Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Proposed Artist Relocation Program
Peoria, Illinois
10:00 am Wednesday 13 August 2008
Bradley University

Caterpillar Global Communications Center - 834 N. Duryea
Park across the street in the Visitor Center parking lot. When you come in the front door turn right. The video conference room, GCC 124, is the first door to the right.
Anyone interested in this issue is invited to attend.

1. Introductions

2. Conference call with Ben Peterson and Steve Irvine from the Paducah Planning Department about their successful program.

3. Discussion of next steps for the Peoria program

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Artist Relocation Programs

Sculpture Walk Program

Check out the Sculpture Walk Program in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Sculpture Walk is a great program of bringing outdoor sculptures that are displayed all year in their downtown. Artists put their sculptures in the program for one year, and all sculptures are presented to the public for sale. Artists can win awards.The Sculpture Walk Team are volunteers.

At the end of the year citizens vote for their favorite sculpture. The city buys and permanently mounts that sculpture. Then, the process starts over again.

It is a great way to promote art, and to bring people to the central city.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

ARTS Image Gallery

The Artist's Image Gallery showcases the work of Peoria area artists. The Bohemian Art Society is an independent arts group whose mission is to work as a team for the enhancement of the arts, the enrichment of its members, and the development of future artists.

Click on the links below:

Monday, July 14, 2008

There are a number of programs to help first time home buyers, including artists, afford homes in Peoria.

Local Banks have information on most of these programs. They are summarized on the page below:

For more information contact the Peoria Planning Department at:

456 Fulton Street, Suite 402
Peoria, Illinois 61602
309 494 8600

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Sculptures of Peoria

You can download a very nice brochure with photos
of the great sculpture of Peoria on the link below:

Friday, July 11, 2008

Photos of Peoria

Some Photographs of the City

Artists - Please send us links of photos or sketches

of your work that you want publicized

The Prairie Center of the Arts

The Prairie Center of the Arts is a great resource for artists who may be considering coming to Peoria. They are a member of the national Alliance of Artists Communities.

Move your Art Studio and Home to Peoria

“Just outside Chicago, there’s a place called Illinois.” The State of Illinois developed this catchy slogan for it’s tourism marketing program to encourage Chicago-area residents to visit the Illinois south and west of Chicago, instead of visiting Wisconsin and Michigan. The strategy aimed to keep tourism and the dollars it generates in Illinois. And of course the City of Peoria works hard to make sure that Peoria gets it share of tourism

The strategy need not stop at tourism, though. There are many good reasons why an artist might choose to locate her studio / home in Peoria.

Outside of the Chicago metropolitan area, the cost of home ownership and renting is much more affordable. The cost of doing business is also much less. Congestion, often cited as a quality-of-life issue, is virtually non-existent: “rush hour” in smaller communities is often the “rush minute”. Demographic trends indicate that the problem is only going to get worse in Northeast Illinois. Of Illinois’ population of 12 million people, 8 million citizens live in or around Chicago. By 2030, Illinois is projected to grow over 15%, but of the 2 million more people living here, most will be living in or near metro Chicago.

While growth is encouraging, it also comes with associated costs. Both Chicago and Illinois would be better off if some of the projected growth occurred in other Illinois communities. The addition of two million more people to the Chicago area will create more traffic congestion and air pollution. This will require increased capital expenditure at the federal, state and local levels as the transportation, protective and educational infrastructures swell to accommodate this growth. The increase in taxes need to manage this growth is rarely appreciated by citizens.Illinois communities outside of Chicagoland could accommodate and welcome this growth.

Many communities are at best experiencing moderate growth, while many more are losing population. These smaller communities often have housing stock, roads, schools, and other infrastructure that have capacity sufficient to the task.This potential is illustrated by comparing two large metropolitan areas in Illinois. The moderately-growing Peoria metropolitan area is the second largest metro area in Illinois. However, as the following table demonstrates, there are significant advantages to locating or relocating “downstate”:

Chicago / PeoriaMedian Home Price[1]$ 274,700 / $ 114,900

Average Commute Time (2000)[2]35 minutes / 20 minutes

“Cost of Doing Business” Rank[3]90th / 47th

Cost of Living Index Composite[4]103.9 / 96.9

Student-Teacher Ratio[5]16.40 / 14.40

Relocating Businesses and Employees to Peoria

More and more people are controlling their own job location. Artists are certainly part of this movement. The Internet permits more people to work remotely. Telecommuting allows mobile professionals to flee large, congested metro areas and work and live in a pleasant environment. Free lance writers, advertising executives, entrepreneurs, artists, computer experts and even salespeople are typical of employees who often have control of their work location.

Jack Manahan is a perfect example. Manahan left the Chicago suburbs for Peoria. As a home-based computer consultant to government, he simply drives 10 minutes to the airport when he needs to visit a client. "I saved half the cost of my auto insurance and got a much nicer home in Peoria when I left Chicago. And the rush hour is much less than in Chicago. Peoria is a pleasant place to live and work, without the hassle of a really big city. "Long gone is the requirement for manufacturers, agencies, sales forces and consulting companies to be located in a large metropolitan area. In fact, the cost of doing so might well outweigh the benefits. The same connectivity that permits telecommuting allows business leaders the flexibility to move their entire company to smaller, more attractive communities where both the quality of life and the cost of doing business are better. The marketplace is no longer local – it is global and requires little more than a strong technology and transportation infrastructure. This trend is accelerating and will likely continue to be popular, especially as congestion increases.

Our Riverfront neighborhoods provide great locations for artists live/work space. The homes are affordable, and several developers are working on developing artist space. The Warehouse District provides great opportunities for lofts. Renaissance Park is a great neighborhood suitable for artists.

The neighborhoods close to downtown are also close to our beautiful river and lake, and our downtown is filled with great sculpture. And the entire area is in the HUB zone, The HUB Zone provides that the Federal Government and many companies such as Caterpillar and John Deere will give preference to Hub Zone based companies, including artists.

More Info at

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Anyone have a spare $1,000,000 to build this fountain?

More info on:

Anyone have a better idea? Please send it. And a picture is worth a 1,000 words. Which by the way, it would be nice to have some illustrations / photos generated by local artists on this blog. You can join and post them yourself, or send them to me and I will post. Thanks.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Sculpture Center

I would appreciate everyones opinion on this, but I think that Peoria has far more outdoor sculpture than any other Illinois City other than Chicago. I am familiar with Joliet, Elgin, Aurora, Rockford, Waukegan, and Naperville. They are all larger then Peoria, but I think their outdoor sculpture is much more limited than ours.

Anyone out there know for sure?


Clarksville, Missouri

I found a couple of websites for you to check out. The interesting thing about Clarksville is that they are similar to Peoria in that they are:

1. A river town

2. Located on a National Scenic Byway

3. Considered a premiere spot for nature tourism

Below are the websites with some info:
Anaise Berry
Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Meeting Notes - Artist Relocation Program

Tuesday, July 8 at 10:00 am
Economic Development Council - 100 SW Water Street in Peoria

Anaise Berry
Suzette Boulais
Marc Burnett
Jacob Grant
Sally Hanley
Dr. Jeffrey Huberman
Craig Hullinger
Tory Jennetten
Doug Leunig
Jessica Moroz
Michele Richey
Chris Setti
Ryan Spain
Stephen Stone
Mitch Williams
The Committee discussed the potential Artist Relocation Program. All persons interested in promoting the arts are invited to participate in the effort to create an effective program. A number of individuals have proposed that we start a program similar to the successful program in Paducah, Kentucky. The program is summarized on their web page at:

The Paducah program was briefly discussed. The City will sponsor a drive down to look at Paducah in October, tentatively Wednesday, October 1, 2008.
Doug Leunig stated that he believes that the development of the downtown Riverfront Museum and Caterpillar Visitor Center is essential to attracting artists to relocate to Peoria. Without a concrete representation of our deep commitment to creative endeavors, any hype that promotes the artistic advantages of relocating in Peoria will be viewed suspiciously by outside artists as lacking substance.

Leunig stated that there are several differences between Paducah and Peoria. First of all Paducah was a blank slate with little or no existing artistic community. There were no signs of neglect or apathy toward an artistic community. If anything the opposite was true in their desire to build a place that favors artists they were welcoming creative types with open arms. Paducah committed to make their community an environment healthy for artists to choose to live in. They did this not because they wanted to fill empty house, but because they believed in the power of the arts to enhance their community. One of the symbols of their commitment was to build the Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center. The building serves a similar capacity as the Peoria Civic Center Theater but with an important twist. It was built with a mission to enrich and inspire the community. This statement taken from the Carson Center website speaks volumes about the intent and motivation of the people of Paducah. "By their nature, the arts embrace people of all income levels and cultural backgrounds; they eliminate traditional barriers and stimulate creative thinking that stimulates dialog and open communication, and accepts the notion that there are many ways to solve the same problems."

Leunig stated that there are many ways to solve Peoria's problems. We have begun the process by considering one solution that worked for one very different community from our own. He suggested that we use the talents of our citizens, starting with the concerned core of people that we are, to come up with solutions to fit Peoria's needs. We should begin with a list of objectives on which to focus. Are we selling real estate or are we enhancing our community? Do we want to educate our citizen's to the value of creativity or do we want new artists opening and filing new galleries? What do we want to do with existing Peoria artists to help them become more successful? What can local artists do to fill the void left by Sharon Reed's departure from District 150? Can we enrich the lives of our children without the passion that creativity instills? Leunig stated that he resolutely believes that we can and will find answers to the questions that need solutions. Everybody wants to live meaningful lives and this challenge offers us an opportunity to accomplish something greater than what we can as individuals.

The City has created a blog at summarizing some of the programs that help individuals purchase homes with assistance from government with downpayment and lower interest rates. Other programs of interest can be found at .
These programs are aimed at moderate income first home buyers, but would work well for artists just starting out. These programs could be shaped to appeal to artists. Other programs such as TIF and the Enterprise Zone could also help, although these are more appropriate for developers. City staff are working with developers who are interested in creating artist live / work space.

There are limited funds for developing an artist relocation program. The Economic Development Department of Peoria could provide $4,950 for the first year. We are looking for other sources in the community to provide additional funding. If anyone knows of anyone who might be interested with funding, please let them know. Economic Development does not have much time to put into this effort, so would likely use an Request for Proposal process to find an organization or individual who would create the program.

The Committee discussed areas where concentrations of artists were located. These include Water Street, the Prairie Center for the Arts, Peoria Heights, ICC, and Bradley University.The Committee noted that the community must support the arts for any program to be successful. The development of the downtown Museum and CAT visitor Center would be helpful.

The Committee discussed possible marketing and advertising efforts. The Committee also discussed the merits of meeting Mark Barone. Mark helped create the Paducah program, and is now a consultant working for communities who want to develop similar programs.

The Committee discussed what brings artists to Peoria. An attractive community with lower cost housing and interesting architectural character are some of the strengths. The ICC and Bradley University programs educate a large number of artists, few of whom stay in Peoria. They prefer larger cities with bigger art communities.San Antonio was discussed as a community that has created some good programs.

The next meeting is tentatively set for August 13, 2008 at 10:00 am at Bradley University. City Economic Development staff will try to line up Mark Barone or others familiar with the Paducah programs to discuss their efforts with the committee via video teleconference. Please invite anyone who would be interested and be of help in starting the program. For more information visit:

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Meeting Notice - Proposed Artist Relocation Program

Meeting Notice - Proposed Artist Relocation Program
Tuesday, July 8 at 10:00 am
Economic Development Council office located at 100 SW Water Street in Peoria

Persons interested in promoting the arts are invited to an open discussion on the subject of starting an artist relocation program in Peoria. A number of individuals have proposed that we start a program similar to the successful program in Paducah, Kentucky.

The city has a number of programs currently in operation that could help artists relocate to Peoria. There are programs that help with down payments and low interest loans for persons of moderate income. These programs could be shaped to appeal to artists. Other programs such as TIF and the Enterprise Zone could help.

There are limited funds for developing an artist relocation program. The Economic Development Department of Peoria could provide $4,950 for the first year. We are looking for other sources in the community to provide additional funding.
Please invite anyone who would be interested and be of help in starting the program.
For more information visit:


1. Introductions

2. Possible Funding Sources

3. Who manages the program - Request for Proposal

4. Other