If you ask Chester residents what they envision for a proposed Arts and Culture District in their downtown, they’ll be the first to tell you that it’s got to be “Chester made, through and through.”
Chester Made is an initiative to help recognize and promote arts and culture in the City of Chester and to harness its power as a force for community revitalization. The initiative is part of a collaborative effort to support the Historic Chester Arts and Culture District and the concept of a Chester Cultural Corridor (C3) along Avenue of the States between City Hall and Widener University. A key goal of Chester Made is to frame the story of Arts and CUlture and its place in the life of the city.
The Chester Made initiative is coordinated by the City of Chester, Widener University, Chester Arts Alive!, Gas & Electric Arts, The Artist Warehouse, and Pennsylvania Humanities Council. Major support for the initiative has been provided by the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, with additional support from PECO and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Community leaders, artists, city employees, historic preservationists, students, seniors, and business owners joined in to serve as advisors for the project.
In 2015, 8 story gathering were held throughout the Chester community. The sessions attracted over 350 residents, collecting over 140 stories and 120 surveys.
The stories gathered in Chester helped to create a CULTURAL ASSET MAP, marking places of significance across the city. This map is both a visual celebration of arts and culture and a strategic planning tool for the city to:
- Promote Chester’s cultural assets to residents and visitors
- Facilitate entrepreneurial investment in creative industries
- Inform decision making related to land use and design
- Facilitate partnerships with cultural groups
The RESULTS of the story gathering furthers the understanding of the power and value of the arts and culture in the laves of the people of Chester and gives voice to their aspirations for the future.
The process of cultural mapping is never done. There will –and should– always be new information and assets to add. Please contact us at [email protected] with your stories and photos.