Steamboat Springs will not be a Certified Creative District this year | SteamboatToday.com
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Steamboat Springs will not be a Certified Creative District this year

Artist Fernando Maldonado, a chef at Mambo Italiano, has spent the past month designing and painting this mural that gives the outdoor space at the downtown restaurant a Tuscan feeling. Although Steamboat Springs was not selected as one of the Certified Colorado Creative Districts, the steering committee and Steamboat Springs Arts Council will continue to make strides towards the designation in the future.
John F. Russell

Newly Certified Colorado Creative Districts

Breckenridge Arts District

Carbondale Creative District

Crested Butte Creative District

Fort Collins Creative District

Golden Triangle Creative District

Mancos Creative District

Existing Colorado Creative Districts

40West Arts District

Corazon de Trinidad

Denver's Art District on Santa Fe

Downtown Colorado Springs Creative District

Greeley Creative District, Longmont Arts and Entertainment District

North Fork Valley Creative District, Pueblo Creative Corridor

Ridgway Creative District

RiNo Arts District

Salida Creative District

Telluride Arts District

— Colorado Creative Industries and the Boettcher Foundation announced the certification of six new Creative Districts into the Colorado Creative Districts program.

According to a news release from the office of Economic Development and International Trade, the newly certified districts are Breckenridge Arts District, Carbondale Creative District, Crested Butte Creative District, Fort Collins Creative District, Golden Triangle Creative District and Mancos Creative District. Certification is for a five-year period.

Existing Colorado Creative Districts

40West Arts District



Corazon de Trinidad

Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe



Downtown Colorado Springs Creative District

Greeley Creative District, Longmont Arts and Entertainment District

North Fork Valley Creative District, Pueblo Creative Corridor

Ridgway Creative District

RiNo Arts District

Salida Creative District

Telluride Arts District

This year, Steamboat Springs did not make the cut.

Kim Keith, executive director of the Steamboat Springs Arts Council, said local arts leaders gave it their best shot, and she is proud of the efforts made by the advisory committee, artisans, creative business owners, staff and City Council.

“The Steamboat Springs Creative District competed with exceptional communities around the state and are proud of how Steamboat’s creative community united around the efforts to become certified,” Keith said in a statement released Friday afternoon. “I am sure you can understand that we are disappointed that we were not selected for the certification. This state certification has very high standards, and we are honored to have been named as a finalist in 2016.

“We have made tremendous strides thanks to our involvement with the Colorado Creative Industries,” Keith continued. “Rest assured, the Steamboat Springs Creative District and the Steamboat Springs Arts Council remain undaunted and will continue to fiercely advocate for arts and culture in Northwest Colorado to get more recognition and more support.”

A review panel evaluated applications submitted by 15 communities. Eight finalists were selected for site visits. 

Applications were evaluated based on capturing a district’s unique story and reflecting that story; integration with other community systems such as planning, economic development, tourism, transportation, urban renewal, safety and public gathering spaces; and a district must have local government endorsement.

“The Steamboat Springs Creative District continues to gain support and momentum,” Keith said. “We have learned a lot forming the district structure, creating a comprehensive strategic plan and garnering support from our community beyond our expectations. We are delighted to have showcased 21 creative stops with engaging activities, giving the state panelists a taste of our town.”

The newly certified districts will join the 12 existing Colorado Creative Districts.

“Many of this year’s finalists had spent two years in the candidacy incubator program,” Keith said. “They had been granted funds and resources that helped with training and development. Many of these communities have also attempted numerous times to become certified.”

Although Steamboat Springs was not selected for official designation, the district will have access to the Call Yourself Creative platform, a website that offers access to webinars, case studies and additional resources to help build creative communities.

Keith said the Steamboat Springs district and the Arts Council will continue to advocate on behalf of the creative economy by joining the Community Work Groups discussion on affordable housing; being actively engaged with the Yampa Street renovations; working with city staff on public art maintenance and mapping; and continuing to look for partnerships across the community to tell Steamboat’s cultural story.

“We know Steamboat Springs has what it takes,” Keith said. “This designation puts a spotlight on the economic impact of creative industries in rural Colorado, and we have every intention to enhance Steamboat Springs’ place on the cultural destination map. I am full of gratitude, excitement and have an undaunted vision for our creative future.”

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1


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