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Penn Avenue Arts Initiative

unblurredThe Penn Avenue Arts Initiative was created by FDA in 1998 in collaboration with the Bloomfield Garfield Corporation as a way to revitalize the Penn Avenue Corridor (4800-5500 Penn Avenue) through the arts. Four hundred artists representing the diverse economic, social, and cultural fabric of the surrounding neighborhoods were identified during the 1990s as a strong asset group for the area. High vacancy and abandonment rates were identified as opportunities in blighted 10-block Penn Avenue business corridor. Our “Light Bulb Moment” eleven years ago—Let’s use these assets/opportunities to revitalize our business district and build our neighborhoods! Thus, the PAAI was born. Part of a larger community development strategy that intertwines neighborhoods, residential, commercial and cultural projects, the PAAI is a joint-project between the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation (BGC) and Friendship Development Associates (FDA) Inc. In 2006, FDA was designated as a Main Street district. The “Main Street” Program is a countrywide, volunteer driven program created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation to restore cities to bustling and vigorous urban settings. The Main Street Program complements the revitalization efforts already taking place along the avenue through PAAI and together are developing Penn Avenue into a diverse cultural and social thriving arts and business destination.

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