Arts and cultural organizations can be significant economic drivers in Trenton; nonprofit arts expenditures per capita in 2010 were higher in Mercer County than several nearby counties according to the National Endowment for the Arts. Trenton has multiple arts and culture-related institutions that organize well-attended events. Furthermore, the city has an incredible wealth of historical heritage attractions.
With the proper arts and culture infrastructure in place, Trenton can capture entertainment, retail, and dining revenue from residents and visitors that would otherwise be spent outside the city, generate grant funding, and use evening and weekend events to bring vibrancy to the City.
Trenton has multiple arts and culture-related institutions that organize well-attended events. Furthermore, the city has an incredible wealth of historical attractions. In promoting these assets, the City and its partners should emphasize all aspects of Trenton’s history, including its Revolutionary War history, black history, immigrant and ethnic history, and industrial history, among others.
To make Trenton a premier destination for historical tourism and those seeking unique arts and culture amenities, the City should enhance coordination between all of its arts and culture organizations. This is best achieved through the establishment of an Arts and Culture Council that can, among other efforts, establish a collaborative marketing campaign for the arts. In the medium term, this will require coordination with the proposed Convention and Visitors’ Bureau (CVB) or whatever entity arises to drive marketing for the city.
Assets must also be connected physically to encourage increased visitation (see Physically Connect Arts and Culture Assets Initiative
). At the same time, the City should strive toward developing new assets to help further make Trenton a destination for history, art, and culture.
Since arts and culture could be a significant economic driver for downtown and a focus of one of the Guiding Principles, the City should evaluate the feasibility of expanding staff capacities to assist the arts and culture community with making Trenton a destination for history, art, and culture as well as dedicating funding to support tourism. Dedicating City staff to this effort will not only speed up the process and improve coordination but will also demonstrate to stakeholders that the City is committed to making Trenton a destination for arts and culture.
From a regulatory perspective, the City must work to align its housing and economic development policies with its regulations. Among other efforts, this will require zoning for affordable live-work and/or studio space and update applicable redevelopment plans.