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Case Studies 

Art Crawl




Contributed by 
Project for Public Spaces
August 13, 2015
December 22, 2017

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

In 2005, a highly transformative LQC called Art Crawl was born on run-down James Street in Hamilton, Ontario when several art gallery owners simply decided to stay open later than usual in an effort to attract more visitors once a month. Previously a steel town, Hamilton’s downtown became neglected with the decline of the steel industry and gallery owners flocked to the area for its inexpensive real estate. Art Crawl invited Hamiltonians to visit the James Street galleries, which would stay open late for the event, and peruse the craft, music and food stands that would line the sidewalks creating safe and lively edges. The event became a fast success, and eventually became a venue for the growing art scene throughout the city. It became so successful that, in 2009, a group of artists and organizers created an annual version with a larger emphasis on local music talent and a full closure of the street called Supercrawl. The inaugural Supercrawl saw an attendance of 3,000 people, and in 2016 it drew over 200,000 attendees. Both Art Crawl and Supercrawl remain free and open to the public on monthly and annual bases, respectively.

These “Crawls” have been crucial drivers in the revitalization of James Street, which now houses a slew of art-related shops and spaces. Vacant buildings have been replaced by book shops, galleries, record stores and cafes. The street has become a destination for the arts industry in Hamilton, which today employs more people than the steel industry. The use of art as an LQC strategy has indeed helped alter the perception of Hamilton’s downtown, while also contributing to its regional identity and boosting neighborhood pride. 

Access & Linkages

Comfort & Image

Uses & Activities


How Light?

Both “Crawls” are quite light as they are both extremely temporary occurring for no longer than two days at a time.

How Quick?

Art Crawl occurs monthly for one evening, while Supercrawl occurs annually for one weekend.

How Cheap?

Both events occur at no cost to the public. Supercrawl is funded through grants from the province, city, and federal governments as well as private sponsors and on-site vendors. In 2016 it had an economic impact of $14.5 million.

History & Background

Related Links & Sources

Photo credits, from left: Sean Marshall via Flickr, Ann & Peter Macdonald via Flickr, Ann & Peter Macdonald via Flickr, SuperCrawl, Ann & Peter Macdonald via Flickr, SuperCrawl

Website: jamesstreetnorth.ca

Facebook: facebook.com/James-North-Art-Crawl

Twitter: @artcrawl

Website: supercrawl.ca

Facebook: facebook.com/Supercrawl

Twitter: @supercrawl

Art Crawl
Art Crawl
Supercrawl celebrates both local and international music
Art Crawl
Performances on James St
Art Crawl
James St. North is tranformed into a street for people
Art Crawl
Art Crawl helps build community around local talent
Art Crawl
Art Crawl
Art Crawl

*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.


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