Jack Schultz, Boomtown USA, has some terrific questions to ask about Promoting the Arts & Beauty of your Area.
“What can you do to send gifts of beauty from your town?” was the challenge that Gerald Yoshitomi asked of the participants at the FHLB Conference in Sioux Falls, SD. He discussed a number of innovative programs around the country, including the Paducah, KY one to attract artists into a dilapidated part of town, which has been a tremendous success.
He asked, “Why doesn’t Montana which has more people with hunting and fishing licenses for non-residents than there are residents in the state, promote wildlife art to those license holders?”
Yoshitomi also told of Pittsfield, MA which is taking empty store fronts and giving them to artists for six month periods as a way to generate traffic into an anemic downtown. Could you do this in your downtown?
As he was talking I wondered why we couldn’t each get a photographer in our hometowns to take a weekly photo of local art, natural beauty or other attribute of the area. What if we sent such a photo to everyone in town, asking them to forward it onto those who live outside of the area, but with ties to the area? Could this be used to help generate interest in our hometowns?
Wayne State University maintains a think tank on this issue, the Center for Arts and Public Policy, profiled in the Detroit Free Press.
Cultural offerings aren’t just a way to promote tourism, Magidson says. A strong arts climate in a city makes a difference in who comes to work there. If they have a choice, well-educated workers, people who tend to be interested in music, theatre, dance, and visual arts, “won’t want to go to a place where there are no opportunities for their children” to enjoy the same things they do.
Cheap housing may attract people to a community at first, Magidson says, “but why live in a place where the housing is inexpensive but all you do is watch cable TV?”
Besides its research services, CAPP has a Web site, www.capp-wsu.org, which, among other things, offers “50 Great Arts and Culture Ideas (and 4 Not So Great).”
If arts and culture is a possible draw for your community, now you have some ideas to start with!
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.