Thursday, March 3, 2011

Creative Industries Evolution

Looking up into the gold dome that
tops our state capitol. 

 I spent Tuesday at the Colorado State Capital as a participant in Creative Industries Day.  Who knew we had a "Creative Industries Day"?!  We do.  It was informative and insightful. 
I was part of a great group of volunteers and city staff representing Lafayette.  We were fortunate enough to meet with both our State Senator and our Representative to discuss how these issues impact our community and share the successes of our efforts.  We have so much to be proud of!

Last year the Colorado state government created the Creative Industries Division as part of the state Office of Economic Development.  Wait!  Creative Industries (a.k.a. Art) can be considered part of economic development for a state?  Absurd!  But, is it so absurd?
Actually, Colorado ranks 5th in the nation in a concentration of creative occupations, and the creative sector is the 5th largest employment cluster with 186,000 jobs.  (source Colorado's Creative Economy, . 
Creative industries includes all sorts of artistic endeavors including the traditional performing and visual arts as well as film, TV, design, media technology and is as far reaching as fashion and the craft (gourmet) food and beverage industry.  Colorado has recognized that these industries are a driving force in our economy and they should be supported.  These businesses help support other economic growth, like tourism, as well as improving the overall quality of life of those living in Colorado.

Art is in every inch of the Colorado Capitol. 
This photo looks up at the
door of the Senate Chambers
This poses some interesting questions and dilemmas.  For the business minded person, there may need to be a shift in their view of the arts.  Really, a healthy community arts program can encourage economic growth and improve the bottom line for a community. This is a shift to now say: Fund the Arts!
For the artist, who may be opposed to the "establishment,"  the government and community support may be the way to gain a foot hold in a struggling economy.  Fund the Arts!
For the community member who may  have never looked at a "statue" as a piece of public art, who may have never been to a museum or cultural event, a rise in those creative industries may stimulate a boost in their local economy.  The new definition of Creative Industries included "craft food and beverage," which in simple language, craft breweries are part of Creative Industries.  Colorado is #2 in the country for the most craft beer produced. Fund the Arts!
Ok, I should get off my soap box.  But let me share the points that resonated most with me:
  • Colorado is a creative and artistic state.  And that's recognized by the state.
  • Arts industries can stimulate and revitalize a damaged economy.
  • While we are 5th in the nation for arts, Colorado is also 50th in the nation in funding arts education in public school.  (Shame on us!  But I will save that rant for another day)
  • While our funding is lacking, we should do all we can to support arts in the schools. 
  • Science, technology and art may go hand in hand.
  • Communities can and should use the arts to stimulate economic growth.

I will stop here, but I would encourage you to read more.  To do your own reading about the impact of arts on an economy and on education take a look at some of these resources.

In Colorado:

1 comment:

  1. Rachel, thanks for writing about our amazing day at the Capital. The arts are rocking out in Lafayette. Thanks for being a part of dance. Cheers! SB