Creative Montco to launch 10-year plan this Thursday

After a year-long effort to gather information, opinions and ideas about arts and culture in Montgomery County, Creative MontCo will unveil its 10-year plan during a launch party on Sept. 13 in the Parkhouse Hall Atrium at Montgomery County Community College’s Central Campus, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell.

The celebration begins with networking from 4-4:30 p.m., followed by a presentation from 4:30-5:15 p.m. and a reception from 5:15-6 p.m. Artists, creative entrepreneurs, civic leaders, government officials and anyone who lives or works in Montgomery County is welcome to attend. To RSVP, visit http://creativemontco.eventbrite.com or call 610-313-9836.

Supported in part by a major grant from the William Penn Foundation, along with support from the Montgomery County Foundation, Creative MontCo is based on the belief that culture and creativity are among a community’s most powerful assets.  The initiative, chaired by MCCC President Dr. Karen A. Stout, looks to leverage the County’s cultural and creative resources to enhance economic development through implementation of a 10-year comprehensive plan.

“Creative MontCo reflects the growing trend to integrate cultural and economic development,” said Dr. Stout. “By recognizing the link between non-profit and for-profit creative activity and combining them under the creative sector umbrella, we acknowledge their common interests and often-overlooked role within regional economies.”

To date, more than 1,900 individuals representing all 62 municipalities in Montgomery County have participated in the initiative through a series of town hall meetings, community conversations, survey responses, interviews and discussion groups, and social media and website feedback.

For more information about CreativeMontCo and to learn how to get involved, visit www.creativemontco.org.

Creative MontCo wants your input!

Are the arts important in your life and the life of your family? Do you spend time and money to learn how to paint or play an instrument or knit a sweater? Do you enjoy going to galleries, performances, or outdoor festivals? Would you like to see a few cafes with open mics in your downtown? Does the perfect nut roll or shoo-fly pie make you want to write poetry? Does a surprising piece of whimsical art in a public place bring a smile to your face?

Car Art!

These are just some of the ways that arts and culture touch our lives, and Montgomery County would like to hear from you about what specific places and activities are important to you in your town and throughout the region. Check out the survey here.Last fall Montgomery County launched a large-scale planning process called Creative MontCo. Their website bills Creative Montco as “a bold partnership of community members and organizations developing a comprehensive cultural and creative economy plan for communities throughout the county. Creative MontCo is dedicated to making Montgomery County a more vibrant place to live, work and play.”

The beautiful thing about the arts – besides just being, well, beautiful – is that arts and culture can be an economic engine for a local economy. All over the country, there are towns, small cities and even neighborhoods within larger cities, that have discovered their identities as centers of art, culture, and history and they have generated jobs and stabilized their tax base by understanding, expanding, and promoting their assets.

The Creative MontCo Steering Committee is being led by Montgomery County Community College president Dr. Karen Stout. The County has hired some really knowledgeable planners – The Cultural Planning Group – who understand how arts and culture can be good for residents and visitors alike and can stimulate economic growth.  They have have been surveying and meeting with artists, organizations, and groups ever since to find out what residents like, what they want more of, and what they envision for their towns in the way of arts, and culture, which I take to include historic and heritage resources as well as the natural environment (i.e., parks). 

To me, the term “culture” gets at the history of a place and how that is reflected today in the people that live there, the work they do, the traditions that live on, and the natural and built environments that are tied to all of that. For me, “the arts” includes any creative endeavor, including, say, beautiful cupcakes or the really old mosaic tiles in many of the entryways of the stores in downtown Pottstown.

So… what arts and cultural activities and events are important to you? Please take a few moments NOW to respond to their survey here.  And feel free to spend some time at Creative MontCo’s website, reading what others have to say and sharing your vision for the creative future of your county. 

 

 

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