The Indiana Communities Institute (ICI) at Ball State University, in partnership with the Indiana Arts Commission (IAC), recently released new research on how Indiana municipalities are using local arts and cultures in their economic development strategies and their communities.

The research report, “Planning with arts and culture”, was produced by ICI staff members Dr. Emily Wornell Seregow, Assistant Research Professor, and Brian Blackford, Director of Curriculum Development and Training.

One of the key findings of the study revealed that a large majority of respondents agree on the importance of using arts and culture in community and economic planning initiatives.

An example of this approach surfaced shortly after the study was published. On March 25, the Ball State University Board of Trustees authorized President Geoffrey S. Mearns to sign a memorandum of understanding with a development company, Fairmount Properties, to advance a long-term revitalization plan and through steps to the village – the business district adjacent to campus.

The comprehensive plan includes a performing arts center for university events. This performing arts center will be the catalytic anchor for the commercial district, and the University’s investment in the center will leverage approximately $100 million in private investment. Upon completion of this ambitious project, the Village will provide a premier, multi-generational neighborhood driven by arts and culture, entertainment and innovation, with new options in dining, retail, services, entertainment and entertainment. welcome, life and gathering.

“Anytime you can build and develop places and amenities, the more art and culture you can incorporate, the better,” Mr Blackford said. “This study shows that communities believe they have assets in arts and culture, and the more they pursue the development of these assets, the more it improves the sense of belonging.”

Research findings inform ICI’s strategic and programmatic planning to support communities as they use arts and culture in their economic and community development planning. The IAC and ICI are working together on next steps to address the areas of opportunity identified by the report.

“The Indiana Communities Institute has long advocated for local, people-centered investments to ensure stronger, more sustainable communities for current residents,” said ICI Executive Director David Terrell. “ICI is excited to continue working with the Indiana Arts Commission to advance the impact of arts and culture in all areas of the state.”