Mayor Greg Fischer announced this morning that Louisville is receiving a $250,000 arts grant to develop a Creative Innovation Zone (CIZ) in the Smoketown neighborhood. The zone will cover an eight-block area between East Broadway and East Breckinridge Street, bounded by South Shelby Street and South Floyd Street.
This initiative— a partnership between IDEAS 40203, Youth Build Louisville and other community partners—will facilitate new ways for artists, innovators and community members to work together to create new opportunities in education, environmental design and entrepreneurial activity leading to jobs.
“You’ll be seeing a big change in the physical built environment here,” Fischer said.
IDEAS 40203 co-founder Theo Edmonds is a Smoketown resident who formed the organization after realizing that artists could help improve the community that fell within the 40203 zip code, which is ranked as the 13th poorest in the United States.
“We are an artist-led, entrepreneur-focused chamber of commerce. We are network members who are out-of-the-box thinkers, who bring a new and more creative perspective to the table for policy-makers, businesses and communities like Smoketown,” Edmonds said.
Edmonds envisions the Creative Innovation Zone as having multiple locations serving as gathering spaces, studios, business incubators, apprentice training facilities and community educational centers.
The CIZ will also advance educational and environmental development in the Smoketown community by placing artists and innovators in advisory and supporting roles in revitalization efforts.
This project was one of 55 selected from nearly 1300 applications submitted nationwide to ArtPlace America to receive a creative placemaking grant this year.