Grand County creatives form coalition to boost industry
From the ArtSpace project in Grand Lake to plans for the Fraser Center for the Creative Arts, a new coalition hopes to help guide Grand County’s growing art scene into a flourishing industry.
The Grand Creative Coalition formed this month and launched an online survey to try to get an overview of creatives and artists in Grand County. Headed by Grand County Economic Development Director DiAnn Butler, the coalition’s goal is to build upon existing efforts and unify them under one umbrella.
“Now more than ever we are wanting to bring together opportunities to build and strengthen our creative economy countywide and offer locals, second homeowners and tourists the chance to explore all the creative gems and opportunities throughout our county,” Butler said in a news release.
Using information gleaned from the survey, Butler said the coalition hopes to start new programming, such as art classes, gallery and studio tours, and showcasing events. The first step in that process will be virtually convening the artists who filled out the survey to discuss what comes next.
“It will allow us to listen to the wants and needs of that cohort, help connect them to the broader community and visitors, and enhance Grand County as an arts and creative destination,” said Steve Fitzgerald, president of the new Fraser Valley Arts nonprofit. “I also see it as a starting point for future collaboration across Grand County.”
Fraser Valley Arts is already offering some programming through the Fraser Valley Metropolitan Recreation District with hope of adding to it through the coalition.
In addition, the coalition plans to produce a regular newsletter, a map of Grand County galleries and studios, a calendar of events and social media pages.
Efforts to grow the arts and entertainment industries — which are seen as a way to attract tourists year round and diversify the seasonal economy — have been ongoing for years in Grand County.
The coalition came as a suggestion from the Colorado Tourism Office’s rural academy for tourism, which was held in Grand in 2019.
According to Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, arts, entertainment and recreation constitute the third largest industry in Grand County with more job growth on the horizon.
Butler said the coalition is being formed at a crucial time as Grand County recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic and the East Troublesome Fire.
“The timing is really good because people need to be dispersed throughout the county, especially as we go into spring,” Butler said. “So even though we’re still restricted in what we can do, this gets people out and about and finding those hidden gems.”
To take the Grand Creative Coalition survey, go to docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScgsOeCQtYrOVVk3GKxC3i7Op_xjTCTQQVD08Gj6_VqOaBpOg/viewform.
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