The Business Alliance of Kingston (BAK) hosted a yummy breakfast at PAKT Restaurant on September 21 to introduce Midtown businesses to the growing Midtown Arts District. “BAK is committed to strategies to improve business and accelerate revitalization, and we are delighted to partner with MAD, as the district is calling itself,” said BAK leader Pat Courtney Strong. “Arts and cultural districts have been proven to increase foot traffic, business volume and property values in communities across the U.S. and the BAK/MAD partnership wants to replicate that success here,” Courtney Strong concluded.
Mayor Noble welcomed the group, noting the vibrancy that arts-based businesses have created for Midtown over the past decade. District co-founder Anne Bailey of Bailey Pottery, a national supplier of ceramics equipment and supplies, recounted MAD’s birth from four arts-manufacturing businesses on Ten Broeck Avenue that today employ more than 60 people.
Urban designer and MAD chair Ray Curran updated the group about the City’s creation of a public space being called Broadway Commons. Development consultant Kitty McCullough explored characteristics and successes of arts districts across the country and Jennifer Schwartz Berky, principal of urban planning firm Hone Strategic, recounted the grants and tools MAD is using to enhance business and community development in Midtown.
“MAD currently boasts nearly 40 buildings devoted to creative industries,” noted Curran. “Today, nearly 200 arts & crafts workrooms, manufacturing sites, showrooms, studios, galleries, video and recording facilities, and performance spaces provide more than 300 jobs and arts livelihoods in Midtown,” Curran said.