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New Formula: Grassroots Art Philanthropy Booms

(Ellen Berkovich, Adobe Airstream) Long ago, “friend” was a noun and “city” was a location: Santa Fe, at the weary end of the Santa Fe Trail, from which dusty travelers launched the ambitious start of cultural tourism some 75 years ago.  (This story was commissioned by the Santa Fe Reporter where it appeared on October 19. Cover illustration by Katherine Lee.)

Then, last decade, new monikers began cropping up concerning cities. Who’s Your City?, a book written by socio-urbanist Richard Florida (of Toronto), unpacked his thesis of a “creative class” dominating global cities—workers in so-called creative professions, from art to film to physics, localizing effects of tolerance and self-expression to seed new-society economies. The thinking that places characterized by creativity and tolerance also have futurist economies isn’t new. Even a decade ago, this proposition felt palpable compared, say, to the plight of Rust Belt factory workers selling backyard “pets or meat” in Michael Moore movies.