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Paonia Space to Create launches arts market survey

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Photo by Tamie Meck From left, Ryan Strand, Olivia White, Natasha Meader and Phil Wassell take the online Space to Create Arts Market Survey last Thursday at a survey launch party at Poulos Park in Paonia. The survey is designed to get an overview of the

They came for the Ollie's Ice Cream, but Paonia eighth-grade students Olivia White and Natasha Meader said they will pay more attention to the growing local arts scene after taking the Space to Create Paonia online survey. "I like how they're trying to improve the community with the survey and with ice cream," said White after completing the survey last Thursday evening at a launch party and ice cream social at Poulos Park.

Paonia Space to Create (S2C) is a partnership between the Town of Paonia, and the North Fork Valley Creative Coalition, along with the national ArtSpace and several funding organizations. Paonia is the third Colorado community chosen for participation in the state-driven initiative. The survey is intended to help advance plans for affordable work and live space in Paonia for the creative sector and get an overview of the space needs and preferences of individual artists, creative sector workers and the general public.

Both practicing and non-practicing members of the public are invited to complete the survey, which will provide a broad range of opinions about the level of community interest in the project. "A lot of the creative component is hinged on the survey," and where the community sees the most need, said Susie Kaldis Lowe, who serves on the S2C executive team with town administrator Ken Knight, Elaine Brett, Mary Bachran, and town trustee Karen Budinger.

Because the committee believes in providing a facility that can benefit the broader community, "We really pushed to make this survey friendly to anyone in the community to take, not just the creative sector."

The survey was created by ArtSpace, which has a template it uses across the country to determine whether an affordable live/work space is feasible, said Lowe. The S2C committee spent about three weeks reviewing the survey and determined that the ability to collect broader community input was missing. Does the community want the space to provide educational opportunities, recreation, general meeting space, space for teenagers? "What gap could Space 2 Create fill in for the community?"

Over the weekend almost 200 surveys were completed between the launch party and at the Creative Coalition booth during the Mountain Harvest Festival. "This is exactly what we expected," said Lowe.

Space 2 Create also wants creative sector members living outside of Paonia to take the survey and is reaching out to Delta, Montrose, Carbondale, Crested Butte and Mesa County, as well as other creative districts across the state for responses. Because the survey allows for written responses, users have the opportunity to comment outside of clicking on a box.

The survey takes about 20 minutes to complete and will be available through Nov. 7. The Paonia Library will have a link to the survey on its public computers. To take the survey, visit www.PaoniaSpaceToCreateSurvey.com

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