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Restoring theaters to Main Streets

Published 4:59pm Saturday, July 13, 2013

The League of Historic American Theatres (LHAT) will hold their annual conference in Minneapolis next week, and I will be attending to represent the Historic Paramount Theatre.

LHAT is a national network of theater practitioners who are working in communities all over North America to rescue, restore, and keep historic theaters operating. The network helps its members learn strategies to help solve problems and find goods and services designed specifically for historic theaters.

Similar to the theme of the Rural Arts and Culture Summit that Austin Area Commission for the Arts staff attended in June, the theme for this year’s LHAT conference is The Future of Creative Placemaking. This concept has become the latest trend in arts and community development.

It focuses on how communities are using the arts and other creative assets to help shape their physical, social, and economic character.

In creative placemaking, partners from public, private, nonprofit, and community sectors strategically shape the physical and social character of their community around arts and cultural activities. Creative placemaking can rejuvenate physical spaces within in a town, improve local business viability and public safety, and bring diverse people together to celebrate, inspire, and be inspired.

The Austin ArtWorks Festival has been a great example of creative placemaking in action on a small scale here in Austin. As we work with the Vision 2020 Downtown Destination committee, we are hoping to use creative placemaking as a way to develop downtown Austin.

Numerous plans and ideas are in the works that we hope will soon come to fruition. While I am at the conference learning more about how to use creative placemaking in our community, don’t miss out on seeing Jelloslave at the Historic Paramount Theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, July 19.

Tickets can be purchased online at

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