Andrew Zitcer: Locating Artists in the Creative Economy

Section of a map of Philadelphia with pushpins inserted

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Andrew Zitcer is an assistant professor at Drexel University's Westphal College of Media Arts and Design, where he directs the Urban Strategy Master's Degree Program and holds a secondary appointment in arts administration and museum leadership.

His research focuses on the arts as a tool for community and economic development, including the emerging field of creative placemaking, as well as research on cooperative social and economic projects. His work has been published in the Journal of Planning Education and Research, Planning Theory and Practice, the Journal of Urban Affairs, and Urban Geography. He is a faculty fellow at Drexel's Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation.

Abstract:

Artists and creativity are on the urban agenda. Scholars and policymakers have embraced the role of artists as key drivers of economic growth and urban vitality. Yet, accounts of artists' agency often reduce artists to members of a creative class, rendering the arts an instrument for economic growth and erasing important class and racial differences in the field. This project centers artists' perspectives through focus group discussions with artists in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Richmond.

Participatory mapping exercises produced narratives about artists' experiences with two kinds of displacement: physical displacement from neighborhoods and places where artists live and work; and displacement from the creative city's narrative. Displacement raises the specter of what we call the "art-less" city, where a broad swath of art-making is evacuated from the city. We contrast this with the "artful" city, where artists are supported as workers with the means to produce their work and flourish in life.

Cosponsored by the Carl L. Becker House.