Nearly ten years ago, New York native and “arts and cultural evangelist” Zach Mannheimer chose Des Moines, Iowa as his entrepreneurial pet project. Soon after his arrival, he helped rejuvenate the Des Moines Fire Department Headquarters, a 1937 Art Moderne building built with the aid of the Depression-Era Public Works Administration, into the Des Moines Social Club, a non-profit, mixed-use arts hub.
After eight years at the helm of the Social Club, Mannheimer, 38, was tapped by Dan Robeson, head of Iowa Business Growth Company, an alternative lending and certified development company. In his new role as vice president of creative placemaking, Mannheimer will attempt to replicate the success of the Social Club throughout the state. But while it worked in Des Moines, will using vacant structures to create arts districts help revitalize struggling rural towns?
Read more here: Can vacant buildings and the arts help save small towns? – Kyle Munson, Des Moines Register