Efforts to compile a comprehensive inventory of arts and cultural assets are underway. While this inventory will require constant updating, the goal is to establish a baseline of opportunities that can guide marketing efforts targeting both residents and visitors. The inventory includes galleries, studios, festivals, markets, performances, arts and music instruction, dance, exhibits and displays, tours, literary events, lectures, theater, and many other community assets.
Over the past few months, the Arts and Culture Issue Work Group identified eight potential community needs related to the arts and culture. This “wish list” includes:
- Children’s Fine Arts Museum
- Outdoor Venue
- Arts and Culture Consortium (for coordination and marketing purposes)
- Public Arts Program available to all
- “State of the Art” Performing Arts Center
- Marketing Specific to Holiday Shopping
- More Tours of Manufacturing Facilities/Carpet Museum (with focus on both the heritage and the future of floorcovering industry)
- Organized Approach to Preserving Land
Over the summer, the group will focus their efforts on gathering information to support their top priorities from the “wish list”: Performing Arts Center, Arts and Culture Consortium, and Industrial Heritage and Future. A number of studies from earlier efforts to establish a performing arts center in the community are available and will need updating based on current desires for uses of the center, funding options and other factors. The work group also plans to gather best practices related to the establishment of a consortium to support arts and culture. This consortium is not expected to include fundraising as a responsibility; rather it will focus on marketing and coordination of efforts among community entities. Acknowledging that other Archway Partnership efforts are focusing on the floorcovering industry’s image, history and future, the group will work cooperatively with other established work groups to determine shared action plans.
David Aft and Linda Blackman, co-chairs of the Arts and Culture Issue Work Group, have met with a sub-group interested in heritage tourism. This group’s goals over the next few months are to develop a complete inventory of historic and heritage-related assets and a narrative that forms a basis for future marketing efforts. A set of geographic parameters were determined and initial focus areas were defined as Civil War historic sites; sites related to the Cherokee Indians; sites and attractions related to the textile industry; sites related to historic structures, landmarks and downtowns; and sites and attractions related to trains and the railroad. Once completed, the inventory will form the basis for marketing efforts to destination tourists, local enthusiasts and historians and other interested groups.