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Recognizing successful artist spaces that demonstrate innovation, affordability, and positive community impact

Susan Silberberg started working with Leveraging Investments in Creativity (LINC) in 2006 to create and launch a first-of-its kind program of research, awards, and learning to recognize and foster the creation of affordable artist space in communities across the United States. In 2009, Space for Change: Building Communities through Innovative Art Spaces was launched by LINC in partnership with MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning through a funding collaboration between the MetLife Foundation and Ford Foundation. As part of that initiative, The MetLife Innovative Space Awards identified projects that provide affordable space for artists of all types, and that contributed to community revitalization and sustainability through artist programming, active collaboration, and engagement between the artists and the community.


In her role as Associate Director of the program, Susan helped shape the awards structure and criteria and put a research program into place to take full advantage of the depth of information provided by awards applicants from across the country. Performance artists, literary organizations, visual artists, new media organizations, and other arts groups offered a glimpse into their successes and challenges around physical space acquisition and development, organizational strategies, and community engagement models. Mining through over 150 applicants in each of the two awards cycles, Susan and her MIT research team identified key trends, common challenges, and inspiring success stories in affordable artist space development and community collaboration. Susan’s research informs the work of CivicMoxie with communities and arts organizations and the challenges they face effecting positive change in their communities, as well as obtaining and maintaining affordable spaces for both working and living.

Project type:

Arts and culture, community revitalization, placemaking, speaking / innovation


MetLife Innovative Space Awards



Leveraging Investment in Creativity

MetLife Foundation

Ford Foundation


United States



Project Type:

Arts and culture, community revitalization, placemaking, speaking / innovation

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