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Old City Named One Of Top 12 'Art Places' Of 2013

By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Many in these parts already knew it, but Philadelphia's Old City is getting national attention, as one of 12 neighborhoods in America in which art is thriving.

The national arts collaboration 'ArtPlace' is recognizing neighborhoods where the arts are central to creating places where people - residents and visitors - want to be.

"Being in the arts community has helped brand us," says Ellen Yin, the owner of Fork Restaurant, near Third and Market Streets. Yin says Fork is designed and run to be linked to the arts.

"We associate ourselves as a restaurant that's very urban, very downtown."

Heidi Nivling and Larry Becker with MoMA the cat, in front of a painting by Michael Toenges, at Larry Becker Contemporary Art on North 2nd Street. (Credit: Steve Tawa)

Around the corner on North 2nd Street, Larry Becker and Heidi Nivling are the owners and directors of Larry Becker Contemporary Art. Becker says Old City blossomed organically.

"The development of the neighborhood was done with natural chemistry. It wasn't a city planner. It just happened."

Nivling says it's like a European setting, "You show contemporary art that's serious. It's not frivolous. We're very passionate about it, but the gallery is kind of informal."

Terry Nolan, co-founder of the Arden Theater Company on North 2nd Street says, "The number of artists who live in this community and the number of arts-related businesses is just remarkable."

ArtPlace says 93% are independent businesses.

To read more about ArtPlace and see the other cities named to the list, click here.

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