• Thu. Sep 21st, 2023

News Eyeo

All Important News

Delaware Unveils New Initiative to Foster the ‘Creative Economy’


Sep 8, 2023

Lt. Bethany Hall Long and arts advocates have launched an initiative to study the impact of the “creative economy” in Delaware and create a new policy plan to support its growth. They aim to establish a creative economy focused on artists and the workforce that supports them in the state.

The Delaware Arts Alliance (DAA) and state leaders, including Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall Long and Neil Kirschling, the executive director of DAA, are working together on a strategic plan for the future of Delaware’s art scene. This plan, called the “Creative Economy and Cultural Tourism Recovery and Growth Plan,” will include an online map of arts and culture sites in the state, a policy agenda, and an economic impact study. The plan is expected to be completed by summer 2024.

The creative economy encompasses for-profit and nonprofit creative industries, cultural venues, the artistic workforce, educators, and more. According to the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, the arts in the US supported or created 4.9 million jobs that paid $504 billion in wages in 2021. In Delaware, arts and cultural production contribute to 7,746 jobs and $972 million in the state’s economy.

Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall Long is leading the effort to showcase the impact of arts on quality of life matters in attracting visitors and residents to Delaware. During the pandemic, she hosted monthly calls and observed the challenges faced by creative businesses, such as securing health insurance coverage and accessing funds for sustainability and growth.

The online map of cultural and art venues throughout the state will provide a comprehensive overview of Delaware’s creative economy. This includes businesses and nonprofits of all sizes, from renowned venues like the Freeman Arts Pavilion to local graphic designers or neighborhood studios.

By gathering and analyzing hard data, the state can identify gaps in the creative economy and develop strategies to address them. The policy analysis, the final step of the project, will examine the entire state, including Wilmington, Dover, Georgetown, Smyrna, Middletown, and Milford, to determine possible paths forward.

The selection of these cities was influenced by funding stipulations from the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Travel, Tourism & Outdoor Recreation program. These grants aim to support economic recovery for communities severely affected by the pandemic. Gov. John Carney has also allocated a portion of the state’s ARPA funds for this initiative.

Neil Kirschling, the executive director of DAA, hopes that the “Creative Economy and Cultural Tourism Recovery and Growth Plan” will provide a roadmap to support artists in pursuing their passions. He emphasizes the enthusiasm of arts organizations in Delaware and their desire to be part of the community. Kirschling believes that Delaware can offer both a thriving creative economy and the necessary policies and infrastructure to support it.

Artists and creative business owners are encouraged to complete a survey by October 15th. More information about the survey and the project can be found at www.delawareartsalliance.org/survey/ and www.delawareartsalliance.org/creativeeconomy respectively.

By Editor

Leave a Reply