INVEST IN ARTISTS Develop Nance Farm as a Cultural Hub

A community that respects its history respects itself. The preservation of that history through the preservation of sites is important to help a community realize its strengths and use them to educate new generations of residents about the origin stories of their community. Historic sites can also be incubators for arts innovation. An intentional look at the Nance Farm is a high-value response to the call for creating and maintaining distinguishing elements in the city. Suburban sprawl and roadside development make DeSoto and its neighboring cities “look” the same. Nance Farm and its striking historic buildings can help add depth to the story of DeSoto, call attention to the city’s history and contribute to community pride. The site has enormous potential for being a location for enhancing student learning in the areas of social studies; and the sciences can situate DeSoto as a heritage tourism destination. STRATEGIES 1. Review the Nance Farm Master Plan to determine current needs of the site. (Nance Farm Master Plan Appendix F) 2. Retrofit Nance Farm to serve as the office location for the proposed Cultural Programs Manager. 3. Preserve the historic integrity of the buildings on the site and develop a programming plan that offers a range of cultural activities (i. e., artists-in-residence opportunities, arts classes, exhibitions and public tours). Additional staffing support for operating the site could be provided by existing Park Department staff, volunteers, interns and members of the historic preservation community. CASE STUDY An interesting example of the potential for the Nance Farm can be considered against the success of The Arts Barn, an adaptive re-use project in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The Arts Barn is a beautifully renovated stable that once housed horses on a private family estate. Today, the Arts Barn is part of Arts on the Green, the City’s home for visual and performing arts. In addition to a 99-seat theater, the Arts Barn offers rotating art exhibits, artists-in-residence studios, a gift shop featuring artist-made items and an active schedule of visual and performing arts classes, workshops and camps for children and adults.


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