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National Endowment for the Arts awards rare grant to UT Arlington urban studies researcher

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

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Media Contact: Bridget Lewis

A University of Texas at Arlington urban planner has become the only urbanist in the country to win a research grant this year from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Carl Grodach

Carl Grodach, an associate professor in the School of Urban and Public Affairs, will examine 30 U.S. cities, ranging from large urban centers to middle and smaller-sized cities, and their correlation to the arts.

“The social and economic impacts of artistic concentrations are well-known. This includes everything from the formation of new businesses to a cleaner and safer environment,” Grodach said. “In many instances, though, the arts are also associated with gentrification so we also want to understand the tipping point at which artistic concentrations go from contributing positive neighborhood change to engendering displacement.”

The project is in the beginning phase and Grodach must still identify the cities for his study.

He noted, however, the well-known impact of the arts in several locations, including New York, an arts hub and financial center, and Austin, an emerging arts center with an established music scene and strong tech economy.

“There is virtually no literature that comparatively analyzes artistic location patterns across a range of different places and time periods, yet this knowledge is essential to fostering a deeper understanding of where artists choose to live and work, and ultimately, to identify where and under what conditions they make the greatest social and economic impact,” Grodach said. “This research will enable policymakers to provide more informed and targeted means of supporting the arts.”

Barbara Becker, dean of the School of Urban and Public Affairs, said she is thrilled that Grodach’s research and expertise has been rewarded through this unique grant.

“Dr. Grodach is recognized among his colleagues and peers as being an expert on the impact of the creative class in economic development and this grant will allow him to extend that research in very meaningful ways for our communities,” Becker said.

Grodach’s $25,000 award will fund work from July through April 30, 2013. 

Grodach’s team will rely on U.S. Census and Bureau of Labor statistics to identify and analyze patterns of activity for artists and artists’ businesses. At the conclusion of each project, the researchers will submit a report of their findings, methods and data sources for posting on the NEA’s website,

“I’m excited that the NEA is investing in research on the arts and urban development,” Grodach said. “I was quite surprised when I learned that this is the first time the agency has provided research grants.”

Grodach has researched the arts and cultural economy for the past 12 years. Most recently, he published work on the neighborhood level impacts of museums and community art spaces and on the processes and politics surrounding the formation of cultural policy and planning. He co-edited the book, “Politics of Urban Cultural Policy: Global Perspectives” due out in October from Routledge.

Grodach’s work is reflective of the excellence transforming The University of Texas at Arlington, a comprehensive research institution of nearly 33,500 students in the heart of North Texas. Visit to learn more.


The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.