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Creston Public Art Project gets $15,000 boost, next step in corridor improvement initiative

By: Deborah Johnson Wood

The Creston Public Art Project, a community outdoor art initiative, recently announced receipt of a $15,000 grant that moves the project closer to its goal of creating a contemporary art arena in the Creston business corridor. The grant, from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), funds the first year of a three-year project that launched in March with a call for Creston artists to submit their ideas for murals.

The business corridor runs north along Plainfield from Leonard to Dean. Members of the Creston Neighborhood Association and Creston Business Association (CNA) worked with property owners along the corridor to select two locations for murals: the north wall of Jimmy's Redneck Chicken and Ribs and a bricked-in doorway of the United Methodist Church.

"We're really trying to do something that will cause people to come up here and look at the art, to linger and to bring the arts into a contemporary arena on the street," says Tommy Allen, a CNA board member and project leader. Allen also writes the G-Sync column for Rapid Growth.

"We're looking at how can we increase visibility of the neighborhood and increase business for the businesses in the corridor."

So far, nine artists have entered the competition, and there's still time to submit ideas. The artist must live in Creston and have established a portfolio of work.

"I think this project will promote investment in the Creston corridor," says Tom Pfister, LISC program officer. "We've seen that happen in the Heartside district, and South Division is now known as the Avenue for the Arts. Art is an invitation to stop, to visit, to shop – visitors get a perception of the street activity and they want to explore what the corridor has to offer."

Since 2003, the CNA has invested over $100,000 to revitalize the business district which currently has a one-third vacancy rate.

Source: Tommy Allen, Deborah Eid, Creston Neighborhood Association; Tom Pfister, LISC

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Tommy Allen is lifestyle editor for Rapid Growth's signature event column, G-sync.

Deborah Johnson Wood is development news editor for Rapid Growth Media. She can be contacted at deborah@rapidgrowthmedia.com.

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