalytic — reaching new audiences, driving regional tourism and creating a brand identity for the district.”