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Author: The BCW

WIN’s City Labs initiative Begins Peekskill Economic Development Project

Marsha Gordon, left, with Iona University professors and students who will work on the City Labs project in Peekskill. Photo courtesy of the BCW.

BCW’s Westchester Innovation Network (WIN) has launched its fourth City Labs project with the City of Peekskill and Iona University to study how public art can propel economic development.

Students in Iona’s Introduction to Ideation and Design Thinking class will spend several weeks meeting with stakeholders in Peekskill’s arts community and neighborhoods to learn about residents’ vision for developing the city as an arts destination. The Iona students are expected to deliver their final report the second week of December.

“Our students are paired with a local municipality to supply ideation design thinking skills to solve a real community problem,” said Rob Kissner, GaelVentures Program Manager at Iona University’s Hynes Institute for Entrepreneurship & Innovation. “We’re going to apply our creativity and brainstorm some innovative solutions for how we can leverage public art installations to facilitate community building, economic development and tourism.”

The Iona-Peekskill City Labs collaboration is one of WIN’s three efforts to propel innovation as the underpinning for the future economic growth of Westchester. WIN’s City Labs spotlights a host community and teams that municipality with individuals focused on identifying projects to assist in delivering immediate economic benefit to that community and its residents through innovation.

“Thank you for coming in with all your efforts and looking at our fabulous art, what Peekskill can do in terms of the art that we’re looking to produce more moving forward, and how we want to market our city,” Peekskill Mayor Vivian C. McKenzie told the students on October 26. “We know that art really does produce economics, so we’re looking to draw on that and fortify our city.”

WIN’s City Labs initiative launched in 2022. To date, Iona students have completed projects in Mount Vernon, New Rochelle and Yonkers.

“We work to create economic opportunities for everyone. This initiative is designed to help brand Westchester as a place where innovation is the cornerstone for economic development,” BCW President and CEO Marsha Gordon told the students on October 26 at Peekskill City Hall. “What we really encourage you to do is think outside the box about what could be innovative and what could be different here to make Peekskill stand out.”

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