Wooster Arts and Culture District Team

AMRE | Wooster Arts and Culture District

October 31, 2020   /  

Feasibility and Economic Impact Study

Brandon Charles ’22, Economics and Computer Science
Katie Harvey ’21, Global & International Studies
Andreas Xenofontos
’22, Economics

Advisors: Tim Freeze, Brooke Krause

Using the City of Wooster’s 2014 Comprehensive Plan as a guide, the team considered several options for a successful arts and culture district in downtown Wooster. The team researched similar districts in other communities and gathered information from stakeholders, members of the community and local administrators to inform their suggestions about what an arts and culture district might look like in Wooster and what its economic impact would be.

This project was made possible by financial support from the following organizations: The Andrew Fellowships Fund, The Laura B. Frick Charitable Trust, The Ralph R. & Grace B. Jones Foundation, The Donald & Alice Noble Foundation, Bala Venkataraman, The Wayne County Community Foundation, The Wilson Fellowships Fund, Wayne Center for the Arts, Downtown Arts Theater, the City of Wooster, United Way of Wayne and Holmes Counties, and Main Street Wooster.

Members of Wooster Arts and Culture District will be online to field comments on Nov. 5 from 11am-1pm.

41 thoughts on “AMRE | Wooster Arts and Culture District”

  1. Congratulations on an excellent project! The team approached this topic with curiosity, creativity, passion, and a vested interest in determining what would be best for our community as a whole. We have already referenced your research and recommendations numerous times in subsequent planning meetings and we are well on our way towards implementation. Thank you to Katie, Brandon, and Andreas for your dedication and hard work…especially during this unusual COVID era. Best of luck to you all and don’t hesitate to reach out in the future if you would like a status update or professional reference! We would also like to express our gratitude to Professor Freeze, Professor Krause, and the entire AMRE Program for your continued support of our organization and community! We are so incredibly fortunate to have the College of Wooster and AMRE as community partners.

    1. Mr. Fox, thank you so much for all of your help and support throughout this project. We could not have done it without you! Your suggestions and insight were critical towards the development of the project and how we researched our ideas. We appreciate the kind words and are looking forward to seeing how the Wooster Arts and Culture District takes form! Best of luck to you!

  2. What a great choice for a project! Arts and Culture Districts have been identified as key drivers of improving the local economy of place. Great job working together as a team and receiving buy-in from local businesses and organizations.

    1. Hello Ms. Pagniano. We appreciate your kind words for our project. We hope that our research will help the Wooster community to improve economically as well as supporting the local businesses. In case you are wondering, Paducah in Kentucky is a great example of a small town that managed to improve its local economy and well-being in the last 20 years. As a team, we spent a lot of time analyzing Paducah’s success and used it as a guidance in our research. Thanks again for your interest in our project!

  3. Katie, Brandon, and Andreas,

    This is a wonderful explanation of the project and its potential impact. As a resident of Wooster, I’m excited that your work has already had an impact on local arts organizations and city planning. You have really demonstrated the power of research to have real impacts on communities.

    Did you face many obstacles in conducting your research? How did you overcome those?

    1. Hi Dr. Krain! Thanks for checking out our project. Your support is telling of how invested the community of Wooster seeing the arts and culture reflected in its growth.

      As for your question about challenges, we surely faced a few. Probably most impactful was the shifts caused by Covid-19. While we planned on completing the project in Wooster as a group, we had to do some adaption to a remote working setting. Building a cohesive team dynamic over Microsoft Teams took a bit longer that it may have in-person, but our team eventually did discover how to best utilize our individual strengths as a unit.
      I will also say that having five separate stakeholders proved to both be a challenge and a blessing. With so many interests and ideas from our stakeholders and other members of the community, a lot of our efforts were in gathering the information and drafting a comprehensive plan to best serve our clients. Once our team created organizational techniques to track the ideas being brought up in our meetings, it was truly amazing having creative brainstorming conversations with our stakeholders.

      Finally, the novelty of the project was an inherent obstacle. There were hundreds of ideas being floated around throughout the course of the project, but our main goal as a team was to take these and other examples from arts and culture districts across the US to create a list of financially and logistically feasible options for Wooster.

      Thanks for the question!

  4. Great job guys!
    It is so encouraging that during these unprecedented times we are going through, you managed to come up with such a good piece of work!
    Keep it up!
    The sky is the limit!

    1. Mr. Xenofontos, thank you so much for the kind words! We sincerely appreciate them. Thank you for checking out our project.

  5. Hi Andreas, Brandon, and Katie!

    So great to see this presentation of your high-quality deliverable and be reminded again of all the creativity, resourcefulness, and perseverence that you exhibited throughout an unusual and challenging summer. I’m proud to have been a witness to it all, and I look forward to enjoying and profiting from your research as it is implemented in downtown Wooster!

    Tim Freeze

    1. Dr. Freeze, thank you so much!

      Without you and Dr. Krause we would not have been able to produce this deliverable to the level that we did. Your guidance was invaluable to us. This project taught us a lot and we are all more capable because of it. We cannot wait to see how our research takes shape in Downtown Wooster.

  6. Brandon, Katie, & Andreas,

    Great job working on this project. It’s very nice to read that Wooster is already beginning to use the suggestions from this project in their ongoing work.
    Thank you for your efforts on our behalf.

    1. Hello Ms. Griffin,

      Thank you for taking some time to check out our project! We are very glad that Wooster is already using our suggestions. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has a huge impact on our suggestions and we hope that sooner or later, things can go back to normal!

  7. Hi Andreas, Brandon, and Katie,

    Thank you all so much for the work you did this summer and your detailed strategic plan. It will inform our community work for the long haul and be the catalyst to bringing a Wooster Arts and Culture District to fruition.

    These are challenging times, but your work reminded me that the arts help us navigate such times. Now more than ever a designated “arts district” is needed.

    Thank you for helping us see a path to making it happen.

    1. Hello Ms. Maneese.

      Thank you for all of your help over the summer! Your insights really helped us think of creative ways the Arts and Culture District could take shape, and your experience guided our research. We are hoping that this project helps form groundwork that the Wooster administration and local art organizations can build off of. It’s great to hear that you liked it, and hopefully it helps us all navigate these times.

      Thank you for all of your help once again.

  8. I echo Dr. Krain’s comments about this being an exciting project for the City of Wooster. It’s great you’ve worked on something that may live on past your time at the College. So great also to hear your thoughts on how the experience improved your presentation, research and problem-solving skills. Congratulations to all of you!

    1. Ms. McConnel, thank you so much.

      Many of the art districts we researched were designed to live past their creators time and we tried to emulate that sentiment in our suggestions. We’re excited to see how it takes shape in the Wooster community!

  9. Hello Ms. Griffin,

    Thank you for taking some time to check out our project! We are very glad that Wooster is already using our suggestions. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has a huge impact on our suggestions and we hope that sooner or later, things can go back to normal!

  10. Brandon, Katie and Andreas. Thanks for doing such great work on this project! These community projects are so important, often showing their value many years past the actual project work itself. This is work that will really help the community move forward on a really cool initiative. Thanks for adjusting so well to remote work and for your commitment to the AMRE program. You have developed some really valuable skills this summer and I’m sure they will help you in whatever opportunities lie ahead. Certainly let us know if we can serve as a reference in future work or schooling!

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Dr. Ramsey! AMRE was a wonderful experience that gave our team the opportunity to develop skills (from research to presentation) that we will all carry forward to our futures. Even beyond that, the Arts & Culture project in particular gave us the chance to learn from and contribute to the work being done here in the larger Wooster community. I know that this project has grown my love for both the College of Wooster and the City of Wooster.
      We really appreciate your dedication to development of the AMRE program. Thank you again!

  11. Excellent presentation and great work. It’s wonderful to hear that Wooster is already using your research for local community planning. Thanks for your efforts and for sharing what you learned during this opportunity!

    1. Professor Guarnera,

      Thank you so much for checking out our project and the kind words. This was a challenging but rewarding project for all of us, and we’re very proud of the end result. Thank you for stopping by!

  12. Dear Andreas, Brandon & Katie,
    I want to congratulate you on hard work and commitment to this project, especially during the pandemic. I’m excited to see the continued results of your hard work in Wooster. Your report portrays your excellent communication skills and I am proud of your reflections of lessons learned at the end. Not only do you all present well, I can see where the project has increased your listening skills, intuition, collaboration, negotiation, leadership and the ability to deal with multiple individuals with different priorities. Compiling research to address all stakeholders is a skill that you will be using and building upon throughout your lives. Kudos to all of you for a job well done and Kudos to The College of Wooster (including your advisors) for facilitating this learning and growth opportunity outside of the classroom!

    1. Hi Mrs. Salazar,
      Thank you for taking the time to look through our work from this summer! Despite the challenges we faced, completing this project was a very rewarding experience that helped us to develop a myriad of skills. We appreciate your kind words! 🙂

  13. Greetings from Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus. I am in the 4th year of my MA Economics program at the University of Glasgow and I’m studying online, given the unfortunate circumstances. It was a great pleasure finding out more about your project via your thorough video. Exploring the cultural characterisitics of different destinations and observing channels through which social welfare improvements may take place is definitely a useful process, which concerns everyone. Great job guys, thank you for sharing your findings and keep up your enthuasiam and passion for excellence.

    Hope we can travel again soon. Stay safe!

    1. Hi Demetrios,
      Thank you for taking the time to look through our project! As you mentioned and our research has shown, there are significant benefits to establishing art and cultural destinations around the globe. From economic support to the preservation of cultural practices, the growth of these initiatives is a great way to build social capital in communities, both small and large.
      Sending our thanks to Nicosia!

    1. Our group did a lot of great work for this project! We’re all really proud of the work we put in. Hopefully we all get to see an art district continue to grow in Wooster. Thank you so much for dropping by!

    1. Hi Maresa.

      Thank you so much for the kind words, we appreciate it! This project was challenging, but very rewarding and we all grew from it!

  14. Brandon, Katie and Andreas, it was a pleasure working with you this summer. I wanted to pass along that a copy of your report was requested by the local media so it can be shared more widely. Your work is making an impact! Well done!

    1. Hello Vikki,
      Once again, we wanna thank you for the opportunity you have provided us this summer. AMRE was such an incredible experience for all of us. We learned so many things and we will forever be grateful.

      Wow! That’s amazing! We are so excited that our suggestions are positively impacting the Wooster community! Looking forward to see how the Wooster arts & culture district will look like.

  15. I love hearing about the great projects students do over the summer! Thank you for a great presentation of your work in the Wooster community, and I am excited to see what comes out of this project. Great job to all of you, and best of luck for the seniors!

  16. This was an interesting project and very neat for Wooster! AMRE was a great part of my college experience, I am so glad to hear about the projects students get to work on. It seems like you were a great team for this project. I am excited to see the future impact in Wooster because of this work. Congratulations all!

  17. Brandon, just when everyone thinks you’ve outdone yourself, you set off on another brilliant venture. Excellent work as always, epic even

  18. Very valuable and pertinent topic for our community. I am sure it was a huge help to the partners. Thank you and hope you enjoyed learning more about Wooster!

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