What do you think of when you hear “creative community”? In New Hampshire, creative community is one where community arts organizers, local and regional planners, business leaders, municipal officials and economic development professionals understand the connection between creative industries and community economic vitality. Here in the Granite State, many local and regional governments are recognizing the importance of arts and culture to community development, and data from the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) shows that non-profit arts and cultural enterprises are big business here, with annual direct spending of $139 million!
The NH Division of Travel and Tourism Resources, recognizing the importance of arts, culture and history to the state’s tourism industry and economy, has developed a number of Culture Itineraries to please almost any interest, and Van McLeod, Commissioner of the NH Department of Cultural Resources, routinely holds Roundtables that bring visitor industry pros and arts and cultural organizations together to share ideas and find ways to collaborate.
The New Hampshire Creative Communities Network, initiated in partnership with the State Arts Council in 2010, is a statewide, cross-sector consortium of organizations and municipal agencies working together to educate community leaders/members and those working in other sectors about the creative economy, and how arts and culture and the creative industries that comprise it enrich New Hampshire communities. It has developed a number of useful tools, including a Creative Communities Toolkit and a Guide to Creating an Arts and Cultural Master Plan. Both are available for download on the Network’s website.
NEFA is also leading the way in the creative economy discussion with events like the Creative Communities Exchange (CCX), which will take place in June 2015 in Keene. The CCX, which rotates to different New England communities, highlights a wide range of successful initiatives from around New England that leverage the local creative sector for revitalization and growth of the broader community. We look forward to many New Hampshire arts, community and governmental organizations sharing their stories and ideas at the 2015 CCX, including:
Arts Alive! (Keene area)
Arts Alliance of Northern New Hampshire (North Country)
Art Esprit (Rochester)
Art-Speak – Portsmouth Cultural Commission (Seacoast Area)
Children’s Museum of New Hampshire (Dover)
City Arts Nashua
Dover Arts Commission
Greater Meredith Program
Manchester Arts and Culture Roundtable
Manchester Economic Development Office
Nashua Arts Commission
New Hampshire Business Committee for the Arts
Portsmouth Economic Development Program
Rochester Main Street Program
Upper Valley Arts Alliance
Images (top to bottom): Claremont 250 Sculpture, Nashua Art Walk, Littleton Art Fair, Meredith Sculpture Walk
February 5, 2015