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Toward A Creative Arts District You Can Help In Just Six Minutes

art-townCreative Arts Districts enliven a community’s residents with greater engagement in the arts. Creative Arts Districts are also powerful tools for promoting a community to both artists and visitors. As we approach the Centennial of Rocky Mountain National Park, we have a unique opportunity to improve our promotion of the arts. Estes Park clearly has the arts resources to do so: non-profit arts groups, galleries, artists, creative businesses, and restaurants, hotels, nonprofits and retailers that support artists and art events. The formation of a Creative Arts District is a logical way of publicizing that fact.

A study commissioned by the National Endowment for the Arts found that Colorado ranks 5th among all states for concentration of artists. The study categorizes creative industries into six sub-groups: design, film and media, heritage, literary and publishing, performing arts, and visual arts and crafts. Colorado’s strengths are design, literary and publishing, and film and media, which represent 73% of all creative industry jobs.

Estes Park is well represented in all these creative subgroups. The creative arts, broadly defined, extend far beyond traditional arts categories. Examples of arts and culture in our community include: the Visual Arts (two-dimensional art); Sculpture (three-dimensional art); Music; Written Literature (both fiction and non-fiction); Theater, Dance; Retailers (those who sell various kinds of art or crafts, as well as art supplies); Art Galleries; Games & Sports; Culinary Arts; the Occupational Arts (such as architecture, advertising, graphic design, software development); Celebrations and Events (area events that include arts and cultural activities); and finally, spaces for Events and Exhibits (such as restaurants, music venues, the Stanley Fairgrounds).

Steps to Success. Step One toward formation of a successful Creative Arts District (a survey of existing arts organizations) has been completed. The cost of the survey itself is being defrayed by the Town of Estes Park which has also offered to support the pursuit of a grant to fund the creation of a Creative Arts District. Those who responded were virtually unanimous that a Creative Arts District would be a positive benefit to Estes Park. “Yes,” commented one respondent; “we need to promote the artistic community in a single coordinated effort.” “I represent over 50 artists and most of them are in the Estes Park area,” commented another. “We need to support this industry.” Such refrains run throughout the responses received. A few respondents wanted to learn more.

Step Two (an inventory of existing individual artists and the businesses that promote them) is now underway. Interested individuals are invited to complete the brief on-line open-ended survey accessed through the following link:

We would like to complete Step Two by January 3, 2014 so that the Creative Arts initiative can move ahead with Step Three, a meeting of respondents and other interested individuals to decide upon and form a group that can guide the effort forward.

A fully realized Creative Arts District would allow Estes Park to achieve the following goals:

• Enhance Estes Park’s image and reputation as a creative community for guests and residents alike.

• Help to ensure a unified arts calendar for all of Estes Park’s arts groups and arts activities that can be easily accessed by both residents and guests.

• Expand collaborative partnership opportunities for individual artists and arts groups.

• Enhance our physical appearance and quality of life by encouraging additional public expression and representation of the creative arts.

The survey is brief and open-ended. It has been designed to provide an opportunity for individuals to sharer their ideas with the Interim Creative Arts District Steering Committee.

Please complete this survey by January 3, 2014. A public meeting will be scheduled for early January to pursue next steps.

Thank you for your consideration. If you have any questions, please contact us at

Sincerely yours,

Estes Park Creative Arts District Interim Steering Committee:

Derek Fortini

Jon Nicholas

James Pickering

Adam Shake


© 2014 Estes Park News, Inc

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