Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts


Interior Design

First Advisor

Roberto Ventura


Rural towns often do not see community developments geared towards creating public spaces for multi-cultural experiences, the arts and recreation. Instead small towns are more exposed to commercial properties coming in and out the area. Introducing public spaces that offer various community activities and events will benefit people’s human and social capital. Human capital meaning skills and knowledge. Social capital meaning advantages and skills that come from interpersonal engagements (Anderson, 2004). Community centers designed for the unique needs of small towns can house programming to introduce new and rewarding opportunities for community engagement and personal development. Existing buildings within the community hold the potential to serve as community centers and adaptable interior spaces can add to a variety of programming options. The problem is the lack of community development geared towards creating public spaces for multi-cultural experiences, the arts and recreation. Small towns have limited exposure to diverse activities, events, skills sets and knowledge, along with limited spaces to support such. However older public building within small towns exist that are not being occupied or utilized to serve the community. People within small towns therefore are often restricted from acquiring a broad range of experiences and skills.

To address this problem, evaluation of the current community state is necessary. This will reveal what opportunities are present and which are missing in terms of community engagement. Interviews, focus groups, and surveys are methods to gain information from the inhabitants of small towns. A diverse selection of participations will allow information to be more reflective of a wide range of ages groups, racial groups, and economic gr2wwoups. I plan to reach out to local schools for the students and staff member for participants in interviews, focus groups and electronic surveys. Examination of unoccupied buildings in small towns will reveal what facilities are available to house a potential community center. From that also assess if the interior spaces could incorporate adaptable design systems. Altogether this research will support the importance of community art centers in rural areas that offer adaptive reuse of historical building. In addition expose how the design of these building and programming show seek to support the unique needs of small towns.


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