ESLARP East St. Louis Action Research Project
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Olivette Park Action Revitalization Plan

Cultural Resources


The Olivette Park neighborhood has survived as a rich and diverse religious, social, educational, and historical setting for nearly 100 years. Residents realize that the wealth of historical assets and cultural resources in the neighborhood can be used as an important community revitalization tool. The neighborhood's major cultural attractions include: the Katherine Dunham Dynamic Museum and Children's Workshop, the GEMM Centre, the East St. Louis Public Library, the East St. Louis Boys' Club, the historic and restored homes on Washington Place, the Family Center, the Christian Activity Center, Hughes Quinn Junior High, Miles Davis Elementary School, A.M. Jackson Elementary School, and 19 churches. Figure 1.1 illustrates the type and number of most of the neighborhood's cultural resources. These resources are geographically dispersed throughout the neighborhood and are easily accessible to people who live outside of Olivette Park.

The overall goal of the cultural resources initiative is to stabilize and use the neighborhood's considerable existing cultural resources and historic assets to promote the revitalization of the physical environment and to strengthen the social fabric of the community. The Olivette Park neighborhood chose to focus on four main cultural resource improvement initiatives over the next five years to achieve its overall goal. The Katherine Dunham Centers for the Arts and Humanities (KDCAH) is considered the lead agency for the cultural resource improvement initiatives. The KDCAH is the St. Louis Metropolitan region's only multi-disciplinary arts organizations devoted to the study, appreciation and celebration of diverse cultures. The fiscal and structural crisis currently plaguing the Dunham Centers requires immediate attention to ensure its future viability and to preserve it as a leading cultural resource in the city and the region. The Olivette Park neighborhood recognizes the importance of investing a great deal of energy and resources into sustaining and enhancing the Dunham Centers. The effort required to preserve such an important cultural resource will undoubtedly extend itself to incorporate the multitude of other cultural resources in Olivette Park. The cultural resource initiative is comprised of four programs:

· KDCAH Stabilization Plan

· Annual Cultural Arts Festival

· School in the Community/Community in the Schools Curriculum

· Capital Facilities Stabilization and Improvement Plan

Initiative One:

The Katherine Dunham Centers for Arts and Humanities Stabilization Plan


If the KDCAH is to truly function as the lead agency for the cultural resource improvement initiative, the neighborhood must concentrate on making its own contribution to the larger effort to stabilize and revitalize the Katherine Dunham Centers for the Arts and Humanities. Currently, a Katherine Dunham Emergency Assistance Committee formed to assist Ms. Dunham in resolving the KDCAH's immediate and long-term financial problems. The five members of this committee have created a current list of the KDCAH's outstanding debts, spoken to each creditor regarding current financial problems and a schedule of payments, secured $42,000 in grant money from various sources to cover current operating expenses, and established a cultural diversity and global awareness program for local residents. Despite these important accomplishments, the KDCAH still needs the neighborhood to contribute to the ongoing stabilization and revitalization efforts. Specifically, the neighborhood could become involved in the KDCAH revitalization plan by implementing three programs. The neighborhood could support the efforts of the Dunham Centers by:

· Developing a volunteer tour corps for the Katherine Dunham Dynamic Museum

· Organizing an annual fund raiser for the museum

· Coordinating a fall and spring museum cleaning


The Katherine Dunham Centers for the Arts and Humanities once functioned as the foremost cultural arts establishment in the city and in the region. Returning the KDCAH to this former status requires serious commitment by Federal, state and local government, other cultural resource organizations, and the residents of East St. Louis. Ms. Dunham's artistic, scholarly, and civil rights activities have inspired many children and adults and taught many people valuable lessons about life. The Olivette Park community and the city of East St. Louis must make a commitment to ensure that the work and teachings of Ms. Dunham are preserved for future East St. Louis generations.


1. Establish a Volunteer Tour Corps for the Katherine Dunham Dynamic Museum

A. Tour guides will receive in-depth cultural training from the staff of the Dunham Dynamic Museum, and will help the museum develop programming and special projects.

B. Recruitment efforts should include word of mouth, a press release in the East St. Louis Monitor, fliers posted throughout the city, radio and television press releases, announcements to all the cultural arts organizations, universities in the region, and to all neighborhood associations in East St. Louis. All of the churches in the city should be asked to make pulpit announcements at weekly services. The neighborhood association may also chose to focus on recruiting a team of retired senior citizens as the core group of volunteers.

C. A corps of 20 volunteers should be established. The Dunham staff should determine the hours of operation of the museum and the volunteers should be assigned in teams of three per shift. A member of the neighborhood association should be responsible for scheduling the volunteers and managing the tour guide program given the current lack of official staff at the museum.

D. Volunteers will be asked to attend a two-day intensive instructional seminar which begins the training process for this interesting and rewarding volunteer experience. The docent training seminar will include an introduction to the museum and talks by experts on some of the regular museum exhibits and any special exhibits or performances by the Children's Workshop. Then, experienced guides will work with each trainee on the skills and duties of a tour guide. Time should be allotted in the seminar for discussion, questions and sharing of experiences.

E. Upon completion of this seminar, volunteers will be asked to attend monthly meetings and to participate in further training programs. A museum tour guide must be able to lead tours on all of the topics covered in the museum exhibit area, although each may specialize in one or two topics of greatest interest.

F. Beyond the pleasure of giving something back to the community and enjoying the fellowship of people, other tangible benefits could be created for volunteers, such as field trips and an annual Volunteer Recognition Dinner.

2. Organize an Annual Fund-raiser for the Katherine Dunham Dynamic Museum.

The Olivette Park Neighborhood Association has discussed the importance of sound financial planning within its own organization. The OPNA has followed up on that discussion by beginning the process of filing an application and the Articles of Incorporation for recognition by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization and has formed a fundraising committee. With those mechanisms in place, the neighborhood organization is situated to organize a successful annual fundraising campaign or special event. The Dunham Dynamic Museum should be a part of the OPNA's overall fundraising strategy. An annual fund-raiser for the museum could focus on raising the necessary funds for the museum to participate in the annual neighborhood cultural arts festival. The neighborhood could also raise funds to sponsor a new exhibit at the museum. Local businesses could be targeted for such sponsorship. Those businesses that chose to make a donation to sponsor an exhibit or performance would get public recognition and free advertising in return. The fundraising committee should also consider developing a fundraising strategy for the museum that incorporates both individual and corporate giving opportunities and recommendations. Such a strategy might look like the following:

A. Individual Sponsorship Opportunities

The Dunham Emergency Assistance Team conducted a fundraising letter campaign in the Spring of 1996. The Team sent out over a 1,000 letters signed by Debbie Allen and Danny Glover to past Museum guests, workshop participants and friends of Ms. Dunham. The Olivette Park Neighborhood Association could conduct a similar annual membership drive for the museum. Letters could be sent inviting any one who has either visited the museum, attended a workshop or conference or belongs to a dance or arts organization with ties to the Dunham Centers to become a member. The list that the Dunham Emergency Assistance Team compiled could be used and updated each year. General memberships could be available in the following sample categories:

Individual $25 (one person only)

Family $30 (spouse and children under age 18)

Grandparents $30 (spouse and grandchildren under age 18)

Participating $50

Supporting $100

Sustaining $500

Benefactor $1,000 (invitation to benefactors' luncheon with Museum

director or Ms. Dunham)

Gift memberships could also be available and would make a wonderful holiday,

birthday, or special occasion gift.

B. Business Sponsorship Opportunities

The neighborhood association could make an annual appeal to local and regional business leaders for their support of a specific capital improvement project, scholarship program, or exhibit. Businesses may wish to sponsor a particular exhibit for the year. Sponsorship is variable depending upon the exhibit. Additionally, special events and cultural arts festivals held throughout the summer and fall months could be sponsored by corporations. Those businesses could receive recognition advertising for the event and have a booth at the event. Some businesses may wish to sponsor a museum publication. Such a publication could be sent to all past museum visitors, workshop and conference attendees, and potential corporate sponsors. Sponsorship could be priced at $1,000 and include a half-page ad in that issue. The publication could be written and published by the museum volunteers.

Corporate sponsorship could also have a direct effect on the education of East St. Louis school students. Thousands of students from pre-school through college level could then visit and participate in the museum each year. Sponsorship could be set at $2,500 per year for an educational outreach program that could also be a part of the curriculum component of this improvement initiative.

C. Other Gift Opportunities for Individuals or Companies

Throughout the year, the neighborhood association could solicit donations of all types for a fall fundraising auction. From a second vehicle that is no longer used to a piano no longer played, all items of value would be appreciated. Any items, certificates, and services could be donated for this event in support of the Museum's programs and services. The neighborhood organization would be responsible for organizing and conducting the auction each year.

In addition, the Museum should be considered a home for the community's artwork, memorabilia, or library materials. Offers of donations should be reviewed by the Museum's staff. There are also numerous opportunities for individuals or businesses to sponsor the acquisition of instruments, artwork, and collections-related items.

3. Coordinate a Fall and Spring Museum Cleaning Event

This activity has already been implemented in the spring of 1996 through the organization of the Cultural Resources Committee led by Ms. Minola Brown and with some help from students at the University of Illinois. A cleaning and spruce-up event of the interior and exterior of the museum is an easy activity to organize and complete with less than 10 volunteers. When planning such an activity, it is important for the committee to meet with Ms. Jeanelle Stovall, the current executive assistant to Ms. Dunham, regarding the type of clean-up activities that the museum requires each season. The committee should then purchase the supplies necessary to complete each task. The committee should also recruit a group of no more than 10 people to clean the interior of the museum and an additional crew of 8-10 people for exterior improvements.

A. A basic work plan for an interior cleaning of the Dunham Dynamic Museum and the Children's Workshop includes the following elements:

1. Wash all windows

2. Dust all collectibles

3. Oil all woodwork

4. Wash all floors

5. Wax all floors

6. Clean Kitchen

7. Clean all bathrooms

B. The exterior clean-up or spruce-up activities require a similar approach. The Cultural Resources Committee and the Environmental Improvement Committee should coordinate efforts to complete these improvements. The committees should join forces to develop preliminary plans for exterior improvements and for the clean up. The clean up should at least take into consideration the following tasks:

1. Identify shrubs to be purchased

2. Identify areas in need of mowing

3. Identify area to plant flowers and shrubs

4. Small exterior surface and fence painting

5. Edge all lawns

6. Sweep all sidewalks/pick up any stray garbage

7. Trim all shrubs

8. Roto till all planting beds

9. Install spring flowers

10. Mulch all planting beds

11. Mow the lawn

12. Sweep all walkways

Initiative Two:

Establish an Annual Cultural Arts Festival


The overall goal for hosting an annual cultural arts festival would be to celebrate the artistic accomplishments and cultural contributions of past and previous East St. Louis residents. The key to a cultural arts festival in Olivette Park is people involvement. To achieve such a goal, the neighborhood would have to join forces with leaders of the East St. Louis Chamber of Commerce, East St. Louis Community Action Network, School District 189, East St. Louis Ministerial Alliance, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville, and State Community College. A coalition of those forces could develop over the course of the next 3 years, beginning with a single day festival and building up to a cultural arts week, a wonderful celebration of East St. Louis' rich tradition of fine, dramatic, and performing arts.


A festival shares and celebrates the unique location, history, skills, talents, and facilities of Olivette Park with others. For people involved in the planning and implementation of a festival there are opportunities for social interaction, new experiences, recognition and service. These experiences also provide excellent opportunities to cultivate new leadership in the community. The festival will provide opportunities to widely publicize the event and Olivette Park simultaneously. It will unite church, social, civic, commercial, and municipal groups working toward a common goal. It may also attract additional funding for worthy community projects or organizations. Moreover, the potential for corporate sponsorship of such an event is high.


The specific activities listed below target the activities that will need to be completed to successfully produce a one-day cultural arts festival in year one of the implementation plan. However, these activities will be equally important when building the cultural arts festival program in years two and three. Please see the timeline section for the specific types of activities that each year will require of the festival planning committee.

1. Establish a cultural arts festival planning committee the first year.

This committee should consist of members of the OPNA cultural resources committee, a representative from each of the leading cultural institutions in the neighborhood, and a representative from any other neighborhood organization within the city that wants to participate. This pattern of representation is modeled after the structure used to plan the Dunham Dynamic Museum Open House in April of 1996. The planning committee for that event worked well together and organized a successful community-wide open house that showcased the museum's collection and programs.

2. Plan the event.

The first part of this section describes some important general considerations that the planning committee ought to consider. The second part of the planning strategy is a detailed work plan outline for the committee to follow or adapt as they see fit.

A. Establish a Purpose

A list of objectives and goals should be written by the planning committee. The list of objectives should outline what is going to be done, who is going to do it, who will benefit, and what specific results are desired. Writing a list of objectives will aid the committee in remaining focused on the project's overall goal. The list of objectives will also be an effective evaluation tool for measuring the success of the cultural arts festival.

Example Objectives:

1. To interpret the unique history of the community through performance, displays of craftsmanship, and encourage an open and free exchange of ideas for the future of Olivette Park.

2. To use the full resources of local government, civic and church groups for voluntary help, facilities and financial backing.

3. To provide fun and entertainment for children and adults of all ages.

4. To attract at least ______ visitors to Olivette Park.

5. To raise at least $___________ net profit for ---- name a specific project.

B. List all event possibilities.

These possibilities include, but are not limited to: a community art fair, a performance by the Dunham Dancers, a Dunham Dynamic Museum open house, Children's Workshop performances, a community garden show at the East St. Louis Farmers Market, a historical home tour, poetry readings, dramatic performances, a community sing, and a community picnic. Please see the timeline section for additional ideas concerning event possibilities and themes.

C. Set the schedule of events.

This component of the project requires strong community leadership and direction. A schedule has to be set, clearly organized, and distributed to all participants at least three months prior to the date of the event. A meeting should be held to ensure that all participants understand their roles and responsibilities and to make sure all material and human resources are in hand.

D. Give the festival a name and decide on a theme.

The name should give some idea of the activities to be enjoyed and invite interest and question about the details. The festival could celebrate an Afro-centric theme. The planning committee should also consider having the festival revolve around the birthdays of some East St. Louis notables, like Miles Davis or Katherine Dunham. The festival could also mark the beginning or the end of the Kwanza celebration for the region.

E. Develop a plan to publicize the event.

All available media outlets should be notified prior to the festival. A press packet should be assembled with all the important information about the festival. A media contact list and examples of press releases are included in the appendix of this plan. The planning committee is fortunate that several media outlets are located in Olivette Park, including the East St. Louis Monitor and the Channel 13 local cable station that produces the East St. Louis Daily News at the GEMM Media Centre. In addition, several members of the OPNA have experience door knocking in the neighborhood to generate interest and participation in events like the Neighborhood Summit. The media should be updated regularly until the day of the festival. A few spokespersons should be prepared before the big event and reporters should be directed to those leaders as contact persons. Fliers should be made and distributed by mail, by going door to door, and through churches.

F. Develop a fund raising strategy.

This is a crucial element for the success of a cultural arts festival. The funding section goes into further detail about several fund raising strategies. The potential for corporate sponsorship of a cultural festival is one avenue that must be explored. The fundraising activity that is discussed as part of the Dunham Dynamic Museum improvement initiative may also be tied to raising funds for the festival.

G. Enlist volunteers to help with logistics.

Volunteers will be needed to construct booths and stages, decorate, set up chairs or bleachers, sell concessions, make food and serve it, and a variety of other tasks. Volunteers should be made to feel that their job is necessary, that they are the best person for it, and that it will have rewards and pleasant memories. Personal phone calls and visits may be the best recruitment tool. Announcements at local clubs, discussions with elected officials and appeals at public meetings are other recruitment tools

The health, safety and comfort of those attending the festival need to be considered. To ensure the fewest problems in this area, estimates of the anticipated audience should be high and a pessimistic attitude should be taken concerning weather. In planning for the safety and comfort of those attending the event, obtain as much professional help as possible. Police, fire, ambulance, and hospital personnel should be notified of the event and recruited to provide services if needed at the festival. The city may require certain permits that ensure that these safety precautions are taken. If the city does not require such measures, the planning committee should still arrange for such services.

H. Work Plan Outline

This outline is organized so that the planning committee can form smaller working groups of two or three people to assure responsibility for special functions. An overall festival chairperson should be appointed or elected to coordinate all the planning, run meetings and be an available contact person for the media and any one interested in becoming involved in the festival. The main working groups would focus on the following areas: publicity and outreach, program development, fund raising, logistics, facilities and set-up/clean-up. These groups may also incorporate the responsibilities of planning and providing food, security, decorations, and other functions. Communication is important to the overall success of the festival. All members of the committee should be kept regularly updated about other groups activities and should have a voice in the overall planning decisions.

Date Assigned:                    Task:                     Assigned To:  Date Completed:  
                Hold first organizational meeting                                          
                · Discuss festival objectives                                              
                · Generate list of activities                                              
                · Vote on type of activities                                               
                · Discuss financial resources · Prepare                                    
                fund raising proposal                                                      
                · Elect festival chairperson                                               
                · Determine tentative date(s)                                              
                Clear dates with all involved parties,                                     
                including city authorities.                                                
                Check into any permit requirements                                         
                Contact potential participants                                             
                Second meeting of  the  planning committee                                 
                · Prepare preliminary schedule  ·                                          
                Assignment reports                                                         
                · Agree on objectives                                                      
                · Discuss name of event                                                    
                · Discuss location and facilities needed                                   
                · Review tentative schedule                                                
                · Mail fund raising proposal to potential                                  
                · Begin preparation of press materials                                     
                Recruit volunteers                                                         
                Follow-up calls to potential funders                                       
                Visit site and facilities for festival,                                    
                assess conditions, determine additional                                    
                resources needed.                                                          
                Prepare tentative budget                                                   
                Plan  promotional campaign                                                 
                Plan food and refreshments                                                 
                Plan for parking and safety or security                                    
                Plan for clean-up                                                          
                Prepare publicity materials                                                
                 Third Committee Meeting                                                   
                · Assignment reports                                                       
                · Approve press materials.                                                 
                · Prepare purchase lists, cost estimates                                   
                and prospective merchants and review                                       
                · Review publicity materials                                               
                · Set festival schedule · Fund raising                                     
                 Meet with potential funders                                               
                Send press releases to all news media                                      
                Speak at church and civic group meetings                                   
                Meet with invited participants                                             
                Finalize publicity materials                                               
                Order materials                                                            
                Fourth Committee Meeting                                                   
                · Assignment Reports                                                       
                · Confirm participant and volunteer list                                   
                · Confirm physical arrangements                                            
                · Distribute promotional material and                                      
                send out final press packets                                               
                Fifth Committee Meeting                                                    
                · Train volunteer staff                                                    
                · Set up and Dress-rehearsal/dry-run                                       
                Stage the Festival                                                         
                Clean up                                                                   
                Send thank you letters                                                     
                Evaluation meeting                                                         
                · survey                                                                   
                · financial report                                                         
                · tentative date for next year                                             


The activities listed in the previous section pertain to planning and holding a one-day cultural arts festival. The cultural arts festival initiative was designed so that the program could expand on an annual basis. The first year the event would only last one day, in year two the neighborhood would host the festival for a weekend, and in the third year the festival would run for a week. The week-long festival would require that the neighborhood association expand the festival planning committee to include city-wide participation. Some ideas for the type of events that could be planned for those varying durations include:

One Day Festival                Weekend Festival                Week-long Festival              
Sacred Music at select          Activities from One Day         Activities from One Day         
churches                        Festival, plus                  Festival and Weekend            
                                                                Festival, plus                  
House tours on Washington       Family, School and              Youth Olympics                  
Place                           Neighborhood Reunions                                           
Art Show at the Farmers         Youth Performing Arts Show      Talent Night at the Aenied      
Market                                                          Temple                          
                                Cahokia Historical Sites        Regional Museum                 
                                                                Events-including St. Clair,     
                                                                St. Louis, Missouri             
                                                                Historical Society, Botanic     

The implementation timeline for the three festivals is illustrated below. The one day festival contains the additional task of inventorying cultural resources for determining the type of resources that the community has to offer. This task and information is also important to the capital assessment of existing cultural facilities and feasibility study of a new cultural arts facility component of the cultural resources initiative. It is imperative that different program components share in completing such tasks to ensure that programs are implemented efficiently and cost-effectively.


No matter what type of event is chosen, the festival planners will have to secure at least $2,5000 to cover initial expenses. Promotional efforts, rentals, purchase of supplies, contract agreements, and miscellaneous supplies will quickly add up. For example, the one-day open house held at the Dunham Dynamic Museum in April of 1996 costs at least $500, not counting all of the volunteer labor and hours put into the preparations.


Fortunately, the community nature of the festival may make the task of securing funds, equipment and other donations easier than it would be if the festival was very narrowly focused. It is likely that community business people, club leaders, government officials and other citizens expect to be asked to contribute either funds or services through direct donation of supplies, equipment or through discount prices of items needed for the festival.

If direct appeals do not secure adequate funding for the festival, the festival planning team must employ a number of other techniques for securing money. A community-wide cultural arts festival has the potential to attract corporate funding. The festival committee needs to investigate potential corporate sponsorship in conjunction with the neighborhood association fund raising committee.

At most universities and libraries a copy of the Foundation Index can be found. This guide to grants from foundations covers all grants of $5,000 or more given to citizen groups in a calendar year. Grants for special projects are categorized to make the information easy to extract. The festival planning committee should investigate possible grants well in advance of the event and seek assistance in writing a funding proposal.


1. Ms. Donna Mann at Cooperative Extension was recommended as an expert in festival planning. She works for Cooperative Extension and can be reached at 815. 233.3214.

2. Established in 1970 by renowned alto saxophonist and educator Jackie McLean, the Artists Collective provides jazz greats, new emerging musicians, nationally recognized dance and theater companies, and gospel artists, as well as visual artists and lectures by highly acclaimed historians comprise their special events programs. These programs and performances also afford the entire Hartford region the opportunity to learn about and enjoy the arts and cultural traditions of African Americans.

The Artists Collective Inc.

35 Clark Street

Hartford, CT 06120


3. The National Park Service publishes a Cultural Resource Training Directory bi- annually. The Department of Cultural Resource Stewardship and Partnerships compiles the directory of training opportunities in cultural resource management. The directory identifies workshops, courses, seminars, and other short classes in cultural resource management topics. The directory can be obtained by writing to the:

National Park Service

Cultural Resources

P.O. Box 37127

Washington, DC 20013-7127


fax 202.343.5260

4. Also contact the Illinois Department of Tourism office for additional resources.

Initiative Three:

Schools in the Community/Community in the Schools Curriculum


The development of human resources through training individuals in skills and knowledge needed to sustain a productive society, and developing the capacity to realize one's potential is the purpose of education. This program is aimed at fulfilling that purpose through activities that stretch beyond the classroom walls and into the community. The curriculum changes proposed in this initiative are meant to produce a reciprocal exchange between students and the neighborhood.

Olivette Park provides a perfect environment for establishing such a program given the wealth of cultural and educational resources located within the neighborhood. It is important to view those resources located in Olivette Park as community centers, not just isolated places where only a select group visits. Ideally, the cultural institutions and schools would combine their resources to provide an excellent learning environment for children. The possible means for such a merger would require a new curriculum focus. The proposed curriculum would require that the schools connect with a wide-range of cultural and community institutions. For example, the schools could forge partnerships with the Katherine Dunham Centers for the Arts and Humanities for dance instruction; history could be taught through programs at Cahokia Mounds; science and nature programs could be offered through the Bolden Community Garden and the St. Louis Science museum; and, finally, communication and computer classes could be offered either through the SIUE Internet site or the GEMM Media Centre or both. Other specific programs that could be combined with a community and school linked curriculum are discussed in chapter 9.


In a time of budget constraints and criticism of the effectiveness of local schools, a new curriculum may seem like an overwhelming and risky change. However, increasing evidence shows that a community and school linked curriculum is not only beneficial to the community, but its introduction into a school's curriculum can cause marked improvement in math, reading, science, and other subjects that educators pronounce "essential". In addition, a community school linked curriculum is important because learning and community service is a means for educating students for responsible citizenship. The aim of this program is to help make youth positive agents of change in their community.


1. Organize a curriculum board.

The board will oversee the design and implementation of the program. Good organization and effective management is crucial to any successful program. The board should consist of a representative from each of the cultural institutions in Olivette Park, principals, teachers, parents, and a students. As a new idea, a new curriculum proposal will require extensive preparation before the committee presents its ideas to the school board. A graduate student in education should be sought to staff the curriculum board and oversee the implementation of the program.

2. Inventory existing school and community partnerships.

Initially, the committee should inventory whatever community and school partnerships already exist at Hughes Quinn Junior High. Those activities may set the precedent and may become the framework for the development of the program.

3. Encourage teacher involvement.

The board should bring together a small group of teachers who have expressed an interest in the proposed type of community-based curriculum. The initial meetings might take place every month or bi-monthly and will encourage dialogue among staff members with experience to share. Including the teachers early in the process will also help build consensus for the program as the details are worked out with the teachers input. The committee may want to send out a survey to all teachers in the district that measures their interests and knowledge of a community-based curriculum. Ask all respondents to participate in the planning process.

4. Encourage student involvement.

Develop an opportunity for students to get involved. They may wish to become part of the learning circles or form an advisory board of their own. Either way, the real benefit is when they begin working with staff to develop projects around their own interests.

5. Join a broad education network.

The board should join forces with a broader education network, including the Illinois Office of Education, Illinois Arts Council, teachers from other districts, and schools within District #189. In this way, the board will be kept abreast of developments at the state, regional and local level. Moreover, the Board can use that network to investigate and apply for local or national funding resources. For example, the board should begin by contacting the East St. Louis Housing Authority about their interests in providing this type of education to the children that live in public housing as part of the Clinton Administration's Communiversity Initiative.

6. Encourage parent involvement.

The board should inform parents of the value of this curriculum and explain how it will enrich their child's education. Informative talks and town meetings where parents are invited to ask questions and present their concerns will raise both levels of consciousness and enthusiasm. If a core group of parents displays a high level of interest, then the board could play an advisory role in organizing the parents to push for a stronger community-based curriculum district-wide.

7. Research similar programs.

Research and visit schools with similar curriculums. The board should outline its own ideas beforehand and then be prepared to ask specific questions about other programs. One existing similar program that has proven successful is the Long Island Neighborhoods-2000 program in New York. A sample of their curriculum is detailed below:

Phase 1 (weeks 1-2) Pre-project questionnaire

Introduction to the project and volunteers

Class discussion about neighborhood issues

Phase 2 (weeks 3-5) What do we want and need from a neighborhood?

Model Building Exercise

Design the "ideal" neighborhood

Phase 3 (weeks 7-10) Learning about each other' lives

Reminiscence Interviewing Exercise

a. learning how to interview

b. students and adult volunteers interview each other

c. class discussion of historical themes

Phase 4 (weeks 10-12) What is Out There Now?--Land Use Mapping Exercise

a. learning about maps, orientation, symbols and exercises

b. examining local geography and land-use patterns

Phase 5(weeks 13-14) Let's Take a Closer Look--"Walk About/Talk About" Exercise

a. planning "autobiographical walking tours"

b. tour giving

Phase 6 (weeks 15-18) Developing Alternative Plans--Urban Planning Exercise

a. review of neighborhood strengths and weaknesses (small group and class-wide working sessions)

b. develop proposals for neighborhood improvement

Phase 7 (weeks 19-21) Sharing Our Work and Working for Change

"Display Day"

a. Organize a school event to publicize class research results and promote proposed neighborhood improvement

b. Other strategies:

- letter writing campaigns

- article to local newspaper

- special presentation at community meetings

Phase 8 (week 22) Course Evaluation

Final class discussion about project

8. Determine staff requirements

Investigate finding and hiring a full-time educator/program director who would run the summer implementation programs in the community. This person would report to the board and also be responsible for investigating and applying for additional funding.


The board should recruit a varied membership and develop a curriculum plan for the first year and then seek approval for implementation of the curriculum during year two. Many neighborhood residents agreed that Hughes Quinn Junior High would be an appropriate pilot school for the first year of implementation and then extended to a larger portion of the district in year three. The board should meet at least twice a month to review progress and discuss any difficulties.


Teachers and board members should be encouraged to attend conferences and training workshops to introduce themselves to innovative programs and curriculums. The average costs for attending such events ranges from $50-$1000. As part of developing a new and creative cultural arts curriculum, the board will have to develop a program budget in accordance with the curriculum needs and size of student enrollment in the programs. The board should also investigate the possibility of giving release time to teachers that want to work on planning this curriculum. The assistance of a graduate student in education will also help keep costs low.


The board should identify funding sources through the broader network of education associations and other programs that needs to be established prior to implementing this program. The board should define budget needs for each of its activities and develop a long-range financial plan. The board should address the potential problem of top-level school administrators perception of the alternative curriculums as a low priority when deciding budget appropriations. If administrators cannot be persuaded to put this program as a high priority budget item, then teachers and parents bear the responsibility of determining the means and level at which the plans are achieved. This means that the board will most likely have to seek outside funding sources.


National Society for Internships and Experiential Education

3509 Haworth Drive, Suite 207

Raleigh, NC 27609-7229


Contact person: Sally Migliore

Dr. Frederick Rodgers

University of Illinois

Education Department

315 Education Building


Chicago: Urban Gateways.

A non-profit arts education agency representing an outstanding example of coordination between a school system and its community's cultural resources.

Initiative Four

Capital Facilities Stabilization and Improvement Plan


The Olivette Park community faces the challenge of protecting and preserving the wealth of cultural resources that exist within the physical boundaries of the neighborhood. Currently, neither the city nor the neighborhood has a plan in place to ensure that the neighborhood's cultural resources are protected. The Olivette Park Local Development Corporation organized committees as part of a Cultural District Plan to formulate proposals for a new performing arts facility in Olivette Park, but the concerns about the future of the existing facilities and programs have not been extensively investigated. In response to those concerns, the Cultural Resource Committee focused on developing the following three program activities: a survey of the space needs of the existing cultural arts facilities, a prioritizing strategy for renovations and, if current facilities still prove inadequate, a feasibility study for a new performing arts center.


The purpose of this initiative is to direct the residents of Olivette Park towards existing cultural facilities options and to an understanding of the feasibility of any new cultural arts facilities. The Olivette Park community must address in an orderly fashion the type and condition of existing facilities; what and how existing facilities could be adapted for integrated and multiple uses by the community; and what buildings have the potential to be developed into a long-range permanent, arts center. The neighborhood must also address the issue of whether or not a brand-new cultural arts facility could be sustained in the neighborhood and the city. Many communities build new public facilities, however, few develop workable plans for their ongoing support and maintenance. Over time, many of those facilities deteriorate due to a lack of adequate maintenance and support. This is a situation which we would not want to repeat in East St. Louis. Hence, this feasibility study is recommended.


1. Conduct an inventory of existing facilities

A. Create broad definition of what constitutes an arts or cultural organization.

B. Develop a complete list of all such organizations in Olivette Park.

C. Formulate a survey instrument to determine their space requirements.

D. Administer the survey.

An inventory of the existing facilities would first require individual interviews with staff at the city's leading cultural arts programs, to discuss at minimum, the following details:

· overall condition of the existing facility

· additional space requirements

· programs

· physical location (strengths and weaknesses)

· community image

· biggest asset

· biggest liability

· budget
The interviews should be taped (if the interviewee does not object). The interviewer should take detailed notes throughout the interview. The survey information should be compiled into one document that summarizes the findings and provides a detailed analysis of each arts facility.

E. Inspect current, in use, facilities.

F. Determine the needs for practice, rehearsal, performance and exhibition space for each cultural organization.

G. Evaluate the benefits and costs of single or multi-use facility.

2. Develop a renovation strategy for existing facilities.

Throughout the country, arts centers have been developed in various spaces-often in existing buildings. Space can be remolded to fit different needs. The following is just one example of existing spaces a community remolded into an excellent facility for the arts: The Rocky Mountain Arts and Crafts Center, Rocky Mountain , North Carolina presents a wonderful show of imagination when the city decided to convert a water-storage tank measuring 57 feet in diameter into an arts center. A circular gallery occupies the first floor and a 100 seat theater with a three quarter arena stage occupies the second floor. The third floor is reserved for office space and classrooms. The adjoining pumping station is now a painting, sculpture and ceramics studio.

This example is meant to show that almost any kind of building can be used to house a cultural arts center, and that the costs are not as high as building a new facility. To meet immediate needs within Olivette Park, it may not be possible to find an abandoned water storage tank. However, there are various existing spaces available and suitable for the arts in the community. The Renovation Plan will be based on the information provided by the survey of existing facilities. The University of Illinois Department of Urban and Regional Planning and the School of Architecture could provide the technical assistance to identify buildings and develop emergency repair programs that halt the deterioration of existing facilities. The East St. Louis Community Development Block Grant agency could provide the funding for these emergency repairs.

The University of Illinois School of Architecture and the Department of Urban and Regional Planning could provide on-going technical assistance with funding from the Community Development Block Grant agency to complete the plan. One year would be required to complete the plan. Two years would be required to implement the necessary renovations.

3. Perform a feasibility study for a new cultural arts center.

A feasibility study is necessary to determine whether the project could be supported over time by the community. The components listed below are the minimum considerations when conducting a feasibility study. Until each of the following components are carefully considered, it is not possible to say with confidence unlikely that Olivette Park could sustain a brand new arts center. This does not mean that the neighborhood or the city is left without any options for cultural facilities development. Mr. Errol Allen and his colleagues have expressed serious interest in developing a new cultural arts center. Plans like those should be pursued, if, it is on a joint basis with agencies that have access to cheap bond supported capital construction funding. Those interested in developing new spaces for the cultural arts should explore the possibility of partnering with the Jefferson National Park Expansion at the Riverfront project or with State Community College and SIUE at East St. Louis who are currently evaluating their own facility needs. The School Board and Public Housing Authority may present other possible opportunities. The State of Illinois is going to make some major financial contributions before turning the college over to the local Community College Board.

A feasibility study should be conducted though before making any financial commitments to developing a brand new facility.

A. Site and Building Feasibility Study

Analysis of possible sites and buildings for their ability to accommodate desired arts programming within available budget. Alternative sites are analyzed in terms of :

· fulfilling artistic programming needs

· location

· support available from surrounding area to meet needs of patrons and artists.

· accessibility

· image

· operations and management implications

· land costs, availability and financing

· project phasing and implementation

B. Operating Costs Study

Analysis of all costs for facility operations, planning and construction. The committee should visits similar facilities in smaller cities to gather information to make accurate estimates. The operating budget includes projections for:

· earned income(admissions, sales, rentals, membership, etc.)

· contributed income (private and public)

· operating expenses (salaries, overhead, maintenance, etc.)

· special programming costs

C. Capital Construction Estimates for facility planning and construction include:

· consultant fees

· site acquisition and development

· construction costs

· equipment and furnishings

· project financing

D. Capital Financing Study includes:

· capital dollars available for construction

· financing strategies

· cash flow projections

· economic impact of facility on the community



Planning Costs:

It is estimated that $40,000 would be required to complete a renovation plan and feasibility study. The Olivette Park Neighborhood Revitalization Plan should be used as a document that helps demonstrate the need for such a plan.

Implementation Costs:

Depending on the number, size and type of renovations called for in the Renovation Plan funding must be acquired to cover the design, "bricks and mortar" construction, additional equipment and furnishings. These costs would be detailed in the Renovation Plan.


As mentioned in previous sections, the Community Development Block Grant office could be a primary source of funding for preparing and implementing a Renovation Plan. Outside grant sources should also be explored.


The Actor's Equity Association's (AEA) "Safe and Sanitary Code" delineates the requirements for meeting their standards in performing facilities. The AEA has also suggested guidelines for architects and builders for the renovations performance facilities. A copy of these guidelines should be acquired before making any renovations. Another excellent source is a book entitled: Will it Make a Theatre: A Guide to Funding, Renovating, Financing, Bringing Up-to-Code, the Non-Traditional Performing Space. As the title indicates, this book contains virtually all of the information and sources of information about using an existing building for a cultural arts facility.

The Illinois Facility Fund is another important resource.

In addition, the Neighborhood Technical Assistance Center could help the Olivette Park Neighborhood Association in preparing grant proposals to fund the Renovation Plan.

Document author(s): Angie Morgan, Eric Stoller
HTML by: Abhijeet Chavan
Last modified: June 26, 1996

Olivette Park Action Revitalization Plan

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