“Communities have all realized that you can’t have a successful healthy town or city with just a ring of suburbs and a dying center… The downtown has to be the focus, it has to be successful.” – Chris Beacham

Today we sat down with Chris Beacham of the NC Arts Council to discuss his work with the NC SmART Initiative;  a program designed to encourage economic development in cities across North Carolina through art and culture. The program has done revitalization projects in the downtown areas of six cities across the state, including Wilson, Durham, and Burnsville, NC.  We discuss the influence of the historic preservation tax credit on the project, the importance of vibrant downtown spaces to the creative class, and how Chris’ own art drew him to this work.

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