County gives backing to creative arts
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On the heels of investing $250,000 in the creative arts, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors adopted the county’s first ever strategic Arts Action Plan, developed by the County’s Economic Development Board, intended to boost the county’s creative economy.

The Arts sector has emerged as an important area for economic growth potential in Sonoma County, and until now there has been no coordinated strategy for supporting the creative economy countywide.

“The Arts not only enrich the lives of individuals,” noted Board Chair Supervisor David Rabbitt, “arts enrich our community and economic vitality. This plan helps us move our creative economy to new heights. Supporting our local artists, businesses, and creative economy will help make Sonoma County a destination for artists and tourists, while making the community even more vibrant for our residents.”

The report, prepared by the successful arts consulting firm the Cultural Planning Group, involved more than 200 individuals and groups across the county with an interest in the arts and the creative economy. Discussion groups and interviews were held in nearly all communities in the county, involving local government, elected officials, individual artists, non-profit arts organizations, for-profit creative firms, educational institutions, and many more. The report’s central recommendation is for the county to establish a county-wide local arts agency, called Creative Sonoma, which promotes development of the entire creative sector of non-profit, for-profit, individual artists, and creative professionals.

Creative Sonoma would initiate and support community cultural planning, convene groups of importance to the arts community, develop information resources for the public that supports cultural tourism, facilitate the success of the county’s emerging for-profit creative sector, inventory cultural arts resources, promote arts education, and develop policy recommendations for County government to supports the arts. The Economic Development Board will begin to implement the report’s recommendations, focusing first on incubating the Creative Sonoma model.

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