What is a creative district?
Creative districts are defined by the community members who call that specific geographic area home. The mission of a creative district is to support and promote all forms of creativity – arts and culture – to have a positive social and educational impact on our community and quality of life for everyone.
A creative district…
- provides onramps for community members to discover and connect with each other.
- can attract artists and creative entrepreneurs to a community, infuse new energy and innovation, and enhance the economic and civic capital.
- offers destinations for both residents and visitors, contributing to local economies, and helping to celebrate and retain the unique characteristics that, along with our stunning natural environment, define our region.
- celebrates, promotes, and grows the collective strength of creative people, products, and places of an area.
- features a concentration of creative individuals & organizations, activities, and events.
The Idaho Commission on the Arts is investing resources to assist local stakeholders in the West Central Mountains Region to develop the first regional creative district in Idaho. This pilot project will help the Commission assess the feasibility of a statewide creative district program.
Who is considered a creative?
Every one of us!
Whether you’re an artist, crafter, writer, innovator, maker, baker, or someone who aspires to wants to channel your creativity in some yet-to-be-determined way, creative sectors include (but are not limited to):
- Public Art
- Performing Arts
- Craft Food
- Craft Beverage
- Visual Arts
- Culture & Heritage
- Film & Media
- Artisan Products
- Literary & Publishing
- Machining and Mechanical Arts
- Virtual and Computer Arts
- Landscape and Architectural Arts
Maybe you don’t consider yourself a creative but want to learn more. Please sign up for our newsletter.
What is the benefit of having a creative district?
Creative districts become destinations for locals and visitors, contribute to local economies, and help to celebrate and retain the unique characteristics that, along with our stunning natural environment, define our region.
The West Central Mountains Creative District (WCMCD) will serve as a resource hub, connecting and collaboratively promoting the region’s creative people, places, and events.
Having a creative district will position the West Central Mountains (WCM) as a place that celebrates and prides itself in creative arts, cultural traditions and practices, historical recognition, and expressive exploration. Some of the outcomes we anticipate happening include:
- Create a more connected and thriving community for everyone who calls the WCM home
- Coalesce the greater community and establish a shared vision for our collective future
- Increase visibility, recognition, sales of creative and related sectors
- Develop capacity within creative sectors through intentional new tools, resources, training
- Create new or expanded ways of problem-solving and innovating
- Expand local cultural resources, awareness of local culture, quality of life.
- Access capital and technical resources through state and national entities
- Promote the region as a creative district, i.e. highway signage and tourism collateral
- Create partnerships with other creative districts and regional promotion opportunities
I am a local creative. What does this mean to me?
A key mission of West Central Mountains Creative District is to expand living-wage opportunities for artists who work, live, and show within the District’s footprint by providing resources and support to market their craft. Individuals can benefit through:
- increased visibility, recognition, sales of creative and related sectors
- capacity development within creative sectors through new tools, resources, training
- new or expanded ways of problem-solving and innovating
- expanded local cultural resources, awareness of local culture, quality of life
Having an established creative district in the WCM is expected to help boost the creative economy and promote unification among creatives from multiple backgrounds. It will provide more resources to the creative community, including increased access to funding and large grants, increased promotion for our local creative industries, and other public benefit programs to get involved with as a local creative.
Please consider making a profile on our free online Count Yourself Creative! Directory designed for individuals to showcase their creative services and products. If you have questions, contact one of our creative district leaders.
Can I donate to the West Central Mountain Creative District?
Not yet, but soon! Donations will help the WCMCD continue to implement public benefit projects, write grants that benefit the community, maintain a vibrant physical District and exemplary online presence, and carry on other programs as determined by the Creative District’s participants.
Why the West Central Mountains Region?
The West Central Mountains is a resource-rich region, especially when considering the creative assets — the artists, entrepreneurs, innovators, makers and their networks, places and organizations — of its communities. There is an authentic and focused interest, and a commitment to uncover and connect all forms of assets, including those hidden in plain sight.
Establishment of a creative district fits perfectly with the region’s economic development and tourism strategies, and places arts and culture on the map along with world class outdoor recreation.
A diverse group of local community members have engaged in the initial exploration and steps to establish the WCMCD.
The Creative District’s inclusive approach is rooted in asking these aspirational and pragmatic questions:
- Who else would care about a WCMCD?
- What can we accomplish together that none of us can on our own?
- What strengths do we already have to build on? What’s working well already?
Where is the West Central Mountain Creative District?
How many creative districts are in Idaho?
The West Central Mountains Creative District is the first!
In 2020, the Idaho Commission on the Arts began investing resources to assist local stakeholders to develop the first regional creative district in Idaho. This pilot project will help the Commission assess the feasibility of a statewide creative district program.
How are the communities in the district involved?
Various community members and creative leaders region-wide have served on the West Central Mountains Creative District’s Action Team and Steering Committee during Phase 1 (Engage) and Phase 2 (Inventory) of the creative district pilot project. In 2022, West Central Mountains Economic Development Council received a $25,000 grant from Idaho Commission on the Arts (ICA) to implement Phase 3 (Activate). At the end of Phase 3, in June 2023, the District will have developed an Action Plan and a Sustainability Plan, which will help guide programming going forward, and inform ICA how other Idaho communities might also develop a creative district. Current leadership is listed on the website.
Do you have ideas to share with us? Please contact us to get involved or volunteer.
I’m inspired by walking on the path, just around the corner, and through our vibrant, healing forest.
Llona Ney Jensen
I’m inspired by working together to grow a stronger sense of community.