SmART Initiative: Creative Corridors Coalition
Photo courtesy Winston-Salem Convention
and Visitors Bureau
The Creative Corridors Coalition (CCC) is pursuing an ambitious initiative engaging citizens, designers and artists to influence the N.C. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) planned major roadway infrastructure projects in downtown Winston-Salem, most prominent of which will be the replacement of eleven overpass bridges along Business 40 through the heart of the city.
A 2010 NEA Mayor’s Institute on City Design (MICD) grant of $200,000 supported a design team comprised of Asheville’s Design Workshop, Greensboro landscape architect and North Carolina A&T State University professor Perry Howard, and artist Larry Kirkland, who in Fall 2011 drafted an extensive Visionary Master Plan and Design Guidelines for submission to NCDOT and the Winston-Salem City Council. While this project is still in its early planning and conceptual design stages, its potential capacity to transform Winston-Salem’s roadways and urban landscape through intelligent, sustainable design and an arts-oriented approach is most promising.
Ultimately, a federal/state/local collaboration, the CCC is made up of prominent partnerships among numerous local business, governmental, community, and arts and design organizations and stakeholders, notably the City of Winston-Salem and the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. Community engagement efforts have been serious, sustained and effective in soliciting the opinions, ideas and concerns of residents. The project aims to develop a coherent visual and design brand and identity for the city by referencing local history, heritage and cultural traditions.
The CCC effort may be one of the first flagship projects of its vast scale to test the efficacy of DOT’s recently adopted Public Art on the Right-of-Way Policy to integrate public art into highway infrastructure projects. If DOT and the Winston-Salem City Council approve the Plan, this remarkable project can proceed as a model of multilateral collaboration, benefiting transportation systems as well as the city’s cultural vitality and creative economy.