On Tuesday, June 25, Gov. John Hickenlooper is scheduled to announce the North Fork Valley has been certified as a Creative District. The honor recognizes the skill and talent throughout the valley in Paonia, Hotchkiss, Crawford and stretching to Redlands Mesa.
The North Fork Valley was named an Emerging Creative District last year.
"It is with great joy that we announce that the North Fork Valley has been designated a Certified Creative District by the State of Colorado," began the Creative Coalition press release by Susie Kaldis, executive director of the North Fork Valley Creative Coalition.
"On May 24, the Creative Coalition submitted an application to Colorado Creative Industries, a division of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade, to be considered for the highest ranking of Certified Creative District. This application included an essay on 'What Creative District status means to us and why it's important for our valley,' as well as a three-year strategic plan and a promotional video."
The North Fork Valley Creative Coalition has been managing and administering the Emerging Creative District since April 2012. "We have worked diligently to develop our organizational foundation, create a sound network of creative practitioners and build community awareness of the Creative District program," Kaldis said.
Kaldis and other members of the Creative Coalition have been keeping the great news a secret since June 17. Kaldis attended the Rural Philanthropy Days in Ouray last week. At the opening dinner on Monday night, June 17, Margaret Hunt, executive director of Colorado Creative Industries, told Kaldis that "Yes, the North Fork Valley is now a Certified Creative District."
Kaldis wrote, "This distinction is incredibly important and beneficial for the North Fork Valley. By certifying the North Fork Valley as a Creative District, the State is affirming its confidence in the need for the creative industries as an economic driver for the North Fork's rural communities. The designation will assist the North Fork Valley in attracting visitors to experience the heritage of our small Western region while enjoying the wonder of its natural landscape and the talent of its artisans.
"Being a Creative District will draw attention to our local artists and the traditions that permeate our crafts and value-added agricultural products. In addition to having art that can be visited in galleries, studios or as present in our historic buildings in town, the North Fork Valley uniquely shares art that is tangible. Our art can be tasted, breathed and felt.
"The North Fork Valley is a rural area in Delta County, Colorado, that defines the direction resourceful rural communities will need to go in the 21st-century economy in order to cultivate their assets. The merging of arts and agriculture brings a 21st-century mentality to our region. Through innovation and inspiration, the North Fork Valley is leading the way for rural communities in the Colorado Creative Districts Program. Our towns, citizens, and visitors recognize the creative sector as a fundamental component of the economy and the charm that defines our valley.
"The North Fork Valley, along with the State of Colorado, recognizes that diversification of our industries is essential to a healthy economy, particularly in small towns. Also, we recognize that a community that is rich in arts, culture, and heritage is a thriving community where the quality of life is satisfying and the spirit of the people attracts visitors seeking a respite from their busy, chaotic day-to-day routines."
Arts and agritourism play a significant role in the North Fork Valley's tourism and economic development. Certification serves as a validation of that role for residents and visitors alike.
"Visitors to our area have the opportunity to take in our bountiful natural beauty, wide-open spaces, and expansive vistas. A quiet and slow pace of life welcomes visitors, inspires our artists, and makes this area a desirable place to live. Visitors have the opportunity to sink into the experience of daily life," Kaldis said. "In many ways, art is a way of life here, as people create most of the things they need to live a healthy abundant lifestyle.
"Our heritage in farming and agriculture, using clean air and water to grow our gardens and feed our families, is a tradition that is alive and prospering today. The culinary arts and wine industry are a thriving business that supports our creative sector and adds to our character as a tourist destination. The creative sector attracts creative entrepreneurs and artists to the community, which also strengthens tourism. Artists and artisans and numerous creative events are both an asset to, and expression of, the North Fork Valley culture and each of our three towns' own individual identities. Designation as a Certified Creative District strategically positions the North Fork Valley as a model for other regional efforts while advancing local recognition that together we are much greater than the sum of the individual."
Wendell Koontz, Hotchkiss mayor, commented, "The Town of Hotchkiss extends sincere congratulations to the North Fork Valley Creative District. The certification is well deserved as the North Fork Valley is home to many talented artisans, agrarians and craftsmen. The citizens of Hotchkiss and our local community benefit both economically and in quality of life from local venues such as The Creamery Arts Center. I look forward to having the North Fork Creative District foster both the arts and businesses in Hotchkiss."
Barbara Peterson, Paonia town clerk noted, "I love that the Creative Coalition received the official designation for the North Fork Valley of Certified Creative District. I believe that these efforts will ultimately help create a more diversified economic base, helping to create a more sustainable valley while supporting and celebrating our creative labors. We have an abundance and excellence of creative practitioners in the North Fork Valley. I applaud those who put this application forth and anticipate the fruits of those labors. Congratulations!"
Kelli Hepler of Delta County Tourism stated, "We at Delta County Tourism are thrilled with the official designation for the North Fork Valley Creative District. We applaud our creatives and how they express the unique nature of the North Fork Valley. This designation will help us promote the talents here and will provide an economic improvement for all."
Kaldis added, "On behalf of the North Fork Valley Creative Coalition, the organization administering the North Fork Valley Creative District, we are elated and grateful for the designation of Certified Creative District. Our thanks go out to our community, our town officials, the Boettcher Foundation, Colorado Creative Industries, and Governor Hickenlooper for recognizing our creative valley as a place where the creative industries are thriving and making an impact on our local economy."
Kaldis believes the designation will mean more statewide recognition of the quality products created in the North Fork Valley whether traditional art or value-added agriculture and craft brewing.
"We plan to do a marketing campaign to create a universal North Fork Valley brand sticker," Kaldis said.
On Thursday, June 27, at Paonia Town Park from 6-8 p.m., the public is invited to join the Creative Coalition in celebration of the new North Fork Valley Creative District. This is a potluck so bring a dish to share.blog comments powered by Disqus