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Are We a Creative Community?


February 9, 20079 February 2007

Creative communities

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This presentation by Kelly Hill, hosted by the Greater Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, examines how creating a vibrant cultural centre could assist in the Kitchener-Waterloo area’s goal of “moving from good to great”.

There are three main components of the presentation: 1) the potential impacts of creating a vibrant cultural centre; 2) an examination of some key statistics on the artistic component of Kitchener-Waterloo; and 3) suggestions on what could be done in Kitchener-Waterloo to help create and maintain a vibrant cultural centre.

Regarding the impacts of the cultural sector, the presentation highlights a few examples of the growing body of evidence about the benefits of the arts. Concerning economic impacts, key findings from reports on consumer spending on culture and the neighbourhood impacts of cultural infrastructure are summarized. The presentation reviews research into how the arts and culture can help a community become a destination of choice for knowledge workers. Regarding innovation and creativity, the presentation highlights different types of innovation, different aspects of the “infrastructure of urban creativity”, factors in individual creativity, and how different types of innovation are interconnected. A brief summary of the educational impacts of the arts are also provided, with specific reference to the findings of the National Arts and Youth Demonstration Project.

The statistics examined in the section on Kitchener-Waterloo’s artistic component highlights the number of artists (per 1,000 labour force workers) in the area as well as the growth of the national and local arts labour force. The presentation also reviews indexes summarizing Kitchener-Waterloo’s educated workforce, diversity and technology.

Leadership and collaboration are presented as the two key aspects involved in creating and maintaining a vibrant cultural centre. In Kitchener-Waterloo’s case, this could include:

  • ensuring a strong connection between the downtown core and near-downtown arts organizations;
  • increasing cooperation among arts organizations;
  • increasing cooperation between businesses, governments, educational partners and non-profit organizations (including cultural organizations);
  • supporting local arts education and the local cultural plan;
  • building on the community’s diversity by providing opportunities for cultural expression;
  • volunteering in or donating to local cultural organizations; and
  • providing free or subsidized tickets as an employee benefit.

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