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Mall traffic began declining in the late 1990s, and the last new mall was built in 2006, according to Smithsonian. With the ease of online ordering, Amazon Prime’s free shipping, and personal shopping services like Stitch Fix and Trunk Club, it’s not hard to see what’s catalyzing the decline of ‘the mall.’ How to fix this? Many malls have implemented arts-focused efforts to bring the foot traffic back.

The Los Angeles Times polled readers last year (although the number of individuals polled was not included in the findings) and found that it would be a “cheap space” for artists and actors. Oh, and let’s not forget you can be a Writer-in-Residence at the Mall of America. This art-loving trend is not just surfacing in the States. China rolled out a special arts exhibition at a Hong Kong mall last year to “lure customers.”

This same pattern has surfaced in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Read my latest article in INDY Week about downtown Chapel Hill’s FRANK Gallery Arts Collective and their relocation to University Place (formerly University Mall). (On page 18 of the print edition.)

FRANK Gallery Chapel Hill

FRANK Gallery’s new digs in University Place.

Visit the FRANK Gallery’s grand re-opening event this Friday, February 9th at 6p. They are now located in University Place, 201 South Estes Drive, across from Planet Fitness.