Monday, June 19, 2017

UPDATE: Manitou Springs receives creative district certification

Posted By on Mon, Jun 19, 2017 at 4:38 PM

We heard back from Natalie Johnson, director of the Manitou Art Center, who has spent the last few years driving the creative district certification initiative.

She says the decision came as a shock after last year, especially given the changing requirements of the application process. When she received confirmation, she wasn’t sure if it meant there would be another two-year waiting period to be granted full certification, or if it would be instantaneous.

Thankfully, the waiting is over. Soon Manitou Springs will learn exactly what kind of perks they can expect from CCI. In the meantime, they are simply thrilled the long process is over and the designation is set.

“It lends credibility to Manitou Springs and the Manitou Springs creative district,” Johnson says. “All those steps ensure ongoing funding for different organizations … So I think it doesn’t guarantee sustainability, but it increases the chances of us being around for a long time.”

———————-ORIGINAL POST 3:15 P.M. MONDAY, JUNE 5, 2007———————-

click to enlarge 1372271225-1359047642-cci_300x300_color.jpg
Last year, Manitou Springs was denied a creative district certification from Colorado Creative Industries (CCI), which came as a bit of a surprise. This year’s surprise has proven to be much more pleasant.

After meeting certain rigorous criteria in the areas of district characteristics, management and planning, and community buy-in, Manitou Springs joined Steamboat Springs and Westwood as one of Colorado’s three newly certified creative districts.

Creative District certification comes with more than a title. Now, the Manitou Springs arts community will have access to new grants, financial support, leadership training and more.

We reached out to Natalie Johnson, director of the Manitou Art Center, for her perspective on the certification, but have yet to hear back. We will update this story if and when we do.

See the full press release from Colorado Creative Industries below:

DENVER – June 13, 2017 – Colorado Creative Industries (CCI) today announced the certification of three new Creative Districts into the Colorado Creative Districts Program. The newly certified districts are Manitou Springs Creative District, Steamboat Springs Creative District and Westwood Creative District (Denver). Certification is for a five year period. Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe and the Salida Creative District were approved for re-certification following the initial five year period.

“These 2017 certified creative districts are great examples of how the arts create exciting places for people to visit and live,” said Governor John Hickenlooper. “These districts increase quality of life, help with economic vitality of the area and attract people from all over Colorado and the country.”

A review panel evaluated applications and three finalists were selected for site visits. Applications were reviewed using the following criteria: district characteristics, management and planning, community buy-in. Districts must meet a rigorous set of minimum standards in order to achieve certification such as recognition by local government, a high concentration of creative organizations and businesses, sustainable funding sources, paid staff, and a strategic plan.

The newly certified districts will join the 18 existing Colorado Creative Districts: 40West Arts District, Breckenridge Creative District, Carbondale Creative District, Corazon de Trinidad, Crested Butte Creative District, Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe, Downtown Colorado Springs Creative District, Fort Collins Creative District, Golden Triangle Creative District, Greeley Creative District, Longmont Arts and Entertainment District, Mancos Creative District, North Fork Valley Creative District, Pueblo Creative Corridor, Ridgway Creative District, RiNo Arts District, Salida 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 and strategic plan that provide opportunities to grow the creative economy,” said Margaret Hunt, CCI director.

Along with official designation, each district will receive an award package including financial support, technical assistance, marketing support, access to grants, CDOT highway signs, and leadership training.

Applicants and finalists not selected for official designation will have access to the Call Yourself Creative platform, a website offering access to webinars, case studies and additional resources for building creative communities

For more information, please visit

In 2011, the Colorado General Assembly passed HB11-1031, encouraging the formation of Creative Districts in communities, neighborhoods or contiguous geographic areas. Administered by Colorado Creative Industries, the Creative District Program encourages the formation of creative districts in neighborhoods and contiguous geographic areas for the purpose of:
Attracting artists and creative entrepreneurs to a community
Enhancing economic and civic capital of Colorado communities
Creating hubs and clusters of economic activity
Enhancing areas as appealing places to live, conduct businesses and attract visitors
Serving as an economic strategy and magnet
Revitalizing and beautifying
Promoting a community’s unique identity
Showcasing cultural and artistic events and amenities
Colorado Creative Industries, Colorado’s state arts agency, is a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. Established 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.

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