Art Works in Colorado
Synchro-Mesh #2 by Floyd D. Tunson, a Colorado native. Photo courtesy of Floyd D. Tunson
Colorado is excited to host the prestigious Aspen Ideas Fest this week. It?s fitting that not only is Colorado a stage for U.S. and world leaders to explore important new ideas, Colorado itself is in the vanguard---our 40-year-old State Arts Council just became the new Creative Industries Division of the Office of Economic Development.
Is this really such a big deal, or just a government shuffle? I must admit, like so many public processes, it did start with a study and an advisory panel. Two years ago, we learned the creative sector is our state?s fifth largest employment cluster, right behind bio-science and information technology. This past winter, sixty creative industry leaders told us the state could help their businesses thrive and grow if we did a better job promoting our creative assets, improving access to financial support, and increasing professional development and networking among creatives.
This fall, we plan to launch a campaign that will enlighten Colorado citizens about the size and impact of our creative sector and its potential to provide our state significant economic growth. Our model is Colorado?s ?new energy economy,? which was Governor Ritter?s priority, and for which Colorado has now been recognized nationally.
We will still offer grant support to nonprofit arts and cultural groups, but now we will also help commercial creatives like designers, publishers, and media companies access more traditional business finance and support, such as rural loan funds, enterprise zone tax credits, and job training incentives. We hope to help local governments and community coalitions launch creative business incubators and increase business training for creatives. We also want to step beyond our former role as a convener of nonprofit arts managers, and help all creatives to network more.
As the Aspen Ideas Fest attendees will learn this week, Coloradans are open to new ideas. We don?t say ?Why?"---we say ?Why Not?? and we jump right in!