I attended another Creative Economy event yesterday afternoon at the D.C. Economic Partnership. The Partnership works to build business in D.C., and they seem to have a mature vision. They are a major partner in the District’s ongoing Creative Economy study, which is assessing the existing creative economy (artists, performers, graphic designers, chefs, film-makers, web-designers, etc.) and will conclude with a set of guidelines or recommendations for future development.
At this point they’ve gathered the data, and are now figuring out what to do about it/do with it. In motivating both private investment and government spending the Creative Economy study could have a real impact on the city for years to come. The event yesterday included presentations by five panelists, including the Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and residents of Sunderland, England (one of the Districts Sister Cities.) Sunderland apparently has a vibrant arts sector, and several members of that community offered their thoughts on why/how that is. The Creative Economy study is gathering facts, but it is also gathering ideas. Yesterday was an idea session.
Here (un-attributed – sorry I forgot my notebook) are some of the ideas that grabbed my attention, in no particular order, and without any endorsement.
- Development aiming for lots of middle class returns, middle class jobs, v. development aiming for the big score
- Government instigating small business/arts business development instead of funding or creating
- Creation of a Sponsors Club for the Arts connecting business to local artists
- Creation of visual artist/poet in residence programs inside the offices of larger businesses. Providing some stipend, office space, value-added to office culture
- Is export of goods/services from arts community the right measure of success?
- Creation of a Creatives Office Park, including non-creative, creatives, and artists work space — Innovation Lab
- Arts as part of Small Business community, period, and the bet on creatives as a sector for investment/support
- Creative sector aligning with educational and community missions – example of Gallaudet and the creation of a floor that produces sound everyone could experience. Were in the same world