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Indiana Arts Commission celebrates Fort Wayne, Goshen, Kokomo, and Wabash as Spotlight Communities

Thursday, January 14, 2021
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Indiana Arts Commission voted to approve Fort Wayne, Goshen, Kokomo, and Wabash for Spotlight Community recognition as part of the Creative Community Pathway program.

The Creative Community Pathway is a roadmap for any Indiana community to start, focus, or deepen arts and culture-based strategies to grow community wellbeing. As a capacity building program, the Pathway aligns local creative assets – artists, arts and culture strategies, partners, and resources – to support a community’s unique goals and dreams. Simultaneously, it organizes a sustainable, healthy creative environment for artists and cultural organizations. 

About the Spotlight Communities

  • Fort Wayne is located in the northeast portion of the state and is the second largest city in Indiana. “Fort Wayne is a rare treasure of creative wealth. Arts organizations collaborate to bring an astounding number of opportunities to children and families in the region,” said Anna Tragesser, Indiana Arts Commission Artist and Community Services Manager. “Regional leaders are sharp – they know there’s opportunity for tourism and downtown development as a strategy for near-term growth.”
  • Goshen is the county seat of Elkhart County. “Goshen’s arts and culture scene is both organic and concentrated. For a community of its size, it has an impressive roster of high quality, accessible, and diverse experiences for visitors and residents, as well as a deep well of knowledge, spaces, equipment and creative peers for local artists to draw from,” stated Tragesser.
  • Kokomo is located in Howard County. “Kokomo knows its time has arrived – its grit and resolve to make itself is showing up through city leadership’s commitment to affirming a maker identity, aligning partners, and designating resources toward its creative community movement,” said Tragesser. “Kokomo’s pride is infectious, and its sense of self is empowering to both residents and visitors.”
  • Wabash is a city in Wabash County. “Wabash is a committed, collaborative community with a genuine arts and culture heritage. The vaudeville history of the community is a compelling narrative that connects to Wabash’s strong arts assets today – the Honeywell Center and its sister projects,” Tragesser said. “With roots and a future in performing arts leadership, Wabash will make, sing, and dance its way into its vision for a vibrant, inclusive downtown.”

Communities along the Creative Community Pathway are supported by a diverse team of eager experts and peers from around the state, including:

  • Andy Beck, Indianapolis Neighborhood Association
  • Rena Bradley, Bridge of Grace
  • Brandon Burgoa, Indiana Department of Transportation
  • Maria Davis, City of Angola Downtown Services
  • Carrie Lambert, Indiana Tourism Association
  • Danicia Malone, Purdue Black Cultural Center and independent artist
  • Danielle McClelland, Independent Consultant
  • Nicole Poletika, Indiana Historical Bureau
  • Michael Sinnet, Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs

Each member of the Support Team brings a wealth of knowledge in their own field to this process. Individually and as a group, they’ve spent significant time getting to know these communities. As consultants, they've reflected back to each community areas in which the community is a leading innovator, and the aspects the community can grow. They’ve coached each community in ways their thriving arts and cultural scene can help the community reach its goals.

These four communities have been invited to apply for Cultural District Designation, a designation held by only ten Indiana communities. Established in 2010, Indiana Cultural Districts are well-recognized, labeled, mixed-use areas of a community, in which high concentrations of cultural assets serve as the anchor. Indiana Statewide Cultural Districts promote the exploration of and participation in the arts and humanities through cultural experiences that are unique to our communities.

To learn more about the Creative Community Pathway, click here.
 

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