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When Mike Wirth moved from the West Village of New York to Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2005, he was looking for the arts. He found it in the NoDa area – a former mill village turned self-proclaimed Arts Distict that had been know for its gallery crawls, live music and cheap rent since the 1990s.
“I needed that quirky, mixed-use, rehab-type of neighborhood to feel like I belogned,” saide Wirth, who is an associate professor in the art, design and music department at Queens University in Charlotte.
Arts districts have traditionally brought life to areas that were previously near poverty lines, drawing creatives who were searching for cheap rent and a sense of community. As the artists create a vibe for an area, others are drawn to it and arts districts are increasingly being seen as amenities for other development.