Guide for relocation to Steamboat Springs, CO

Steamboat named official Colorado Creative District

Steamboat named official Colorado Creative District

Creativity is soaring in Steamboat Springs.

With creative industries accounting for 431 jobs and contributing nearly $50 million to the local economy, in 2017 Steamboat was selected one of three communities in Colorado to earn a prestigious Creative District designation from Colorado Creative Industries. As such, it will receive a $10,000 grant as well as special signage and marketing resources from the state to bolster its creative stature.

“We’ve always been a creative community — a community that upholds the arts — but now, we’re recognized for this, and there’s an incredible network that we’ll have access to,” says Steamboat Springs Arts Council Executive Director Kim Keith. “It’s exciting to realize that Steamboat’s creative sector is being recognized as a critical industry in our community.”

Committee chair Matt Eidt adds the designation will also bring more diversity to Steamboat. “Hopefully, this will attract a new type of visitor and resident — people who are looking for a creative community,” Eidt says. “It’s yet another feather in Steamboat’s cap.”

The Creative District label will also have an economic impact on town. “Main Streets and Creative Districts go hand in hand … both help drive economic activity,” says Main Street Steamboat Springs Executive Director Lisa Popovich. “It also enables us to brand Steamboat in a whole new way. The creative tribe is now recognized as part of the fabric of our community, which is a big deal.”

In 2016, Steamboat was named a finalist in the certification process, so its arts community regrouped and reapplied this year. Steamboat won after visiting CCI members toured such artistic assets as Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp, Strings Music Pavilion, the Steamboat Art Museum and Tread of Pioneers Museum.

Museum director Candice Bannister believes it’s the community’s rich heritage that sets Steamboat apart. “Steamboat’s arts, heritage and cultural assets are incredible and deserve the focus and attention that the district certification can bring,” she says.

Additionally, a recent NCAR Arts Vibrancy Index ranks Steamboat eighth in the country in Arts Vibrancy for small to mid-sized communities, 13th in the country in terms of independent artists per capita, and in the top 5 percent of cities in terms of arts providers and arts dollars.

All this is due to a wide range of music, performance and visual arts venues, as well as a rich array of other cultural resources, from art galleries and town’s popular First Friday Artwalk to murals adorning downtown alleyways and sculptures enhancing public parks.

“Steamboat’s cultural landscape is pulsating with energy and excitement,“ adds Keith. “This vibrancy is due to our community’s connectedness, innovations in our field, our openness to evolving and honoring our history and heritage. Our community thrives on creative and artistic endeavors, and the Creative District designation strengthens Steamboat’s overall brand as a fantastic place to live and visit.”

Dancer Keegan Hill performs in a rehearsal earlier at the Perry Mansfield-Performing Arts School and Camp.

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