The Benton Harbor Arts District has built a reputation as a vibrant artistic community rich with creativity. Located near the Harbor Shores neighborhood, the Arts District boasts unique restaurants, one-of-a-kind shops and a variety of galleries.
But it wasn’t always that way.
A key component in the revitalization of Benton Harbor, the Arts District has been nearly 20 years in the making. In 1998, when what is now the New Territory Arts Association (NTAA) was founded, the neighborhood had zero residents and consisted of dilapidated, vacant buildings.
However, all of that changed when artists moved into town.
It was all part of the Cornerstone Alliance’s “Community Renewal Through the Arts,” a program that recruited artists to come to the community.
“Artists have the ability to establish themselves and develop a nucleus of followers,” says Ken Ankli, president of the NTAA Board. “As that circle widens, people find themselves at galleries … and it leads to other people investing in businesses.”
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