Members of the Creative Coalition visited the Paonia Town Council on Feb. 26. They presented information on their application to become certified as the North Fork Valley Creative District by the state.
They are currently certified as an Emerging Creative District. They asked the council to approve a resolution in support of the creative district certification.
Karen Good, who owns the Elsewhere Studios in Paonia and is a member of the coalition, explained that the creative district certification will give the many talented people in the North Fork Valley needed support. The state looks at local community and government support as one of its criteria for the certification.
Susie Kaldis is the group's co-ordinator and also works with the Blue Sage Center for the Arts. The North Fork Valley Creative Coalition received a $2,000 grant and technical support with their Emerging Creative District designation. The coalition created a directory of 96 listings of creative practitioners and organizations in the North Fork Valley. Their survey found that there are over 170 creative practitioners in the valley. The coalition completed an in-depth marketing plan in 2012 and represented the North Fork Valley at the Creative Industries Conference. The coalition wants to hire a branding and marketing consultant. They also hired a professional coach to help the coalition with their structure and organization and working with local governments. The coalition won a $1,000 Small Steps Grant from Colorado Creative Industries for the marketing plan.
Sarah Rodriguez said the creative coalition is using creative assets already in the North Fork Valley. The coalition wants to grow the economic opportunity here by supporting the businesses that already exist, increasing revenue from events that the coalition hosts and creating vibrant downtown business areas.
Secondly, the coalition wants to nurture creative networking, create opportunity for youth, encourage self-sufficiency, improve and educate local creatives on how to market themselves globally and increase the beauty in public places, encourage the local heritage and public performance.
Alexis Halbert, who is the president of the Paonia Chamber of Commerce, spoke in favor of the Creative Coalition. The chamber sees the certification of the North Fork Valley as a Creative District as a way to attract more tourists to the valley, increase the visibility of the artists, bring more money to the economy and improve their internet marketing.
Trustee Eric Goold said he supports their cause and wants their creative values to be part of the town's comprehensive plan.
Trustee Amber Kleinman volunteered to serve on the Creative Coalition board.
Mayor Neal Schwieterman noted the Creative District would help the people currently working in the arts.
The council unanimously approved the resolution. The town clerk will provide baseline information on sales tax to the coalition which is required to document the economic impact of the local artists.