URBAN RENEWAL AND PUEBLO PERFORMING ARTS GUILD RECEIVE CERTIFICATION FOR COLORADO PROSPECTIVE ART DISTRICT
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
(Pueblo, CO – Friday, March 9 , 2012)
Gov. John Hickenlooper today announced Pueblo as a prospective Colorado Creative District. In addition to Pueblo, the town of Ridgway, Telluride, Longmont, and Denver’s Rive North Art District, will each receive an $8,000 grant and assistance to attract artists, creative entrepreneurs and visitors as a strategy to infuse new energy and innovation and enhance the economic and civic capital of the community. The program is administered by the Office of Economic Development and International Trade through the Colorado Creative Industries division. The two Creative District designations went to Downtown Salida and Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe, who will each receive a $15,000 grant.
“Colorado is filled with vibrant centers of commerce, culture and creativity, and is a magnet for creative workers,” Hickenlooper said. “The formation of Creative Districts provides visitors and residents with an opportunity to participate and invest in the arts, while contributing to the economic vitality of the region and attracting creative entrepreneurs and artists.”
The Pueblo Urban Renewal Authority (PURA) and the Pueblo Performing Arts Guild (PPAG) suggested the boundaries for the Creative Arts District are based on the footprint of Pueblo's First Friday Art Walk which began 22 years ago as a grassroots endeavor among artists in Pueblo.
This area includes key arts & culture anchors, the Sangre de Cristo Arts Center, El Pueblo History Museum, Historic Federal Building, Rawlings Library, Union Avenue Historic District, Historic Union Depot, Riverwalk, and Buell Children's Museum. These anchors are woven together by private and co-op art galleries, Art & Soul Street Gallery, creative industries, bookstores, cafes, restaurants, and artist work/live space. Additionally, this area provides numerous public gathering spaces accented by sculpture and fountains by local artists.
“The Prospective Creative District designation by Colorado Creative Industries and the State of Colorado‘s Office of Economic Development and International Trade is a recognition of the growth and diversity of downtown Pueblo’s creative and artistic community.”, says John R. Batey, AICP, Executive Director of the Pueblo Urban Renewal Authority. “By recognizing and capitalizing upon the economic potential of the creative industries, Pueblo can enhance the revitalization of downtown including some of our most historic and iconic structures such as the Memorial Hall Performing Arts Theater and other downtown performing arts buildings. Pueblo is ahead of the curve statewide in terms of recognizing the arts as a vital part of our downtown economy.”
“The creative industries in Pueblo are proving to be an undeniable force in the revitalization of downtown Pueblo. This State recognition is a resounding pat on the back for the collaborative efforts of individuals, businesses, city planners, and non-profit organizations that have participated in forming the vision of a Pueblo arts district.” The Executive Director of PPAG, Susan Fries, continues, “The momentum of these efforts continues to increase and our community can expect that this is just the beginning of the renaissance of our city center.”
Forty-four different districts from 25 counties within Colorado applied for the designation. In addition to the two Certified Creative Districts, and the five Prospective Creative Districts; eight were designated as Emerging Creative Districts and will each receive $2,000 and technical assistance to further their district planning.
In 2011, Gov. Hickenlooper signed legislation that encourages the formation of Creative Districts in communities for the purposes of attracting creative entrepreneurs and artists to a community, infusing new energy and innovation which in turn will enhance the economic and civic capital of the community; creating hubs of economic activity, thereby enhancing the area as an appealing place to live, visit and conduct business, as well as create new economic activity; attracting visitors; revitalizing and beautifying communities; providing a focal point for celebrating and strengthening a community’s unique identity; and showcasing cultural and artistic organizations, events, and amenities.
Nine other states have recently developed this economic development strategy of developing programs to certify such districts (Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Texas).
Applications were reviewed by a panel of professionals with experience in arts and creative industries, city planning, economic development, and business development. Panelists assessed applications based primarily on district characteristics, management and planning, and community support.
For more information, visit www.coloradocreativeindustries.org.
PURA was formed in 1959 to revitalize Pueblo and eliminate influences which serve to constrict market forces and prevent development. PURA is a governmental entity enabled by the Colorado State Statute and established by the Pueblo municipal government. URAP derives its primary source of revenue from Tax Increment Financing (TIF), which is then used to help stimulate development by using a wide variety of techniques. PURA currently participates in a multitude of projects, either by offering direct incentives to private developers, utilizing public/private partnerships, or by directly investing in public improvements.
PPAG's mission is to promote the production, enjoyment, and collaboration of the arts for the purposes of economic development and an enriched quality of life in Pueblo. PPAG is a non-profit organization that exists to provide support to its membership in the form of (1) collaborating for marketing, performances, and education opportunities, (2) raising awareness in the community as to the availability of local and regional arts productions and events, and (3) promoting and providing sustainable infrastructure for the creative industries. PPAG’s vision is to create a downtown arts district.