FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 27, 2017) — The Kentucky Arts Council today announced that Owensboro has been named a Kentucky Creative District.
Owensboro is home to a thriving visual and performing arts scene, and a destination for not only tourists, but families who want to live in a city of artistic amenities.
Because of the city’s commitment to a creative climate that converges with local economic development efforts, Owensboro was recently named a Kentucky Creative District by the Kentucky Arts Council.
The purpose of the Kentucky Creative District designation is to recognize the role of the arts in growing and sustaining vibrant communities and enhancing the creative economy.
“It gives us, as an arts community, a rallying point,” said Roxi Witt, executive director of Owensboro’s RiverPark Center performing arts venue. “The downtown has been revitalized. We’ve been a significant part of it. This designation gives us opportunity to more formally organize. We’ve discovered in the recent past how much more we can do when we join forces, rather than exist as islands by ourselves in the arts. This gives us the momentum to collaboratively enhance one another.”
A creative district is a mixed-use area where the arts are integral to building community, engaging residents, encouraging entrepreneurship and attracting visitors. Creative districts exist in any type of community – small, large, rural or urban. Owensboro joins six other Kentucky Creative Districts, including Bardstown, Berea, Covington, Danville, Maysville and Paducah.
The goals of the Creative District program are to encourage community development through the arts; engage resident artists and creative enterprises; promote convergence among arts, historic preservation, agriculture, tourism and education; strengthen creative sector entrepreneurship and job development; and foster arts access across generations and diverse populations.
Joe Berry, executive vice president of Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation, said the distinction is a helpful tool in efforts to draw businesses and skilled workers to Owensboro.
“One of the things we see fairly consistently with regard to economic development, whether we’re recruiting new businesses or retaining the industry we have, is that quality of life is important. Are we able to attract and retain the talent we need to grow the economy?” Berry said. “We’re conscious of the fact that maintaining viable quality of life is important to retaining that talent. The more amenities we have to draw people in and keep people in the community, the better.”
For more information on the Kentucky Creative District designation, contact Sarah Schmitt, arts council community arts and access director, at 502-892-3116 or [email protected].