Marc Folk, executive director of the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo, spoke on campus Monday on the relationship between arts and community as part of the Living Sociology Speaker Series. The 2009 recipient of the Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio, Folk contributed to the 2010-11 Belmont University theme of innovation and creativity in his talk “LiveWorkCreate,” a focused conversation of the role of public art in building community.
In six years Folk led the creation and growth of projects that have made the arts a far more visible and impactful component of Northwest Ohio life. Among these are Artomatic 419, a community-led arts event, and the Toledo Art Loop and Toledo Jazz Loop, both regular arts events that open and connect art galleries, studios and performance spaces to artists and the general public. Folk also helped develop LiveWorkCreate Toledo, which identified an “Artzone” in Toledo’s downtown to attract artists to live and work there and assist in downtown revitalization. One building in the Artzone had sat empty for more than four years, but was leased at 100 percent capacity within four months of hosting an Artomatic 419 event. “Through these efforts,” Folk said, “we built a case for art and artists as agents of economic development.”
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