A creative discussionHow creative is Red Wing’s economy? It is a complex question, but it’s one a group of locals is trying to answer — and then take one step further.
By: Danielle Killey, The Republican Eagle
How creative is Red Wing’s economy?
It is a complex question, but it’s one a group of locals is trying to answer — and then take one step further.
“A lot of communities are really beginning to recognize the value” of the creative economy, said John Becker, part of the Red Wing Creative Economy study group and president of Downtown Main Street. The group is hoping to capitalize on that by finding out how creative the local economy is and then coming up with ideas to improve and expand it.
On Thursday evening, roughly 70 people filled a room at the Anderson Center for a discussion on the creative economy facilitated by the group.
“This is the first of several dialogues we hope to have,” Becker said.
A creative economy involves industries such as arts, publishing, design and engineering and utilizes human creativity.
Jack Becker, executive director of Forecast Public Art in St. Paul, discussed the importance of public art and government involvement.
There are more than 300 city, county or state-run art programs across the country, he said. Public artists also can work with city officials, staff and others to find a way to collaborate in “co-creating a sense of pride in a place that we call home,” he said.
“You need to look at the goals of a city and how they intersect with the arts community,” he said.
Mayor Dennis Egan was present along with some city staff and leaders. He noted that local officials do want to be involved in improving the creative economy.
“We want to be engaged,” he said.
Gulgun Kayim, director of arts, culture and creative economy in Minneapolis, said that city is currently working on ways to measure the effects of the arts and other creative enterprises on the local economy.
“Art and artists are economic drivers in and of themselves,” she said.
Minneapolis is working on something called the creative vitality index that will measure the revenues, jobs and participation in the arts. That will allow for ongoing, measureable data to be collected and analyzed, she said.
Kayim said she hopes the measurements also will help conversations about the value of the arts and creative economy.
When it comes to highlighting and growing the work of artists and other creative industries, however, each community is different.
“Developing a creative economy is really place-specific,” she said.
Port Authority Director Randy Olson, who facilitated a question-and-answer session after the presentations, said he is impressed by the work of the study group and the “benchmarking” efforts members have made by visiting various communities and compiling data in their report.
The Red Wing Creative Economy study group was awarded $4,000 from the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation after the Idea Slam in January. Other groups are contributing to the project as well. Their report must be complete by Sept. 1.