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Developing a

Creative District
in Port-au-Prince
Developing a Creative
District in Port-au-Prince

Benjamin Gebhardt
Gen Kawasaki
Sharon Sagues Luján
Cristina Viladomiu Noguer
The research team would like to thank Nicola Magri and Ana Maria Saiz from the
Inter-American Development Bank, as well as Greta Seibel from the London School
of Economics, for their guidance and support.
An expression of appreciation for the valuable insights and support of: Koldo Eche-
barria, Pascale Jaunay, Pascale Théard, Rose-May Guignard, André Eugène, Yves
César, Eddy Rémy, Axelle Liautaud, Leah Gordon, Frantz Duval, Jean Max Chauvet,
and our friend Makinson.
We also want to extend our gratitude to the Inter-American Development Bank office
in Haiti for providing us with the opportunity to visit Port-au-Prince and conduct re-

Background on consultancy report

This report has been compiled for the Inter-American Development Bank by a consul-
tancy team from the London School of Economics and Political Science. It constitutes
the Development Management Project of the MSc Development Management.
Glossary of Acronyms
United Nations Education Science and Culture Organization - UNESCO
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development - UNCTAD
World Intellectual Property Organization - WIPO
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development - OECD
Inter-American Development Bank - IDB
Millennium Development Goals - MDGs
Sustainable Development Goals - SDGs
The World Bank - WB
United States Agency for International Development - USAID
Design Organization and Training - DOT
1. Introduction 14
2. Literature Review 15
2.1 The cultural and creative industries 15
2.2 An orange lens to development 16
2.3 Creativity and space 17
3. Methodology 20
4. Haitian Creativity 22
4.1 Creative Haiti: a background assessment 22
4.2 Neighborhoods of interest 24
5. Challenges facing the Haitian Creative Economy 28
5.1 Lack of state capacity 28
5.2 Weak tourism industry 28
5.3 Security concerns 28
5.4 Infrastructure 29
5.5 Transportation 29
5.6 Market access and business education 29
6. Recommendations 32
6.1 Guidelines for All Districts 32
6.2 Location-specific recommendations 34
7. Conclusion 37
8. References 38
9. Appendix 43

Executive Summary
The purpose of this report is to assess the feasibility of establishing a creative district in Port-
au-Prince, Haiti. While Haiti has long been perceived by the international community as a
country riddled with disaster, poverty and political instability, it is a place rich in culture and
creativity. Notably, its visual arts have been recognized both in the Caribbean region and
world-wide. Accordingly, this report will focus more specifically on whether the IDB should
invest in developing a ‘creative district’ with the dual aim of preserving Haiti’s art and promoting
economic growth.
This report is divided into four main segments. The first section will outline existing academic
debates surrounding the ‘Orange Economy’ and how ‘creativity’ and ‘space’ are linked within
a development context. Section two explains the methodology used in this study. In section
three, we will contextualize the literature within the case of Port-au-Prince, where we identify
specific neighborhoods, sectors, and challenges that are relevant to this project. The final
segment will provide recommendations to the IDB on potential next steps for the development
of a creative district in Port-au-Prince.
Our main findings are that:
1. Port-au-Prince has a huge potential for the establishment of a creative district due
to its artistic history and existing artisan community in the city.
2. ‘Space’ and ‘creativity’ are very closely linked, with certain neighborhoods having a
unique set of skills that enables them to produce pieces that are very distinctive to their
3. The sector faces many challenges, the main ones being the inadequate infrastructure,
minimal political involvement in supporting the creative industries, lack of market access
and business education, and low tourism activity in the country.
This report will provide both general guidelines and district-specific recommendations for the
IDB should it decided to invest in Port-au-Prince’s Orange Economy. We outline two possible
1. Should the Bank decided to build up one singular district, we recommend investing in
Village Noailles as it is currently the most developed and organized creative area in the
city. Despite requiring less funding due to pre-existing infrastructure, transportation issues
seem to be the biggest challenge.
2. Should the Bank decide to launch an initiative to upgrade multiple creative districts, we
recommend focusing on Village Noailles, Bel Air and Grand Rue. This should be entail
upgrading infrastructure, promoting business/marketing education, collaborating with the
tourism industry and increasing the connectivity of organizations in the sector.
The team has conducted both desk-research and fieldwork in Port-au-Prince in order to perform
a thorough analysis and to provide a comprehensive set of recommendations.

1. Introduction
This report was prepared to assess the
feasibility of establishing a creative district in
Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The IDB commissioned
this study to analyze how creativity and
space can be ‘married’ to accelerate
Haiti’s economic growth while preserving
and promoting its rich culture. This report
identifies the opportunities and challenges of
establishing said district and assists the IDB
in shaping a strategic plan of action for its
development .
This report will be divided into four sections.
Part I will provide a literature review,
recapping the history, theory and concepts
behind the ‘Orange Economy’ and creative
industries. Based on previous research and
reports from academics and development
institutions, this section will explain the
main theoretical framework behind linking
‘creativity’ to ‘space’ within a development
Part II outlines our methodology of field
interviews and desk research.
Part III analyzes the creative industries within
Haiti, exploring their origins and identifying
different sectors and neighborhoods of
interest in Port-au-Prince. It also identifies
challenges specific to both the industry and
relevant neighborhoods. We will juxtapose
our fieldwork with the theoretical frameworks
explained in Part I to reflect the challenges
on the ground.
Part IV will provide recommendations based
on the desk research and fieldwork, focusing
on both general guidelines for the roll-out
of a potential creative district and district-
specific recommendations for particular
neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince.

Part I
2. Literature Review surely the most significant ones that we
produce” (cited in Florida, 2012, p.24). When
one looks at the metrics, the magnitude of
the creative industries is too substantial to
Based on previous research from academics ignore. In 2005, 6.1% of the global economy
and development institutions, this literature was generated by this sector and by 2011, the
review will outline the history, theory and creative industries generated US$4.3 billion,
main concepts of the ‘Orange Economy’ and having grown more than 130% in nine years
how ‘creativity’ and ‘space’ are linked within (Buitrago & Duque, 2013). Not only are these
a development context. industries important for generating income,
but they are also causing societies to place
a much greater importance on creativity.
2.1 The cultural and creative Florida (2012), for example, believes that
industries culture and creativity is so important that
he identifies a ‘Creative Class’ of people,
Many international development institutions, dedicated to leading not just the economy,
from the UN to bilateral aid agencies, are but societal values and ways of life through
exploring the potential that the creative creativity.
industries have for promoting development.
However, despite the current excitement Evidently, this has drawn the attention of
surrounding the concept, it was initially scholars, governments and international
interpreted as a threat to culture. Adorno and organizations alike. Vast literature has since
Horkheimer of the Frankfurt School believed been dedicated to the topic of creative
that the commercialization of culture and industries, attempting to understand their
its mass production would result in its significance, how they work, where they can
commodification, robbing it of its sanctity be found, and even the most basic question:
(Pratt, 2014; UNDP/ UNCTAD, 2010). what are they?
Though as time passed, the market and the Defining the creative economy has proven
arts did not destroy each other, and culture to be a matter of great irregularity and
and creativity are now widely accepted as “an contention. In 1986, UNESCO’s Framework
increasing driving force in the international for Cultural Statistics attempted to define a
marketplace” (Van der Pol, 2007, p.1). Since set of activities organized into nine ‘cultural
the 1980s, the debate has shifted from categories’ (UNESCO, 1986). UNESCO’s
an ‘idealist’ approach to an ‘instrumental’ categories did not gain traction, however, and
one; in the former, the emphasis was on the term ‘creative industries’ as understood
aesthetics and consumerism, and in the today was first used in the 1994 Australian
latter, the importance is on the varieties and Creative Nation report and later popularized
specificities of cultural production (Pratt, in 1998 by the United Kingdom’s Department
2014, p.508). of Culture, Media and Sports (UNDP/
By acknowledging culture and creativity as UNCTAD, 2010). Subsequently, definitions
veritable economic forces, and not merely by UNESCO, UNCTAD and WIPO, among
subjects of appreciation, policymakers have many others, proliferated. For this report, we
discovered the real potential of the creative will employ the IDB’s catchall definition of the
industries. As economist Paul Romer cultural economy and the creative industries
illustrates: “we are not used to thinking of – the ‘Orange Economy’.
ideas as economic goods, but they are The Orange Economy is the group of linked

activities through which ideas are transformed not managed to fully amend poverty and
into cultural goods and services whose value inequality, so development practitioners
is determined by intellectual property. The have started to look beyond traditional,
orange universe includes: i) The Cultural tangible economic indicators (Lopez-Claros
Economy and the Creative industries which
& Perotti, 2014). While “international trade
share the Conventional Cultural Industries;
and ii) creativity supporting activities.
remains the only key indicator to measure
(Buitrago & Duque, 2013, p.40)
the economic impact of the creative
economy at a universal level”, development
This broad definition is practical and includes professionals are starting to adopt a “holistic
areas within the arts and heritage (i.e. the approach that takes into account the realities
visual and performing arts, tourism, and and specificities of countries, recognizing
material and immaterial cultural heritage), their cultural differences, identities and real
the conventional cultural industries (i.e. the needs” (UNCTAD/UNDP, 2010, pp.23, 36-
editorial, audiovisual and phonographic goods 37). In this sense, creativity offers a way
and services), and the functional creations, to advance development, “from agriculture
new media and software (i.e. activities not to knowledge on [sic] one step”, adding
traditionally associated with culture that get high value and high-skilled activities to
their value from symbolism, such as design, an economy (Pratt, 2015, p.507). Culture
content software and advertising) (Buitrago and creativity are knowledge capital and
and Duque, 2013, p.40). While authors like economic resources that have, to a certain
Jones (2015) warn against generalizing all extent, substituted traditional means of
creative industries, the ‘Orange Economy’ production (Florida, 2012).
definition acknowledges that despite
differences in the production processes and But the creative and cultural economies
final products, most creative industries play are appreciated for more than their mere
a similar role in the economy. Furthermore, economic value; they contribute to social
the IDB’s definition is ideal because it development as well. UNCTAD and the
combines other institutions’ definitions of UNDP (2010) propose that the creative
the creative economy while simultaneously sectors of developing economies could
acknowledging the value of heritage. This facilitate the accomplishment of at least six
differs from other authors, such as Florida specific components of the MDGs. Likewise,
(2012), who emphasizes that creativity must UNESCO’s International Congress published
be something “new.” This report will not see the Hangzhou Declaration, emphasizing
heritage and “the new” as mutually exclusive, that culture should be integrated into
but rather as complementary for the Orange all development policies and programs,
Economy to thrive in a development context. considering it “the fourth fundamental
principle of the post-2015 UN development
agenda, in equal measure with human rights,
equality and sustainability” (UNESCO,
2.2 An orange lens to 2013, p.6). Furthermore, the Declaration
development proposes that culture can help strengthen
resilience to disasters, as it restores a
Having now established what the cultural
location’s “sense of place and confidence
and creative industries are, it is relevant to
in the future” (UNESCO, 2013, p.8). The
understand how, why and to what extent they
Orange Economy and the Green Economy
can impact economic growth and whether
have even been associated, as people are
they can pave a path towards sustainable
applying creative solutions to environmental
growth. The interest shown from institutions
problems (UNCTAD/UNDP, 2010). Further
such as the UNDP, the OECD, UNCTAD and
beyond the strict economic ambit, UNESCO
the IDB itself suggests that there may indeed
and the UNDP’s Creative Economy Report
be ways to achieve development through the
(2013) explores the impact of the Orange
Orange Economy.
Economy on cultural expression, collective
Conventional economic theories have identity, and urban planning and architecture.

Additionally, both the IDB’s Institute for cultural production, while Leung (2016) notes
the Future and UNCTAD argue that the the potential marginalization of women,
creative economy can encourage wider ethnic minorities, and the working class. To
democratization and economic participation, this respect, UNESCO (2013) declares the
giving voice to different actors through new importance of “guaranteeing cultural rights,
channels of communication and amplifying access to cultural goods and services, free
the power of social networks, ultimately participation in cultural life, and freedom of
encouraging the sharing of social revenue artistic expression” (p.7) in order to avoid
(Finlev et. al., 2017; UNCTAD/UNDP, 2010). inequality. Additionally, UNESCO and the
UNDP (2013) forewarn that the creative
The varied literature proposes different economy cannot single-handedly solve
policy approaches to enhance the Orange poverty or uneven development and that
Economy’s development impact. These expectations should remain realistic.
approaches factor in value-chain analysis,
adequate measurement and mapping,
infrastructure and provision of connectivity
and ICTs, copyright legislation, education and
2.3 Creativity and space
skill development, entrepreneurship, heritage The creative industry literature has
conservation, and market development, established a nexus between place and
among many others. (UNCTAD/UNDP, 2010) creativity: Currid (2010) argues that this
Nevertheless, there is a universal emphasis “inextricable link” (p.258) affects the
on tourism and clustering in the literature. development course of a specific area while
As tourists are the major consumers of Pratt (2014) associates creative industries
creative goods and services, the literature as an “urban, and predominantly a global
increasingly stresses the importance of both city phenomenon” (p. 9). What forms the link
of these sectors to work in synergy towards that fosters this connection? One can apply
‘creative tourism’ (OECD, 2014; UNCTAD/ Porter’s (2000) economic cluster analysis
UNDP, 2010). The OECD’s report on to explain this, wherein he establishes that
Tourism and the Creative Economy (2014) similar industries concentrate in a physical
emphasizes the effective coordination location in order to minimize transaction
between actors for adequate convergence costs. In the case of the Orange Economy,
between tourism and creative industries, where the resources are the skills and the
diversification and experience creation, people, artistic activity clusters in order to
measures to promote entrepreneurship, and pool knowledge and know-how, as well as to
networking and clustering platforms (to be minimize transactions (Florida, 2012; Pratt,
covered in the next section). 2014). Relatedly, UNESCO and the UNDP
(2013) understand this clustering in terms of
However, despite the literature postulating
sharing resources, matching relations and
the inclusive potential of creative industries,
learning through exchanges of information.
some authors are wary of the Orange
Gong and Hassink (2017) consider, in
Economy, particularly if policies are not
addition to the agglomeration economies
designed and implemented appropriately.
of scale, the ‘institutional environment’ and
For example, Florida (2012) recognizes
‘spin-off formation’ as drivers of clustering
a main critique of his work which warns of
activities in creative industries. The former
the possibility of enhancing the privileges
refers to the platforms and conditions
of this identified ‘Creative Class’. UNESCO
made available by existing institutions to
and the UNDP (2013) also observes this
promote creative industries, while the latter
caveat, noting the characteristic inequalities
indicates the relevance of organizations like
of the creative economy, attributing them to
universities and corporations tangentially
the concentration of control of distribution
getting involved in the creative industries.
means by transnational corporations from the
Global North, even when ideas and creativity Contrastingly, UNCTAD and the UNDP (2010)
can be globally sourced. Pratt (2015) also propose another, more comprehensive, non-
underlines the tendency of monopolization in economic explanation, where they argue

that a country’s creative industry is inherently For example, the ‘broken windows’ theory
linked to its territory, with each area self- explains the impact of improving local
identifying with a unique form of creative conditions on community crime-causation.
expression. This territorial approach also As Wilson and Kelling (1982) explain:
sees the potential development benefits of
Disorder and crime are usually inextricably
the Orange Economy, as cultural distinctions
linked, in a kind of developmental sequence.
serve as competitive economic advantages Social psychologists and police officers
through product differentiation and branding tend to agree that if a window in a building
(UNESCO/UNDP, 2013), linking “traditional is broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest
knowledge at one end of the value chain of the windows will soon be broken. (...)
with the ultimate consumer at the other end” One unrepaired broken window is a signal
(Ibid., p.38). As Currid (2010) puts it: “art that no one cares, and so breaking more
matters to places and people alike because, windows costs nothing. (...) We suggest
fundamentally, art matters to us” (p.260). that “untended” behavior also leads to the
breakdown of community controls. (n.p.)
However, one thing to note is that there
is little research relating specifically to In agreement, UN-Habitat (2003) cites
creative districts in the developing world, this theory, stating that “communities
as more emphasis has been put on the who deteriorate in this respect over time
United States and Europe. The literature on are observed to suffer increased rates of
cultural and creative industries of the Global violence” (p.75). In a complementary manner,
South is prone to avoid an urban or ‘district- although he rejects a one-size-fits-all model,
level’ perspective, tending to remain more Florida (2012) points towards what he calls
conceptual. In this sense, while UNESCO a ‘people climate’, consisting of technology,
and the UNDP (2013) exemplify cases in talent and tolerance for a creative community
developing countries, it recognizes that much to flourish. Similarly, UNESCO and the UNDP
of the literature deals with the experiences (2013) encourage a ‘creative field’, where
of post-industrialized settings,1 which leads networks between the creative professionals
to policy recommendations that may not and the government, educational sector, and
translate to local contexts. The lack of private sectors are formed.
diversity in the literature is reflective of the way Nevertheless, there are those who are
“the creative economy tends to concentrate skeptical about the effects of clustering and
today in great world cities that are already creative districts. Markusen and Gadwa
central places of financial capital, investment (2010) point out that cultural tourism
and power” (UNESCO/UNDP, 2013). Leriche strategies provide only limited development
and Daviet (2010), accordingly, question benefits. Hence, they hold that “minimal
the differentiation of industrial and art cities clustering and dispersion may be a sounder
present in other research, explaining that strategy than concentrated cultural districts
historically the development of cultural on both equity and efficiency grounds”
cities such as Florence, Venice and Bruges, (p.388). Evans (2009) further criticizes
among others, can be attributed to the clustering and creative districts by stating
presence of capital arising precisely from that the relevance or scale at which cluster
the industries developed there. Thus, wealth models can be sustainable lacks proper
and creativity are related, exacerbating the evidence, blaming “fuzzy” conceptual
inequality potential of creative industries notions that result in place-making instead of
already mentioned. place developing.
Despite the lack of specific literature on the Consequently, proposals have been made
matter, there are theories that can be applied to avoid such negative impacts, primarily
to justify investing in the establishment by building on existing cultural expressions
of creative clusters in the Global South. (Evans, 2009), and nurturing neighborhood
Multiple examples shown in Florida (2012), Turok cultural clusters through taking into account
(2009), Evans (2009), Markusen, A. and Gadwa, A. nonprofit and corporate cultural providers,
(2008), Evans (2009), among others.

cultural participants and resident artists that cannot be disguised. Clever marketing
(Stern & Seinfert, 2010). By not prioritizing cannot compensate for aspects of a city
the existing communities, decision makers that discourage people from visiting,
tend to support inadequate policies and investing, or moving there” (Turok, 2008,
investments: favoring tourists over residents, p.26). Accordingly, Maggiore and Vellecco
failing to integrate artists and the smaller (2012) warn against seeing culture merely
scale multiplicity of actors and communities as a “product” instead of a synergistic agent
(Markusen & Gadwa, 2010), overinvesting “that provides all the local industries with
in large signature buildings that end up as production systems, operational contents,
“white elephants” instead of investing in management tools, creative practices,
street-level activities that are enjoyable symbolism and identity” (p.242). Ignoring this
for people (Turok, 2008; Florida, 2012; reality prevents sustainable development.
Markusen & Gadwa, 2010). Similarly, Currid (2010) observes “the
uncomfortable sub-narrative of the arts
Moreover, many urban policymakers economic development story” as one
fall into the paradox of trying to promote where “the arts may help development but
distinctiveness while adopting others’ development does not necessarily help the
policies (Turok, 2008). Cities must therefore arts” (p.259) based on experiences where
capitalize on their own existing strengths and the human capital that formed the creative
tailor policies accordingly. Moreover, they quality of a district are eventually forced out
seem to disregard that “image management of there, emptying its distinctiveness.
is far less important than observable
reality, especially where difficulties exist

Part II
3. Methodology data [...] in a relatively short period of time”
(p.92). The reader should also note that we
chose to focus on Haiti’s visual arts, following
the previously-explained ‘broken window’
As previously explained, information theory, which argues that visible expressions
regarding the topic of creative districts as of creativity have the biggest impact on
a means of development in the Global neighborhoods.
South has not received enough academic
attention. Thus, while we do conduct desk- As recommended by the USAID’s
research, this practice alone would not allow methodology report on Conducting Key
us to gather the necessary information to Informant Interviews in Developing Countries
provide recommendations and assess the (1989), we approached interviews with a
true potential and feasibility of a creative guide listing the topics we wanted to discuss
district in Port-au-Prince. with our key informants, taking into account
their various backgrounds. The interviews
Given that this project deals with were then conducted through open-ended
neighborhoods and districts that the team questions that followed the guiding topics
members had never visited, appropriate but allowed interviewees to speak freely
understanding of the situation called for about their experiences, perspectives and
field research. This enabled us to get a knowledge. This qualitative method enabled
comprehensive view of the actors involved, us to pursue further questioning if a new
local perceptions, disciplines practiced and topic of interest came up which, as Berger
their links to their locations, among other (1998) explains, can enhance the quality of
factors. An interviewing method allowed the research.
us to better comprehend such nuances
as it enabled respondents to share their We interviewed informants primarily in
experiences, opinions and motivations – French, with English being used when
for these reasons, interviewing is a favored informants were fluent and expressed
method in social sciences (Tracy, 2013). For their willingness to do so. All interviewees
the sake of explanation, interviews refer to expressed their verbal consent to be
“guided question-answer conversations, interviewed and most agreed to be recorded.
or an interchange of views between two In cases where no verbal consent was given
persons conversing about a theme of mutual for recording, extensive notes were taken.
interest” (Kvale & Brinkmann, 2009, p.2).
We acknowledge the possible limitations
Additionally, being constrained to a one- of our chosen method, taking into account
week window for field research and having that an ‘ideal’ key informant would have
limited resources, we opted for key informant certain characteristics regarding their role
interviews as our methodology. Other in the community, the access to information
methods, such as census surveys, would regarding the topic of interest, their willingness
not have been feasible in our time frame. to participate and their impartiality. The last
Kumar (1989) explains that “key informant characteristic was difficult to avoid given that
interview[ing] involves interviewing a select the roles of the informants made most of
group of individuals who are likely to provide them possible stakeholders in the proposed
needed information, ideas and insights development of a creative district. As we
[...] on a particular subject” (p.1). Marshall were accompanied by IDB staff and asked
(1996) adds that key informant interviews interviewees about their involvement in
also allowed us to have a high “quality of the sector, it became inevitable for them to

associate our interest to the possibility of an arts industry. We interviewed both producers
investment in their industry. However, when and managers within the creative sector; the
such biases are known to the interviewers former represented by artisans, artists and
from the beginning, the analysis of the designers, and the latter by gallery owners
information they provide can be assessed and representatives from cultural institutions.
with the necessary precautions (Marshall, Other relevant sectors, such as media and
1996). government, were also interviewed.
It is important to underline that while we had The full itinerary can be seen in the Appendix.
limited time to build contacts and that our
informants were potential stakeholders of a
creative district, we managed to meet and
interview most key figures from the visual

Part III
4. Haitian Creativity
This analytical section will contextualize the 4.1.1 History of Haiti’s creative
existing literature surrounding the Orange economy
Economy and creative districts with the
case of Haiti. Here, we will identify specific Haiti’s cultural sector is unique because of its
neighborhoods, sectors and challenges that distinct blend of African, French and Spanish
are relevant to this project. influences. As in other colonies, centuries of
slavery and colonial rule meant that African
slaves brought with them and established a
4.1 Creative Haiti: a strong belief system, which has since blended
into a particular culture and identity (Hayes,
background assessment 2001). After a successful slave revolt, Haiti
Art is intrinsic in forming a collective memory achieved its independence from France
and solidarity among people (Calovic, 2015). in 1804, becoming the first and only slave
In Haiti, culture takes on different forms; arts, colony to overthrow their colonial power.
crafts, food and music all play a significant Since then, Haitian politics has been marked
part in the Haitian Orange Economy. These by violence, instability and corruption at the
different industries constantly intersect and expense of its population (Ibid.).
their origins are deeply rooted in Haiti’s Throughout this unique history, the visual arts
history, politics and spirituality. However, as have documented Haiti’s identity, portraying
aforementioned, our focus is on visual forms themes such as politics, spirituality, and
of art. hope. Among the most important themes
It is clear to anyone that travels to Haiti that present in Haitian art is Vodou, which blends
the visual arts are profound expressions West African and Roman Catholic traditions
of local realities, in part due to their heavy (Consentino, 1993). Hector Hyppolite was
symbolism and significance in Haiti’s the first artist to portray Vodou in painting,
marginalized communities (Savage, 2010). and his symbolism has since inspired other
Despite the richness of Haitian culture, artists and sectors, such as metalworker
Haiti’s creative sector, much like its society in Georges Liautaud and Vodou flagmaker
general, is characterized by huge disparities Oleyand (Alexis, 2010). While popular
in wealth (Maki, 2008). Nonetheless, in Port- understandings negatively associate Vodou
au-Prince, lower classes have managed to with the likes of sorcery, black magic, and
dominate the artistic scene in a city where vast possession, the syncretic religion is widely
inequality levels often prevent these artists depicted in Haitian art (Ibid.).
from getting a fair share in the art market.
In some of the city’s poorer neighborhoods,
4.1.2 Origins of the Haitian visual
art has the power to transform social places,
arts industry
redefine their image and status, and change
the perception of marginalized communities While the visual arts in Haiti predate the
(Ćalović, 2015). Revolution, the industry did not take its
modern form until the establishment of
the Centre d’Art catalyzed the ‘Haitian
Renaissance’ (Haffner, 2017). Haitian art

developed alongside a booming tourism 4.1.3 Where creativity thrives:
industry during this ‘golden age,’ which informal and low-income
lasted until the country’s politico-economic neighborhoods
growth deteriorated in the 1990s (Jaunay,
2018). The Centre d’Art was created by Although the relatively wealthy district of
DeWitt Peters, an American artist, who saw Pétion-Ville has most of the city’s galleries,
huge potential in Haiti’s art industry (Ibid.). Port-au-Prince has artistic and creative hubs
The center became a location where artists dispersed throughout numerous low-income
from different socioeconomic backgrounds or “slum” neighborhoods that are organized
could come and learn various skills, with by and centered around traditional Vodou
popular artists having the opportunity to temples. The city’s creative clusters and
exhibit and market their work (Alexis, 2010). artistic styles are unique from one another,
Today, the Centre d’Art still operates in a often dependent upon the specific skill
similar manner, providing training spaces that a neighborhood has to offer (Gordon,
and organizing workshops for artists across 2017). Artists in these clusters sometimes
various disciplines. lack access to formal, professional training
and thus employ a ‘neighborhood-based
Haitian elites have historically preferred the apprenticeship’ system to propagate their
aesthetics of European fine arts. Popular art. While traditional art circles tend to
art (i.e. that of informally trained artists) had classify this informal process as ‘outsider’ or
thus been depreciated for generations, with ‘naive,’ many of Haiti’s masterpieces have
the international community portraying it been produced in Port-au-Prince’s slums
as ‘primitive’, ‘naive’ and amateur (Gordon, (Gordon, 2017).
2017). This changed in the 1940s, when
Haiti’s lower classes began asserting The influential art that comes from Port-au-
themselves within the artistic community, Prince’s low-income neighborhoods can
becoming both the producers and the be explained by the network approaches
objects of representation (Ibid.). In the five to art innovation theory. This theory states
years following the creation of the Centre that artists in low-income (or ‘peripheral’)
d’Art, international expositions came to neighborhoods are able to generate new
Port-au-Prince, exposing Haiti to global art ideas and forms of art because they are
movements. This launched the nation’s art less in touch with the formal artistic methods
into ‘modernity;’ the international exposure (Collins, 1998). However, such art usually
prompted Haitian artists to adopt various only stands a chance at being highly valued
formal techniques, increasing the products’ when international art collectors take notice.
value and allowing the art market to thrive. Sculptor André Eugène is an example
Local collectors then became proud of of a peripheral artist that penetrated the
Haitian popular art, and the industry peaked international market. His provocative pieces
in the 1970s. Amidst the fall of the Duvalier made out of junk and scrap metal are now
regime in the late 1980s, the Haitian art exposed in exhibitions worldwide and
industry depreciated once more due to are considered among Haiti’s top works.
severe political instability (Alexis, 2010). Once he had managed to penetrate the
global market with the help of international
Today, there are 12 prominent galleries in curators, his style became recognized
Port-au-Prince, owned by collectors from and appreciated. However, Eugène is an
Haiti’s upper classes. However, despite the exceptional case– most artists from these
fact that around 10% of the economically informal and peripheral neighborhoods lack
active population (around 400,000 people) appropriate channels and networks that
(UNESCO, 2011) are involved in the arts and would allow them to connect with global
crafts sector, Haitian elites still show very little audiences (Pattriota, 2016).
interest in popular art unless it comes from
a few number of renowned artists (Jaunay, So, what options are there for Haitian artists
2018). that do not manage to gain international
acclaim from curators? There are local

cooperatives that act as mediators through
which artisans from informal settlements
can access resources and markets (Caves, The Ghetto Biennale
2000). The Comité Artisanal Haïtien is one
of the largest of said cooperatives. It is The Ghetto Biennale is a cross-cultural arts
composed of around 180 members, festival hosted in Grand Rue. The festival was
typically rural artists, that sell their created by Atis Rezistans to provide a platform
products in the Comite’s shop for “slum artists” to advertize and sell their crafts,
in downtown Port-au-Prince. and bypass exploitative middlemen. It was conceived
Intermediary organizations, in 2004 when several Haitian artists were invited to
such as the Centre d’Art and the participate in an exhibition in Miami. Despite sending
Artisans Business Network, their artwork for exhibition, most of them were denied a
support artists in accessing U.S. visa and could not attend. These limitations inspired
markets and facilitate the artists to reclaim their space in the art world (Savage,
the commercialization of 2010). The inaugural festival took place in 2009 and
products. Other networks, has taken place every other year since. It was originally
such as Fondasyon Konesans curated by André Eugène, the leader of Atis Rezistans, and
Ak Libète (Fokal) and the Leah Gordon, among others. In talks with both of them,
AfricanAmericA Foundation they expressed how the provocative name of “Ghetto
are also involved in several civil Biennale” is meant to bring sellers and curators to the
society projects in the art sector heart of Haitian art and the informal neighborhood,
with the aim of gaining local and rather than vice versa (Gordon, 2017; Eugène, 2018).
international exposure (Jaunay, While the project has shown promise and growth
2018). in recent years, it comes with many challenges,
including insecurity, reputational issues and
lack of infrastructure.
4.2 Neighborhoods of

4.2.1 Grand Rue

recognition to the Grand Rue neighborhood.
Located in the heart of downtown Port-au- The area also hosts the Ghetto Biennale,
Prince, Grand Rue has been described as a cross-cultural arts festival known to the
a “caribbean junkyard gone cyberpunk” (The region.
Lonely Planet, 2017). In Grand Rue, the
collective Atis Rezistans, a subaltern arts
cooperative, create sculptures made out of 4.2.2 Village Noailles
recycled metal, skulls and car tyres found in
the area. Village Noailles in Croix-des-Bouquets is
another creative hub located 11km east
Grand Rue’s artistic tradition originated with of Port-au-Prince. The district produces
wood-carving; artisans used to produce steel figures made out of recycled oil
wooden sculptures and sell them to tourists drums. Haitian iron work dates back to the
all across the Caribbean. In the 1990s, Celeur revolutionary period, wherein artists would
Jean-Hérard, alongside current leader of make weapons to support the revolutionaries
Atis Rezistans, André Eugène, started (Stebick, 1978).
experimenting with other locally discarded
materials from cars (Gordon, 2017). The However, the the iron work that we see today
result was the emergence of a new art has been inspired by more recent artists
style, comprised of sculptures with a heavy like Georges Liautaud, a blacksmith who
Vodou influence. Since then, Atis Rezistans made crosses for the Croix-des-Bouquets
has brought a huge sense of pride and cemetery in the 1950s (Consentino, 1993).
Since then, the crosses have evolved into

different forms, with iron carvings depicting access markets. While USAID has recently
many themes, from nature to Vodou symbols. funded the creation of an art center (‘BelArt’)
From conversations with the president of in the neighborhood, the building is relatively
the Association des Artistes et Artisans de underutilized (The Caribbean Journal,
la Croix-des-Bouquets (ADAAC), we found 2013). The center ended up being a “white
that artisans in Village Noailles organize elephant” type of investment, meaning that
themselves around the cooperative and it focused on a single building instead of a
divide up large orders to facilitate production. more extensive improvement of conditions
The cooperative has 400 members spread as aforementioned in the literature (Turok,
across 95 atéliers (Jaunay, 2018). 2008). The main challenge facing the artists
as they try to develop the industry is the
neighborhood’s reputation as a no-go-zone
4.2.3 Bel Air – the rest of Port-au-Prince avoids entering
the district because of the notorious crime
Bel Air is one of the foremost arts regions
levels (Guignard, 2018).
in Port-au-Prince. Situated downtown, the
district was once a vibrant middle-class
area home to artists, civil servants and
academics (Norwegian Church Aid, 2014). “We are lucky
While most of these groups gradually left the
neighborhood, artists largely remain.
in Haiti, and not a
lot of countries are like
Artists in Bel Air are known for their Vodou
flags. Known as ‘dwapos’ in creole, these that, to have different areas
colorful sequin crafts were first created that are linked to the know-
by Vodou priests in the 1980s (Indigo Arts how. We already have this
Gallery, 2017). The flags carry a strong
spiritual significance and are used in cartography, this map, that
Vodou rituals and ceremonies. While the can be developed”
artists organize themselves around the
Coordination des Artistes et Artisans du Bel (Théard, 2018).
Air (CAABEL), the association has
been static due to the various Interview
challenges the neighborhood
with Pascale
Despite its history as a
creative hub, Bel Air is Pascale Théard is the owner of a luxury atélier of
now an impoverished Haitian-inspired fashion and arts. She had previously
neighborhood that cooperated with the government in upgrading Village
is severely affected Noailles. The project entailed standardizing and designing
by gang violence, the different atéliers’ signs, cleaning the town, adding public
crime and economic amenities and ultimately providing an organizational structure
deprivation. It lacks to the district. The early stages of the project were successful
basic infrastructure –the amenities added were popular in the town and were not
and services, stolen or harmed. The project, however, was left unfinished due
and most of its to various coordination issues with the local mayors, the Ministry
population remains of Transport and Public Works, and the Ministry of Planning and
isolated from the External Cooperation. She has kept her plans, though, and
rest of the city. It expressed a willingness to share them with the Bank and
does, nevertheless, cooperate in developing Village Noailles in the future.
remain an artistic hub,
“The community – they like the solar panels so
but the artists live in poor
much that they take care of the security
conditions and struggle to
themselves.” (Théard, 2018).

Bel Air
de Fer


Grand Rue

Parc De


Grand Rue Bel Air Noailles
5. Challenges facing the Haitian Creative
5.1 Lack of state capacity to create and patent a ‘Village Noailles’ logo
that they had designed. While patenting is a
Haiti’s Orange Economy struggles with the rather simple process, the MCC has failed
same lack of state capacity that hinders the to get back to the ADAAC for years because
rest of the country’s economic sectors. The they lack the resources or knowledge to get
Fund for Peace (2017) ranks Haiti as the it done. Thus, administrative procedures
world’s 11th most fragile state. What is more, tend to be be extremely long, leading to lost
important indicators such as state legitimacy, business opportunities. Additionally, existing
provision of public services, state legitimacy legal structures are not supportive of the
and economic inequality, are actually cultural sector, with the lack of intellectual
worsening as compared to previous years. property being problematic for many artisans
Added to this, corruption is notably present (Jaunay, 2018).
in Haiti (Transparency International, 2017),
and has been a major obstacle to business
operations and has undermined investor 5.2 Weak tourism industry
confidence (US Department of Commerce,
2016). Bribery is common within government Tourism in the Caribbean reached 30 million
and public institutions, which makes the people in 2015, and has been growing
planning, implementation and maintenance steadily since 2011 (CTO, 2017). Despite
of projects extremely challenging –in the this, in Haiti’s latest figures, the island only
creative sector included. received around 516,000 tourists, comprising
just 9% of national GDP (The World Bank,
There is a lack of continuity within the 2017). Part of the industry relies on cruise
Ministry of Culture and Communications ships, which brings between 4,000 to 6,000
(MCC), the principal agency devoted to the passengers to the north coast on a weekly
Orange Economy. The MCC changes its basis (Cruise Timetables, 2017). Most of
minister once per year, on average, making the tourists are from the Haitian diaspora,
long-term (and even short-term) projects coming mainly from the United States.
challenging to initiate and complete (Jaunay, However, Haiti’s reputation as an unstable
2018). Besides the problem with high and disaster-ridden country has contributed
turnover, the MCC has a low budget and an to an irregular and weak tourism industry in
inefficient allocation of funds; with a budget comparison to its Caribbean counterparts
of around US$20 million, 70% of funds (The World Bank, 2017). Although the
cover the costs of its own functioning and country is perceived as a hotbed for crime
only 30% is aimed at running projects and and insecurity, the crime rate is much lower
events, with Carnival as the main recipient in reality (Kolbe, et al 2013). In order to make
(Ibid.). Our interviewees were aware of this Port-au-Prince more attractive as a tourist
institutional incapacity, often criticizing the destination, one would have to change the
state budget and the lack of transparency image of Haiti internationally.
within the Ministry. Additionally, the overlap
between the Ministry of Tourism and Creative
Industries, the Ministry of Commerce and 5.3 Security concerns
Industry, the Ministry of Social Affairs and
the MCC exacerbates issues, with artisans Of the neighborhoods we identified as
not knowing who to contact regarding their candidates for creative districts, Bel Air
sector (Ibid.). and Grand Rue may demand additional
security precautions. This is mainly due to
Case in point is the attempt by the ADAAC the presence of street-level crime as well as

general poverty and the proliferation of litter areas.
and waste.
Naturally, crime and insecurity are factors
that could negatively affect the performance
5.5 Transportation
and appeal of a creative district and may Traveling from site to site in Port-au-Prince
potentially deter people from visiting the is challenging given the informality of traffic.
area. The geographic location of the creative With only three traffic lights in the city, there
district and its perceived safety will thus is constant congestion that makes traveling
heavily influence the flux of visitors and its even short distances time consuming. While
desirability (Kolbe, 2013). However, this transportation is not the foremost obstacle
does not mean that the IDB should not roll for artistic hubs located in the city center, it
out projects in such neighborhoods. remains the principal problem for the region’s
most developed district, Village Noailles. The
The ‘broken-windows’ approach could
site is an hour’s drive, at least, from central
improve neighborhood conditions –it
Port-au-Prince. Though the actual distance
has worked in Village Noailles, where
between Noailles and Port-au-Prince is
investments in lamps, bins and benches
small, the road is only partially paved and is
prompted the population to feel ownership
heavily congested as it an important route
over their community (Théard, 2018). While
leading to the border with the Dominican
the dynamics may be different, it would be
Republic. In our interview with Jean Eddy
wrong to assume that such initiatives would
Rémy and other stakeholders in Village
not be possible in neighborhoods such as
Noailles, poor transportation infrastructure
Bel Air and Grand Rue, especially with the
was cited as a major obstacle to increasing
former being historically known as an artistic
tourism and sales.

5.4 Infrastructure 5.6 Market access and

business education
The artists from the Village Noailles, Bel Air
and Grand Rue, voiced concern over poor There are disproportionately few
infrastructure in their respective districts. Per marketplaces for Haitian handicrafts and
our interview with Pascale Théard, ADAAC visual arts relative to the number of active
President Jean Eddy Rémy and personal artists. Existing marketplaces are either
observations, Village Noailles primarily informal or too narrow in scope (Jaunay,
lacks supporting businesses (like cafes/ 2018). The domestic market is further
restaurants), paved roads, public toilets, a hampered by a lack of tourism, a low demand
security detail and a small hotel for guests among domestic elites and informality in the
that do not want to make the long round-trip sales process (World Bank, 2017; Derks
journey between Croix-des-Bouquets and et. al., 2006). We observed three main
Port-au-Prince. The village does, however, distribution channels currently used by
have a small headquarters for the ADAAC Haitian artists:
and is in a relatively safe and clean location.
1. Informal word of mouth and social
Bel Air and Grand Rue, on the other hand,
media deal brokerage: this is
need an infrastructure overhaul. While the
commonplace among the artists in the
districts do have the foundations of artists’
associations of Bel Air and the Village
associations, small art galleries, and paved
Noailles. Nearly every artist that we
roads, the arts districts do not have adequate
interviewed relies on finding their own
security, trash collection, and supporting
sales channels, typically resorting to
businesses. Overall, these two districts face
Whatsapp and Facebook. Generally,
all of the infrastructure challenges typical of
artists sell directly to members of the
slums, and much will have to be changed
Haitian diaspora in North America.
before these regions will be viable tourist

2. Cooperatives, associations and and not as business people, and they lack
foundations: in Port-au-Prince, there the ability to capitalize on their products.
are a several cooperatives and Moreover, local cooperatives lack business
collectives that help artists market and strategies and act merely as coordinators
promote their work. Nonetheless, such for large events and orders. Thus, small and
organizations operate informally and medium-size artisan groups live off local
do not publish/market their products markets with very little business education
at a competitive level. Furthermore, and marketing knowledge. This prompts the
there is no formal professional production of suboptimal quality goods and
association and the distribution low profitability, as artists often lack access
channels of these groups are limited to proper production methods and market
(Jaunay, 2018). Organizations such as information (Jaunay, 2018).
the Comité Artisanal Haïtien purchase
crafts in bulk from local artisans and Sources informed us that a lack of investment
cooperatives, typically selling the on research centers and art preservation has
works for under US$50. posed challenges to preserve, catalogue and
promote Haitian art. Part of Haiti’s problem
3. Professional galleries, agents and with preserving art stems from government
showcases: there are a handful and political disinterest (Douglas & Prézau,
of world renowned artists that sell 2008). Thus, Haitian visual art tends not to
high-profile pieces through fine-arts be catalogued, and has reduced its exposure
galleries (Jaunay, 2018). The Galerie and visibility in the international market.
Nader, for instance, is one of the We encountered this issue when initially
few within this category, where we researching Haitian arts.
observed some pieces were priced at
over US$100,000. Similar institutions Coordination between actors and lack of
effectively market and sell the clustering
country’s fine art at a high value, yet In analysing different neighborhoods
do little to harness the market power and organizations, we noticed a lack of
of the common artisan. communication and joint ventures between
The first two marketplaces are very informal, actors that have a great deal of overlap in
undervalued and lack coherent structure. interests. This prevents the formation of a
This informality is caused by two fundamental ‘creative field’ and strong cluster between
shortfalls: a lack of marketing strategies and Orange Economy actors (UNESCO/
business acumen. UNDP, 2013). For example, there is little
collaboration between the Centre d’Art
Our main observation is that the majority and the cooperatives in Bel Air and Village
of artisans and cooperatives do not have Noailles, despite the fact that some of the
digital marketplaces to conduct online sales, artists in these regions were trained by
and are therefore missing out on regional the Center. We also did not hear of any
and international business opportunities. partnership between creative hubs and
This is primarily because of the high cost local colleges/universities. While all of the
of postage and the lack of online banking prominent actors in the industry know of
systems available to artisans (Jaunay, one another, they did not report significant
2018). Consequently, artisans do not collaboration.
seem to actively seek clientele by creating
marketspaces outside of the production area,
opting to wait until visitors come in person.
The lack of business acumen and
professional training available to creative
professionals is also problematic. They
generally identify themselves only as artists

Part IV
6. Recommendations
The following section offers both general In order for the creative district to be an
and district-specific recommendations for attractive destination for art shoppers, it
the IDB should it decide to invest in Port- must also be clean and safe. Streets should
au-Prince’s Orange Economy. Under our be clear of litter and the neighborhood
general guidelines, we provide overarching must be safe from crime. This poses a
suggestions that could be implemented in significant problem for Bel Air and Grand
any creative district in the city, in the event Rue, as they would have to undergo slum
that the Bank decides to upgrade several upgrading in order to attract visitors. “Slum
Orange districts. Under our location- upgrading,” as defined by Satterthwaite
specific guidelines, we provide tailored and Mitlin (2013), entails implementing a
recommendations for three of the city’s series of interventions to improve housing
prominent creative districts should the Bank quality, services and infrastructure in
decide to focus on one geographic location. informal settlements. This has been done
successfully in Brazil and Sub-Saharan
Africa (Sehtman, 2009; Gulyani & Bassett,
6.1 Guidelines for All 2007) and when development practitioners
employ a “bottom-up” approach (Calderón,
Districts 2008). Moreover, upgrading infrastructure
is further complicated when considering the
6.1.1 Supporting local infrastructure risks of gentrification, understood as the a
and security/sanitation process where the “production of an urban
space” is dominated by middle classes,
A creative district should not simply be whose financial resources will drive the
a cluster of production and sales points physical transformation of the neighborhood
where consumers can come to observe and and raise property values (Hackworth,
purchase art; it should be the center of a 2002, p.815; Glass, 1964). Authors such as
healthy local economy that connects many Wolfe (1975), Butler (2007), Deutsche and
sectors. A healthy creative district will focus Gendel (1984) and Leung (2016) warn that
on benefiting all locals (Markusen & Gadwa, the transformation of a neighborhood into a
2010) and will host a series of non-artistic creative district may lead to said displacement
companies that develop symbiotically with of lower class residents, identifying artistic
the Orange Economy (OECD, 2014). In production in neighborhoods as a precursor
any Haitian creative district, the IDB should of gentrification.
invest in infrastructure that can help attract
people for reasons beyond artwork and These risks can be mitigated through
simultaneously spur the local economy, appropriate measures. We suggest taking
such as formal cafes, restaurants and small inspiration from initiatives like rent control
hotels. As seen in each district, there is very to protect residents from displacement, such
little for visitors to do apart from touring the as that implemented in the creative district
workshops and purchasing goods. Thus, of Soho, New York (Miles, 2015). Allowing
providing additional infrastructure would new visitors and consumers to come closer
draw visitors to the district and encourage to art producers offers an opportunity for
them to spend money in local restaurants neighborhood revitalization through an
and shops. improvement of image, job opportunities and

quality of life (Jackson, 2012). The creative and creative contents, but produced
district that we advocate does not involve through industrial processes of production,
moving artists/galleries to a specific location, reproduction and distribution, was key for
which would put local residents at risk of making them viable enterprises. (p.89)
displacement (Deutsche & Gendel, 1984). Thus, it is important that a partnership
Instead, we propose a grassroots approach, between the Bank, the artists and these
where local residents and artists are agents intermediary organizations to be formed,
of change and cultural producers in their as it may help bring Haitian art to a more
neighborhood in Port-au-Prince, exploiting professional, formal and online marketplace.
the position they already hold as leaders
and linchpins of their communities (Théard,
2018). All in all, the IDB has to consider how 6.1.3 Working with the tourism
to protect local residents from such hazards. industry
The IDB should link the creative district to
6.1.2 Business acumen and role of Haiti’s tourism industry, as tourists provide
intermediary organizations a valuable market for the Orange Economy
(OECD, 2014). Currently, artisans rely
The lack of business acumen is an issue primarily on the local market, as they do not
for most artisans in Port-au-Prince, as have the financial means to transport their
many of them do not know how to market
their products and develop a clientele.
The IDB should aim to promote a sense of
entrepreneurship among artists. ‘Cabo Verde Creative’ brand
In line with Gong and Hassink’s (2017) In UNCTAD’s 2015 report on the creative
spin-off clustering, we suggest that groups economy in Cabo Verde, researchers
like the Centre d’Art, Artisan Business recommend creating a “Cabo Verde
Network, Fokal, Design, Organization and Creative” brand for creative products.
Training (DOT), and local universities play This formal brand would add value to the
an important role in the creative district. The products and provide quality assurance to
Bank and these groups should establish consumers. UNCTAD recommends that
business management, marketing, and IT branded products be sold at national tourist
classes that encourage artists’ associations hubs, ports and airports. Furthermore,
to adopt a more sophisticated business embassies could promote and advertise
strategy, enhance their production methods branded products abroad, expanding the
and better market/brand their products. creative market. This strategy could be
By providing business and IT training (i.e. implemented in Haiti, too – establishing a
web design, product cataloguing, online ‘Made in Haiti’ or ‘Haiti Orange’ seal could
marketing) for the artists, as well as a space add value to creative products and could
where they can congregate to build lasting be promoted abroad by Haitian embassies
and productive collaborative relationships, and Chambers of Commerce (UNCTAD,
we believe that a creative community 2015).
can thrive. While the Centre d’Art already
provides art training and space, we believe
that it is underutilized – the artists also
need practical commercial skills. In a similar products to different areas of the country
manner, UNESCO and UNDP (2013) agree and exports are very costly (Jaunay, 2018).
with the importance of training artists in If one is to target the tourism sector with the
business skills, exemplified by the case of creative district, then it is crucial to establish
Niger’s creative industries. They state that: points of sales in all of the tourist hubs and
try to entice travel companies to sponsor
Understanding that cultural industries the creative district, either by stocking resort
are production sectors linked to artistic areas with branded ‘Creative Haiti’ products

Jacmel, Creative City very confusing. The IDB should determine a
fixed point of contact within government who
In 2014, Haiti’s south-coast city, can address certain sector-related issues,
Jacmel, was granted membership in provide guidance to the industry and liaise
UNESCO’s Creative Cities Network for between the state and artists.
its notable Crafts and Folk Arts. As part
of this initiative “to promote cooperation
within and among cities that have 6.2 Location-specific
identified creativity as a strategic factor
for sustainable urban development”
(UNESCO, n.d), Jacmel plans to help
its art-related professionals through 6.2.1 Supporting Village Noailles
providing training and promoting the
existing art schools (film, sound and If the IDB hopes to invest in the Haitian
music). Moreover, support will be given Orange Economy and encourage the start of
to dancers, visual artists, and artisans to a cultural district, the best option would be
create linkages between them and with to upgrade Village Noailles. Village Noailles
other member cities “in order to develop already is a consolidated, well known creative
the creative potential of the Caribbean” district. It has a fair amount of organization,
(Ibid.). differentiated and demanded products and
involvement from significant arts stakeholders
While the fruits of this recognition are still like Pascale Théard. Ms. Théard expressed
to be seen, applying for a Creative City her willingness to cooperate with the Bank in
title could also be an option for Port-au- finishing the work with the ADAAC, and out
Prince, as it would bring the third-party of all of the options presented in this report,
recognition that tourists may need to feel this endeavor would ultimately require the
assured of the potential of a place as a least financial and human capital investment.
visiting spot. However, it should also be While the artisans of Village Noailles are
taken into account that having more than consolidated, they need the implementation
one place with a “creative” title could lead of our general recommendations above;
to difficulties in the differentiation, which having a strong, interactive web presence
Turok (2009) highlights as important. and a team that is dedicated to the business
behind the products could go a long way in
helping the ADAAC become more efficient
or organizing excursions and shuttle visits to and gain visibility in the global market. In
the cultural district. sum, in order to convert Village Noailles into
Port-au-Prince’s first Orange district, the IDB
should help implement:
6.1.4 Communication
●● An ADAAC web presence, online
The Bank should promote communication catalogue, centralized computer
within the creative sector as well as between system and formal shop for online and
the industry and the government – this would foreign consumers;
foster a ‘creative field,’ as stated earlier, and
reduce bureaucratic hindrances to the arts. ●● A team/individual dedicated to
marketing the region to tourists and
The issue over patenting in Village consumers;
Noailles clearly illustrates how there is ●● A security detail;
little administrative support on behalf of ●● Funds to finish the initial development
the government for the Orange Economy. project, which would pave the village’s
Moreover, with various overlaps occurring roads, upgrade the district’s ambiance,
within Ministries over who is responsible install public toilets and, in general,
for the sector, our sources indicated that make the town Orange;
communicating with government can be
●● Formal cafes and restaurants to

support the village; ●● Funds to develop activities in BelArt,
●● A small hotel, seeing as the town is including branding, business classes
somewhat far from the city; and expositions;
●● A district or country brand that could ●● An online presence and centralized
add value to the products from Village computer system for CAABEL, so
Noailles and a finalized, patented logo artists can formally catalogue and sell
for the district. their work on the internet.
Given the security and infrastructure
6.2.2 Upgrading Bel Air concerns, we do not believe Bel Air is
capable of being a singular creative district
Bel Air has historically been a hub for arts for tourists at this time. The government and
in Port-au-Prince. Not only are many artists security forces have to play a crucial role
based there, but they also have a central in transforming the neighborhood before it
organization in CAABEL and a gallery, BelArt. can become a popular, safe creative district.
Nonetheless, the Bank could implement the
However, Bel Air’s infrastructure and security above mentioned solutions and help the
are extremely lacking, limiting potential for Orange Economy of Bel Air develop.
its development into a more formal creative
district. In order to develop the project in
this neighborhood, IDB investment may 6.2.3 Strengthening the Grand Rue
not be enough – the Government of Haiti and the Ghetto Biennale
would likely have to assist in providing
substantial security, infrastructure and waste Similarly with Bel Air, if the Bank intends
management systems. During our visit, we to fund one singular creative district, we
were required to tour the area with the head do not recommend that the IDB choose
of the CAABEL, as the area was not safe for Grand Rue – however, should the Bank
‘outsiders.’ Accordingly, to transform Bel Air decide to launch a project that strengthens
into a viable creative district, it would require: preexisting creative areas in Port-au-Prince,
more generally, Grand Rue is a location that
●● Infrastructure development (mainly of cannot be ignored. The Bank could work to
atéliers and housing), keeping in mind strengthen the Ghetto Biennale exposition.
to avoid pricing out local residents; Despite its popularity, the festival is not
●● An effective garbage collection system; inclusive of all regions in Port-au-Prince,
●● Cafes and restaurants; does not coordinate extensively with local
●● Increased security in the area; art galleries and actors, and remains rather

Dak’Art –a model for the Ghetto Biennale?

Dak’Art is a biannual international arts festival held in Dakar, Senegal. Every two years,
Senegal invites artists from across Africa to congregate and display their work. They also
provide an online platform for their work to be distributed overseas. Every two years, when
the event is hosted, it provides an economic stimulant for the city and it helps artists
distribute their brand worldwide (Biennale Foundation, 2018). The IDB could use Dak’Art’s
success as a model for upgrading the Ghetto Biennale; the Ghetto Biennale could be
more inclusive of Caribbean artists and be better marketed so that artists could sell their
products abroad.

unsafe for visitors (Jaunay, 2018b). To support for the Atis Rezistans;
develop Grand Rue into a creative district, it ●● An online presence for Atis Rezistans
would need: so artists can formally catalogue and
sell their work on the internet;
●● Infrastructure upgrades in the Atis
Rezistans and Ghetto Biennale ●● Linkages between the Ghetto Biennale/
buildings; Atis Rezistans and galleries in Port-au-
Prince, without robbing the agency and
●● A better waste collection system;
essence of the project.
●● Business training and cataloguing

7. Conclusion
This report has aimed to identify the opportunities and challenges of establishing a creative
district and to formulate recommendations to assist the IDB in shaping a strategic plan of action
for the development of creative districts in Port-au-Prince.
In this paper, we have compiled both academic and institutional literature on creative industries
and development studies into a theoretical framework in order to link ‘creativity’ and ‘space’,
which will help the Bank as they consider establishing a creative district in Port-au-Prince.
We have juxtaposed this with a background on the city’s art industry, identifying pre-existing
creative hubs and the challenges related to these spaces.
Based on desk-research and field interviews, this report has provided both general guidelines
and district-specific recommendations for the IDB should it decide to invest in Port-au-Prince’s
Orange Economy. Under our location-specific guidelines, we outline two possible strategies:
1. Should the IDB decide to build up one singular district, we recommend investing in
Village Noailles as it is currently the most developed and organized creative area.
Despite requiring less funding due to pre-existing infrastructure, transportation issues
seem to be the biggest challenge.
2. Should the Bank decide to launch an initiative to upgrade multiple creative districts,
we recommend focusing on Village Noailles, Bel Air and Grand Rue. This should be
accompanied by upgrading infrastructure, promoting business/marketing abilities,
collaborating with the tourism industry and increasing connectivity of organizations in
the sector.
There is a huge potential for the establishment of a creative district in Port-au-Prince as a
development tool. Neighborhood-based art in Haiti is a strong source of pride for local residents,
and the city is gifted with several spaces where creativity thrives. As Glissant (1989) illustrates:
Haitan painting challenges the magical notion of ‘authenticity’ in art. It is a community
endeavour. An entire people’s discourse. (p.157)

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9. Appendix
Appendix 1: Itinerary

Date Interviewee/Activity Relevance

Meet researcher Dr. Pascale Dr. Jaunay’s area of expertise is Haitian
Jaunay Culture, currently working as a consultant
researcher for the IDB in analysing
the valorization of the Haitian Orange
economy. Meeting her has essential to
become familiar with the current research
on creative industries in Haiti holds.
Monday Introduction to neighborhoods of Dr. Jaunay introduced us to the different
19/02/18 Port-Au-Prince neighborhoods so we could have an initial
idea of distances, infrastructure, and
differences between areas, among other
preliminary perceptions.
Visit the Nader Gallery To become familiar with Haitian fine art,
acquiring knowledge of styles, prices, and
different artists, as well as the functioning
of the art market in Haiti.
Visit the Comité Artisanal Haïtien To become familiar with Haitian handicrafts
and understand the potential of a local
retail point with the purpose of promoting
handicrafts. Likewise, an initial assessment
of prices was made.
Visit the Centre D’art and To get information about how cultural
interview the education and institutions like the Centre D’art helps the
outreach manager promotion and development of creative
Tuesday Interview with Axelle Liautaud Axelle Liautaid is an important figure in
20/02/18 the arts and culture scene in Haiti. She is
a Chairperson of the board of the Centre
D’art, an art collector, a designer herself,
and a promoter of Haitian art abroad.
Interview with André Eugène André Eugène is an internationally
recognized Haitian scupture whose cultural
projects, such as the Ghetto Biennale event
and the artist collective Atis Rezistans, are
of great relevance in the promotion of local

Date Interviewee/Activity Relevance
Interview with Eddy Rémy from The metal work practiced in the Village
the Association des artistes Noailles of Croix-des-Bouquets is an
et artisans de la Croix-des- example of creativity linked to location,
Bouquets (ADAAC) becoming a relevant location and
organization to visit.
21/02/18 Interview with designer Pascale Pascale Théard is an internationally
Théard recognized Haitian fashion designer,
whose use of traditional Haitian patterns
and motives with contemporary design
were relevant in understanding how to keep
traditions alive in a profitable scenario.
Visit the Musée du Panthéon To continue learning about Haitian history
National Haïtien (MUPANAH) and art, as well as seeing a cultural
institution like a museum working in Port-
Au-Prince to analyse its functioning.
Interview with Rose-May The CIAT is the key organisation within
Guignard, urban planner from the Haitian government dedicated to
the Comité Interministériel urban planning. A project dealing with the
d’Aménagement du Territoire development of a creative district needs
(CIAT) their input.
Thursday Attend conference on To get to know how public spaces and
22/02/18 Reclaiming public spaces for the artistic expression are linked was very
cultural and artistic expression: useful to our topic of research. Getting
the case of Freedom Park to understand two case studies, one in a
of Lagos, Nigeria, and of the developing country similar to our context of
Parc de Martissant of Port-Au- interest and one actually in Port-au-Prince,
Prince, Haiti, by the Fondasyon was a valuable opportunity. Moreover,
Konesans Ak Libète (Fokal) Fokal is an important institution in the
context of Haitian culture, as they are
involved in many promotion events for arts
and crafts (such as this conference).
Interview with Yves César from The Bel Air neighborhood was known
the Coordination des Artistes et traditionally as a creative center, hence
Artisans du Bel Air (CAABEL) linking creativity and location.
and artists from the organization

Interview with Frantz Duval, Le Nouvelliste is the only daily newspaper

Friday editor in chief, and Jean Max in Haiti. A broader vision of Haitian culture
23/02/18 Chauvet, director of operations, from a related sector such as media is
from Le Nouvelliste newspaper useful as a key informant.
Visit Anacaona soap recycling Anacaona is a new startup with a
start-up social purpose. Their experiences with
entrepreneurship in Haiti could help us
understand issues of state capacity and