acine, Wisconsin, is taking an overlooked but promising part of the city called Uptown and transforming it into the Uptown Racine Arts District.
The city is inviting professional artists to relocate to Uptown and help create the arts district. As an incentive, the city has developed a comprehensive Artists Relocation Program to help relocating artists affordably purchase and rehab historic property in Uptown.
The goal is to establish the Uptown Racine Arts District as a destination for collectors and art tourists. City officials believe an arts district in Uptown will both build on, and benefit from, Racine's international reputation as an arts and crafts community.
Uptown is a historic and architecturally significant neighborhood located in southeastern Racine. The neighborhood is a commercial gateway to downtown Racine, the shores of Lake Michigan, and several corporate headquarters.
For over a hundred years, Uptown prospered as a retail center as Racine grew into one of Wisconsin's largest and most vibrant cities.
But over the past 30 years as the economy changed and shopping patterns shifted, Uptown went down. Businesses moved out, and new ones rarely moved in to take their place.
Today, Uptown remains a major intersection in Racine with over 15,000 cars passing through each day. Many established businesses still proudly call Uptown their home.
But the neighborhood has seen better days. For every occupied building in Uptown, another one sits idle next door.
From a preservationist's point of view, Uptown is a gold mine. The benign neglect that the area received in the last 30 years means that the architectural uniqueness of many buildings remains intact.
The City of Racine and the business community have embraced Uptown's potential and recognize the role art can play in its renaissance.
After studying other emerging artists communities around the country, and consulting with the individuals responsible for bringing them to life, Racine's city officials developed a plan to bring the best of those ideas to Uptown.
The Uptown Racine Arts District and the Artists Relocation Program were created by action of the Racine City Council in 2007 to help qualifying artists purchase property and relocate to Uptown.
Funding and administrative support for the Uptown Racine Arts District was secured from the City of Racine, local businesses, Racine County, and the State of Wisconsin.
Federal funding was also secured. In January 2008, the city received a $196,000 grant for its Uptown revitalization efforts from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Read article
To provide guidance and advice as the arts district gets up and running, city officials created an Arts Advisory Board composed of representatives from the many arts organizations in Racine along with local architects and business people. Artists moving to the Uptown Arts District will also be invited to join the Arts Advisory Board.
Racine also created the Uptown Racine Artist in Residence Program to bring attention to the district within the art world.
To help the arts district get traction, in 2007 the city of Racine bought several neglected buildings in Uptown. Having completed basic rehab work to bring the buildings up to code, the city is selling the properties, at cost, to artists who qualify for the Artists Relocation Program.
The properties in Uptown are well-suited for artists. Many feature retail/work space on the first floor with one or more apartments/lofts on the second floor.
Several additional properties in Uptown are currently for sale, or soon will be, by private owners.
Click Here to View Properties Currently for Sale
For more information about the Uptown Racine Arts District, Contact Us.