- Launching cultural districts and arts enterprise zones.
- Creating spaces for artists and other creative talent to cluster, interact, and thrive.
- Integrating arts, culture, and design into innovation hubs that encourage collaboration.
All over the country, states and cities are scrambling to find ways to reinvent and revitalize communities and neighborhoods. The arts, culture, and design sector can be a catalyst to revive older commercial districts and neighborhoods and can be part of a state strategy to reclaim abandoned investments in physical infrastructure and communities.
Because creative people like to be around other creative people, even if they are in different businesses, Austin, Texas, is one of the great economic success stories in the United States in the last 30 years. There is no question that the region made great strategic moves and creatively exploited its assets, especially the University of Texas, in building new pillars of economic prosperity. But it is also true that Austin’s flourishing music scene and its funky cultural attitudes—best summed up in the local slogan “Keep Austin Weird”—were key ingredients as well.
Austin is the self-proclaimed "live music capital of the world" and the people of Austin reflect a friendly, accepting culture of artistic and individual expression that maintains the city as a vibrant and eclectic creative center and haven for anLGBT community, intellectual community, community of naturalists and environmentalists, and for subcultures and people(s) who are not mainstream. In a mostly conservative Texas, Austin is "Weird" because of that and because it continues to be liberal and progressive politically, socially, in culture, in the arts and in music, among other things. "Keep Austin Weird" moves beyond a mere slogan, to reflect the dynamics that encompass Austin.
This is a call out not only to fine artists who might think that the area is not ready for the subject matter that they deal with, but also for musicians, dancers, videographers, photographers, graphic designers, filmmakers, illustrators, stylists, recording artists and anyone else that considers themselves to be "artists".
Lowbrow, body art,street art, spoken word, hoopers and spinners, and any area of alternative. Diversity is a word being bandied around a lot lately. Lets see some real diversity in Ashland. I know its there... it is time to be seen. All economic levels, all lifestyle choices.
Here's a photo of some of our members from a story in Richmond's Style Weekly magazine:
|Nicole Randall (front), Heather Addley, and Courtney Ford, part of The Clockworks Collective, and members of the Ashland Arts Alliance|