Colorado Creative Industries Announces 2014 Creative District Application Process

Colorado Creative Industries (CCI) today announced it will accept letters of interest from towns, cities and neighborhood groups seeking formal designation from the State of Colorado as a Certified Creative District from Jan. 6 through March 3, 2014.

Up to 15 creative districts will be invited to submit a full application to join the Creative District Certification Program, and CCI will select up to five of the applicants into the program. These creative districts will work toward certification for two years and are called Candidates for Creative District Certification. This two-year incubator style program offers Candidate Districts a number of benefits including direct funding, professional assistance, training and networking with peers. Once the districts have completed the two-year training, they will be eligible to apply to become Colorado Certified.

Up to seven Creative Districts that are already in the Creative District Program will be certified in 2014. The Districts eligible to apply for certification in 2014 are: 40 West Arts District (Lakewood), Aurora Cultural Arts District, Downtown Colorado Springs, Greeley Creative District, Longmont Arts and Entertainment District, Old Town Parker and RiNo Art District (Denver). These districts have completed two years of training to develop their capacity and sustainability, and if certified in 2014 they will also be eligible to receive a Boettcher Leadership Award.

“The state’s newly designated Creative Districts are capitalizing on Colorado’s creative assets to grow their local economy and to improve the quality of life for their residents,” said Tim Schultz, president and executive director of the Boettcher Foundation. “We want to help them be successful and sustainable over the long-term, and we look forward to the Boettcher Creative District Leadership Awards taking them even further along the road to success.”

Applications will be reviewed by a panel of professionals with experience in arts and creative industries, city planning, economic development, and business development. Panelists will assess applications based primarily on district characteristics, management and planning, and community buy-in.

Detailed information and application guidelines are available at http://www.coloradocreativeindustries.org/communities/creative-district-certification.

Initiated in 2011, the Colorado Creative District Program first certified Denver’s Arts District on Santa Fe and Downtown Salida in 2012. In 2013, an additional five districts were granted state certification: Corazon de Trinidad, North Fork Valley Creative District, Pueblo Creative Corridor, Ridgway Creative District and Telluride Arts District.

“The goal of this program is to help Colorado Creative Districts achieve the administrative structure, funding streams, community engagement process, strategic plan and staff structure that provide both immediate sustainability and opportunities to evolve,” said Margaret Hunt, director of CCI.

The legislation encourages the formation of creative districts in communities, neighborhoods or contiguous geographic areas, 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.

About Colorado Creative Industries
Colorado is a magnet for creative enterprises and creative workers. Indeed, with almost 8,000 businesses and 186,000 jobs, the creative sector comprises the state’s 5th largest employment cluster. Colorado’s Creative Industries Division, within the Office of Economic Development and International Trade, was established in July 2010 to capitalize on the immense potential for our creative sector to enhance economic growth in Colorado, the mission of Colorado Creative Industries is to promote, support and expand the creative industries to drive Colorado’s economy, grow jobs and enhance our quality of life. For more information, visit www.coloradocreativeindustries.org.

About the Boettcher Foundation
For almost 75 years the Boettcher Foundation has served the people of Colorado by helping to build community infrastructure through capital grantmaking and investing in young minds through its Scholarship Program. In virtually every community throughout the state, the Foundation has partnered with outstanding nonprofits to make a difference in people's lives. The Foundation believes that this is what the Boettcher family intended when they gave their wealth to establish the Foundation for the benefit of the citizens of Colorado. For more information, visit www.boettcherfoundation.org.