The Wisconsin Arts Board recognizes and encourages the potential of artists to help create healthy communities and vibrant downtown spaces. Because of this, the Wisconsin Arts Board developed the "Phantom Art Galleries – Wisconsin" Pilot Program, to encourage artists, arts professionals, and arts organizations to partner with downtown development entities (and vice versa) in order to revitalize their downtowns. Specifically, the program provides grant recipients with funding and technical assistance to turn vacant downtown storefronts into temporary art galleries. In doing so, the empty downtown spaces have been revitalized, and local/regional Wisconsin artists have access to non-traditional spaces in which to show their work.
From this program, we have seen much growth and positive outcome within the communities involved. We at the Arts Board, as well as our Phantom Art Galleries - Wisconsin grantees, hope to inspire more communities to create this dynamic partnership between their own local artists and downtown developers. Feel free to contact any of the involved organizations. Each group is willing to discuss the creation, maintenance, and outcomes of their Phantom Art Gallery program, as well as tips for starting a similar program in your own downtown area!
(Edit: Link to Wisconsin Arts Board now fixed. Thanks, Jessica!)