When the topic of economic impact is broached, art and design normally is not the first thing that comes to mind. But during their final meeting of 2016, members of IU’s Council for Regional Engagement and Economic Development (CREED) learned how the Herron School of Art + Design makes key economic contributions to their surrounding communities.
So how exactly does art and design contribute to regional engagement and economic development? Valerie Eickmeier, dean of the Herron School, offered more than a half-dozen examples:
- Research and product development: Herron students, staff and faculty develop ease-of-use designs for mobile healthcare technologies, as well as design products such as “smart pillboxes” to help manage health;
- Community services: Art therapy is an effective tool to cope with stress and anxiety. Herron provides services to 35 community partners and their clients and 100 percent of art therapy graduates are employed in the field within weeks of graduation. Herron also provides art education services for Indianapolis Public Schools, as well as children in need;
- Interdisciplinary partnerships: Herron professors engage students in producing components for race cars and exploring digital fabrication techniques, as well as promoting engineering creativity through the integration of arts, design and experiential learning;
- People-centered design and community engagement: Herron personnel have worked with American Red Cross leaders and staff to help improve and redesign their volunteer experience, along with exploring how organizations can use innovation, creativity and “elements of play” to engage, empower and collaborate with people;
- Advancing faculty research: In collaboration with the IU School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology, Herron will sponsor an international symposium on neuroscience, art and related therapeutics, bringing together world-leading specialists in researching the brain’s response to beauty and aesthetics. Related projects include the design of a digital light installation that can be controlled through real-time input from hospital patients with limited mobility. Herron faculty also collaborate with IUSM researchers to employ patient-centered design methods to achieve improved health outcomes.
- Shaping the cultural landscape: Herron faculty led strategic planning, branding and marketing to create a “month of design” in Indianapolis and developed regional partners to showcase design-focused events.
Through the use of Herron’s Think It Make It Lab, students learn about design production and rapid prototyping with cutting edge equipment such as 3-D printers, computer numeric control routing, laser engraving and plasma cutters. Applications include:
- Furniture, interior design, architecture and sculpture design;
- Jewelry, fashion and apparel design;
- Motorsports and transportation;
- Products, toys and entertainment;
- Medicine, prosthetics, plastic surgery and dentistry;
- Faculty research and creative activity.
In addition, the Basile Center for Art, Design and Public Life partners Herron students with individuals, government entities, nonprofit and for-profit businesses and organizations to work on a variety of creative projects.
A “QUIET” ECONOMIC IMPACT
While real estate plays a more conventional role in a region’s economy, the “quiet” impact of IU real estate holdings statewide might come as a surprise to some, said Jason Banach, IU’s director of real estate.
In and around its campuses and educational centers statewide — plus parcels in Wisconsin and Montana — IU holds 7,919 acres with an estimated book value of about $7.5 billion dollars, IU does not actually own the land, rather, it is titled to IU’s Board of Trustees.
“The true market value is probably double that amount, but there’s no accurate way to track that,” he said.
IU only buys real estate in areas within the master plan boundaries of its respective campuses, Banach said. Purchases are made to plan IU’s future growth and to protect and control master planned areas and uses. Properties are sold if they are not in IU master plan areas, no longer serve IU’s needs or can bring a greater cash return than being retained.
Under a new state law, IU can directly purchase up to $2 million worth of property without the Board of Trustees’ approval, Banach said. While property owned by the IU Foundation is subject to local zoning regulations, IU property is not — and it is exempt from real estate taxation (IU Foundation property may be exempted as well upon request).
On average, IU’s real estate office manages the purchase of about 25 parcels annually and the sale of about two parcels a year. At present, IU is involved in 93 deals where it leases space it owns to other users and 168 deals where it leases space from others.
At IU Bloomington, local economic impact of property that IU leases from other entities is estimated at $4.4 million annually. Its largest recent capital project was the new, $53 million home for the School of Global and International Studies. Economic impacts involving real estate projects at other IU campuses include:
- IUPUI (including its Columbus center):
- Local economic impact from IU leasing: About $8.5 million annually.
- Largest recent capital project: North Hall ($45.2 million).
- IU East (Richmond):
- Local economic impact from IU leasing: About $122,000 annually.
- Largest recent capital project: Student Activities/Events Center ($5 million).
- IU Kokomo:
- Local economic impact from IU leasing: About $105,000 annually.
- Largest recent capital project: Main Building renovations ($14 million).
- IU Northwest (Gary):
- Local economic impact from IU leasing: About $191,000 annually.
- Largest recent capital project: Arts & Sciences Building ($33 million).
- IU South Bend:
- Local economic impact from IU leasing: About $142,000 annually.
- Largest recent capital project: Administration Building and Riverside Hall renovations ($7 million).
- IU Southeast (New Albany):
- Local economic impact from IU leasing: About $142,000 million annually.
- Largest recent capital project: Deferred maintenance on several buildings ($6.3 million).
RED FUND AWARDS
For the first time in CREED’s history, three applications for its Regional Economic Development (RED) Fund were approved by council members at a single meeting:
- A $2,000 grant, matched by $2,000 in applicant contributions, was awarded to IU Northwest to continue a small business development workshop. For the past three years, marketing professor and CREED member Subir Bandyopadyay has led an annual workshop that demonstrates step-by-step how small businesses can use apps to develop cost-effective mobile marketing strategies;
- An $1,800 grant, matched by $1,800 in applicant contributions, was awarded to IU South Bend for an inaugural reception hosted in September by the Leighton School of Business and Economics for alumni, students and community leaders;
- A $500 grant, matched by $2,500 in applicant contributions, was awarded to IU Bloomington toward support for Startup Weekend Bloomington, an entrepreneurship development workshop held Nov. 11-13 at IU’s Cyberinfrastructure Building.
Council members also heard briefings a number of economic development and engagement initiatives pursued throughout the past year — including two of three IU programs that were recognized as finalists for the University Economic Development Association’s Awards of Excellence during UEDA’s annual meeting in Roanoke, Va.:
- B-Start, a pre-accelerator for student-run businesses involving collaboration between IU and the Bloomington Economic Development Corp.
- Steward of Place, a strategic initiative in which IU Kokomo seeks to discover and address challenges in the communities it serves by establishing advisory boards in those communities.
Other briefings included recaps of the Big Goal Collaborative Education Summit at IP Fort Wayne and IU President Michael A. McRobbie’s recent “McRobbie on the Move” tour of all IU regional campuses statewide.