The age-old problem.
Artist displacement is not new. It’s happened for decades, and it continues to the present day. It’s the age-old gentrification cycle: artists/creatives move into a run-down, undesirable, low-rent neighborhood. Through creating art, they bring more creatives to said neighborhood, which then attracts bars, restaurants, cafes, book and record stores, which then brings people to want to live among the valued neighborhood culture. Then property values go up, forcing the artists out.
In Greater Boston, we’ve lost hundreds of artists, creative small businesses, live performance venues and the other businesses associated with the creative economy as neighborhoods turn over. It happened to Jamaica Plain, Central Square and Davis Square, and we’re in the throes of ittaking place in Union Square, Dorchester and Roxbury. We’ve lost many artist communities including Piano Craft Guild, 52 Amory Street, EMF, Central Studios, and countless others.
There are few mechanisms, if any, to help artists and creative small businesses to prevail, despite gentrification and development. Many try to fight against displacement. Most lose. But the tide may be turning before us.