Millville Development Corporation
22 N High Street
Millville, NJ 08332
ContactMs. Marianne K Lods
To support the development of arts/creative sector businesses, partnerships and advocacy and to leverage the impact of the new Millville Arts & Innovation Center.
"Advocate for the Arts as a means of community revitalization by advancing the Glasstown Arts District and center city neighborhood."
In 1999 consultant studies, artist surveys, focus groups and a public meeting determined the viability of an "arts district" to act as a catalyst for revitalization of a deteriorated downtown. The overwhelming affirmative responses led the Millville's planning director, elected officials and the MDC to begin the task. An arts district zoning overlay was legislated allowing business only on 1st floor of the main street, residential on upper floors and mixed used zoning on adjacent streets that encourages galleries, antique shops, B & B's, etc. in existing housing stock.
At the same time the city bought three buildings and refurbished them into one large community art center, Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Arts. Opening in April 2001 it quickly became the keystone of the Arts District and enabled the MDC to attract "pioneer artists" to open private galleries and studios.
The current executive director, Marianne Lods, was hired in 2000 as the arts district coordinator. An experienced entrepreneur and economic development executive, she found property investors, motivated building rehabilitation and manages daily operations.
Moving the MDC's office back into the Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Arts has been a winning situation for both organizations. Visibility for economic development, artists, and art-based programming is in a one-stop location. Sharing costs for utilities, supplies and electronic services benefit both organizations.
Separation as a city quasi-government organization has made our mission more understandable to the public. We are now "not viewed" as the city, but as a non-profit advocacy and development office.
Going forward with strong partnership colleagues and venturing into quality-of-life issues with art advocacy, programming, public art, art education for youth and more, will create an improved environment in all neighborhoods and sectors of Millville.