Culture as an Economic Engine
Municipalities that adopt culture as an industry have gained positive economic benefits for their communities. Cultural industries create job growth, turn ordinary cities into “destination cities,” create interconnections between arts and business, revitalize urban areas, attract skilled workers, and create spin-off businesses.
Click below for the PDF version of Culture as an Economic Engine section of Making the Case, as well as Profiles.
Profile researchers/writers of profiles:
Claire Dimond-Gibson, Elise Finnigan, Katie Warfield and Steven R. Dang, with additions by Creative City Network members and friends.
- Culture as an Economic Engine [PDF]
Growth is inevitable when culture is used as a tool. It brands, creates job growth, spin-off businesses and competition.
- ArtCity: Where art and environment merge
ArtCity, a joint initiative between the MacLaren Art Centre and the City of Barrie, involves both the permanent and temporary placement of art in public spaces throughout the City of Barrie, so that the entire city becomes an art and sculpture park. Since the conception and installation of the current Shore/lines exhibit, the buzz of Barrie's sculpture garden has increased cultural tourism in the region.
A STRONG COMMUNITY AND GOVERNMENT arts initiative has peppered Barrie's cityscape with a range of intriguing and beautiful objects such as a mural of Barrie's simulated waterfront landscape, a series of woven milkweed pods and zebra mussels, as well as a representation of the Bellybutton of the World. Barrie has blended the line between nature and art in a successful effort to increase cultural tourism in the region.
The MacLaren Art Centre and the City of Barrie have worked closely and determinately for the tighter integration of artwork into the public realm of the City of Barrie through the ArtCity project. In 1999 the City approved the designation of several park spaces and public space for the planning, development and construction of an urban Sculpture Park. The works of art would be prepared and crafted by Canadian and international artists to promote an artistic and cultural identity for the city.
The goals of ArtCity were to assure open public accessibility to all the artwork, to challenge the divide between the traditional private space of galleries and the public spaces of parks, boulevards, streets and paths. This initiative aimed to increase cultural tourism in the region, as well as support local creativity and the pursuit of the arts.
Barrie took the model of traditional sculpture parks because of the often strong impact of the exhibits ' sculpture gardens in other locales have become major attractions for tourists. The City of Barrie's involvement ensured that accessibility would be as universal as possible. In Barrie, the integration of sculpture with the open and public landscape of the city will reveal more of the true character of the city and will also be more accessible than a single garden.
According to the MacLaren Gallery, "sculpture parks have traditionally been contained to spaces like parks or gardens. An entrance fee is often charged. In ArtCity's case there will be no change. Residents and visitors alike will enjoy and be stimulated by art throughout the city. " The natural character of environmental art also preserves and respects the natural shorelines and historical aesthetic of the city of Barrie.
Many of the different pieces will be located in traditionally "public" spaces such as Barrie's forty parks and 2,000 acres of green space. Senior Canadian artist Iain Baxter combines elements of the industrial city with reminiscence of Barrie's shoreline in a group of seven-inspired urban park mural. Danish sculpture Alfio Bonanno has crafted five large-scale milkweed pod and zebra muscle-shaped orbs from natural products. Montreal artist Bill Vazan reinterprets the metaphor of the "bellybutton" in a modern industrial context with his piece The Bellybutton of the World. This crop-circle grass sculpture compares the notion of the bellybutton "the centre of creation" with the landscape of a coastal city, which could be interpreted as a centre of creation of goods and services in the modern industrial world.
Again challenging the divide between public and private spaces, visitors to the ArtCity installations can access descriptions and explanation of the pieces, from the site, though a cell phone-accessible interpretation service offered from the MacLaren Art Gallery.
Perhaps as a result of the "public" nature of the art work, the ArtCity program has had immense support and encouragement from the community. Funding for the project came not only from, the City of Barrie and The Ontario Trillium Foundation, but also, in large part, from community fundraising and donations.
Since the conception and installation of the ArtCity pieces, the buzz of Barrie's sculpture garden has increased cultural tourism in the region. The case of the City of Barrie supports the success of public art as not only a process to promote cultural tourism, however, but also as a source of nurturing an arts and cultural character for a smaller community.
Profile by: Katie Warfield (Creative City Network of Canada, 2006)
- Partnering in Arts Education Brings Cultural Tourists: The story of Dawson Creek's South Peace Summer School of the Arts
DAWSON CREEK, BRITISH COLUMBIA
A unique & successful partnership between the Dawson Creek Art Gallery, the Kiwanis Performing Arts Centre and Northern Lights College - initiated to bring cultural tourists while offering a quality program for all ages. The partnership provides the opportunity to offerprograms in all three facilities and use the expertise of staff and instructors in a variety of creative disciplines, joint advertising budgets and centralized registration.
THE SOUTH PEACE Summer School of the Arts is a joint project hosted by the Art Gallery, the Kiwanis Performing Arts Centre and Northern Lights College in Dawson Creek. Although the Art Gallery had been running a very successful summer program for almost 20 years, both the college and performing arts center were anxious to offer exciting and creative programs for all ages, building on the existing visual arts programs offered.
The Municipality of Dawson Creek provided support for this project through its continued commitment of the art gallery and its community programs. The City of Dawson Creek's generous assistance allowed for the development of the program over a number of years.
In 2002, the three organizations met and began a planning process to host the first summer school for the summer of 2003. At that time the art gallery would be continuing to run its programs throughout July and August, with the other two facilities offering programming for the first three weeks of July. It was the decision of the group that we would start small and look towards the future by "trying the water."
As well as having the opportunity to offer programs in all three facilities, using the expertise of staff and instructors in a variety of creative disciplines, joint advertising budgets and centralized registration assisted in streamlining operations and allowed for the production of a top class program brochure.
The college also made dorms available to students from out of town who wanted to take advantage of the classes and workshops. Instructors from out of the area were also housed in the dorms.
The response for the Summer School was so successful that in its second year the program has been expanded to the two months of July and August. The committee made the commitment to increase the number of brochures printed to 15000, expand the number of programs offered, and have the promotional materials out earlier.
This program was initiated to bring cultural tourists into our community while offering a quality program for all ages. Last year over 400 people participated in our programs from around our region. We attracted students from as far away as Grande Prairie, Fort St. John, Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge.
This year we expanded our brochure distribution scope and hope to attract people from even further away. We were very pleased with the turn out considering it was our first year. The summer of 2004 is well underway and the response is strong and we can only see the program continuing to grow in the future.
Profile by: Ellen Corea, edited by Steven R. Dang (Creative City Network of Canada, 2006).
- The Niagara Grape & Wine Festival: Savouring 54 years of local tradition
NIAGARA REGION, ONTARIO
The Niagara Grape & Wine Festival is a successful case of a partnership between tourism, industry and culture. The festival has become a major source of economic development for the 12 cities and towns that make up the Niagara wine-growing region. It has also become a major force in the support and promotion of local arts and culture.
IN 1952, A SMALL GROUP of community volunteers and grape growers from St. Catharines, Ontario decided to start a parade that would celebrate the grape harvest that takes place in late September. Fifty-four years later the parade is one of the largest and oldest street parades in Canada and has become part of a larger event called the Niagara Wine Festival. The festival has grown and become a major economic force for the 12 cities and various towns that make up the Niagara Region. Each year the Niagara Wine Festival attracts upwards of 500,000 attendees from the region, other parts of Canada, and the United States.
The festival comprises over 100 events, including winery tours, vintage tastings, gourmet dinners, concerts, arts and crafts, the Run for the Grapes, the Mayor’s Invitational Grape Stomp, the children’s Pied Piper Parade, and the Grape and Wine Festival Parade. While many attend to sample food and wine from over 45 of Ontario’s finest restaurants and internationally acclaimed wineries, others come to attend a host of cultural events that take place at Montebello Park, the century old, Frederick Law Olmstead designed park located in St. Catharines.
The Grape and Wine Festival Parade continues to be a main draw, attracting upwards of 200,000 spectators each year. Festival organizers have added another parade, the children’s Pied Piper Parade, where children are invited to dress up in costume and parade down the streets of St. Catharines. In 2005 the theme of the parade was “Super Heroes.”
In 2003, the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Recreation, in conjunction with Festivals and Events Ontario, commissioned Enigma Research Corporation to conduct an extensive economic impact study on 25 major events in Ontario, including the Niagara Wine Festival. Over 11,000 on-site surveys and 2,000 telephone interviews were conducted to gather the data that was then fed into the industry accepted Tourism Regional Economic Impact Model (TREIM). Some of the findings from the study were:
- The Niagara Wine Festival attracted 519,300 attendees in 2003 (46% local, 54% non-local visitors).
- Among the non-local visitors, the average person spent $138 in Niagara on products and services during the festival.
- Almost $39 million in new spending occurred in the region as a direct result of the Niagara Wine Festival.
- 1,038 full-time, year round jobs were created in St. Catharines as a result of this new spending
- Telephone surveys conducted in Canada and the U.S. indicated that 10.1 million Canadians and 34.3 million Americans were aware of the annual Niagara Wine Festival.
The study also measured the non-economic benefits of the Niagara Wine Festival and found that 50% of non-local visitors indicated that the event “very much enhanced” their image of the region. Among local respondents, 98% would recommend the festival to their out-of-town friends or relatives, and 97% planned to attend the event again next year.
The success of the Niagara Wine Festival has been recognized provincially as well as internationally. For three years in a row the festival has been selected as Ontario’s Cultural Event of the Year, and in 2004 it was selected by the American Business Association as one of North America’s Top 100 Events.
The Niagara Grape and Wine Festival is an incorporated non-profit organization that not only organizes the Niagara Wine Festival, but has also founded two new festivals – the Niagara Icewine Festival held in January and the Niagara New Vintage Festival held in June. All of these festivals combined have served to greatly impact the economic wealth as well as the cultural wealth of the Niagara Region.
- Promotion and support of the grape and wine industries and their products.
- Promotion of St. Catharines and the Niagara Region.
- Development and support of the tourism industry in the region.
- Contribution to the quality of life and civic pride within local communities and the region.
- Support and promotion of the arts and culture in the region.
Profile by: Elise Finnigan (Creative City Network of Canada, 2005-2006).
- Spinning off of Hollywood North: The North Vancouver film industry
NORTH VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA
The District of North Vancouver has nurtured a rich and thriving film production industry which profits economically on the gleaming stardom of the Greater Vancouver film industry and reinvests into local community development.
SOME MAY DESCRIBE the trend as "riding the coat tails" but other could rightfully label it simply as "economic initiative. " Located a five-minute drive from the bustling film engine of Vancouver, the District of North Vancouver is an example of a city that is building both cultural identity and profit on the fringes and on the precedent of a strong centralized cultural industry.
The notoriety of Vancouver's film industry hardly needs elaboration. Since the early 1980s, Vancouver has grown in popularity as a centre for film and television production with a mainstay focus on exportation to the United States. Vancouver is the third largest film production region in North America next to Los Angeles and New York, and production is in such high demand that un-built production houses, currently under construction in Burnaby, have already been booked for filming projects next year.
A growing phenomenon, however, and a trend most common to cities which are characterized by a strong cultural industry, is the growth of spin-off districts of cultural production. In the District of North Vancouver, the region has nurtured a rich and thriving film production industry which profits economically on the gleaming stardom of the Greater Vancouver film industry and reinvests into local community development.
Social, Cultural and Environmental Achievements
The growth of the private film industry in North Vancouver has furnished funds for the District to pursue several social and cultural initiatives. The District of North Vancouver has joined with Pacific Cinémathèque to begin the North Shore Summer Visions Youth Film Program, which will enable career exploration for youths interested in the film industry.
The District of North Vancouver has also adopted a very conscientious approach to the growth of the film industry in the region. In 2003 the District of North Vancouver prepared a feedback survey on the local growth of the film industry. The survey questioned residents from Edgemont Village to Deep Cover and found 85% of the residents were supportive of the industry.
Profits from the film industry have also served other cultural, social and environmental programs. Various film productions have donated money for cultural banners in Deep Cove, provided paint to coat a flagpole in Cates Park, and invested in the preservation of land in Lynn Canyon Park and Murdo Frazer Park.
Local Factors and Benefits
One of the foremost factors of the success of North Vancouver's film industry is the Lion's Gate Studios. This studio is the largest full-service production lot in Canada and for several years it has operated at absolute capacity.
The District of North Vancouver also found success through self-promotion as a location that offers "the diverse blend of both the urban cityscape as well as natural the backdrops of mountains, forests and the ocean. "
Spin-offs of spin-offs are cited as another factor in the success of North Vancouver filming. Complementary businesses such as equipment rental companies, catering and props companies, and tourist and hospitality services have grown to feed the needs of the film industry.
The success of filming in North Vancouver is immense and continues to grow annually. Last year the number of productions increased by 60% from 2002, and 96 films were shot including the feature films Paycheck, Catwoman, and Blade 3. Several serials and dramas are also regularly filmed in the district including Dead Zone and Smallville. In 2003, the gross direct revenues to the municipality from filming totaled $307,789.
The District of North Vancouver is an illustration of the success of "spin offs" of local industries from larger central metropolitan industries. This example also reinforces the success and importance of local community consideration in the management and expansion of global cultural industries such as film.
Profile by: Katie Warfield (Creative City Network of Canada, 2005-2006).
- Partners in Promoting Local Artists and Tourism: The story of the Okotoks Art Walk
A very successful project of the Okotoks Arts Council, High River Art Society, local businesses & the Alberta Summer Games with administrative support from the Town of Okotoks. Art Walk's long-term goal is to increase visitation to the region by creating an awareness of producing artists, a desire for people to come and see what Okotoks has to offer, and a lasting impact on tourism in the region. 15 downtown businesses exhibit art as part of Art Walk.
NOW IN ITS SECOND YEAR, Art Walk is a project that places the work of local artists into downtown businesses. The "galleries" are linked together and promoted as a walking tour.
The project is a successful example of innovative partnerships in creative tourism and promotions.
Art Walk is a project of the Okotoks Arts Council, High River Art Society, local businesses and the 2004 Alberta Summer Games, with administrative support from the Town of Okotoks.
The 2004 Alberta Summer Games have been a great accelerator for developing relationships between the Municipal District of Foothills, Town of High River and the Town of Okotoks. The Arts and Heritage Groups have really came together to ensure that our region shines at the games through presentation of a very strong cultural component at the summer games. The Art Walk was developed as part of the games, and was held in 2003 as a trial run to be sure that is would be successful in 2004 with many more participating businesses. In 2003 we had 11 locations in Okotoks. From June 15 to August 26 in 2004 we have 15 businesses in Okotoks and 8 in High River.
The Town of Okotoks works very closely with the Okotoks Arts Council. They do not provide direct financial support, but they do provide administrative and Professional Support through Tracie Ward, Business Centre Leader (department head), Cultural and Historical Services. This very healthy and collaborative relationship has been evolving for nearly 25 years, beginning with the Arts Council re-developing the Train Station as a mixed use Cultural Centre. The Town now operates the facility, with much programming input by the Society.
It is our intention that Art Walk will continue to evolve as an annual event to be anticipated by visitors and locals. Our long-term goal is to increase visitation to our region by creating an awareness of producing artists, creating a desire for people to come and see what we have to offer, and create a lasting impact on tourism in the region. We believe that promoting regional artistic identity will lead to increased visitation to community, and increased future art sales. Our annual increase of sales in 2003 was 51% over 2002 total sales: we anticipate even greater success in 2004.
In 2003 we took a group representing Art Making in the Foothills to the Works Art and Design Festival in Edmonton, to promote Art Walk, and Okotoks as a Cultural Tourism Destination. We received modest financial support from Travel Alberta to assist wit the Marketing component of this. Not only did we find our time well spent at the 13 day Festival in terms of community promotion (13,455 people visited our display), we had significant sales, and 5 artists were offered future exhibitions around the province. We have been invited back for 2004.
Success of Art Walk in 2003 allowed Okotoks Visitor Information Centre to maintain our year over year level of visitors in spite of the general decrease reported by the media in the rest of the province and Canada. It is known three groups of people visited Okotoks specifically because of hearing about Art Walk. One group from Vancouver traveling to Saskatoon saw us at the Works festival in Edmonton, and ordered pottery. They then made special plans to stop in Okotoks to pick it up, and spent time within the community spending 2 hotel nights and purchasing an additional $220 worth of pottery. Another group from the Edmonton area was planning on visiting Alberta South and decided to include Okotoks based on the Works Festival exposure. The third group decided to camp in Okotoks for the Calgary Stampede because of the Works Festival Exposure.
Profile by: Tracie Ward, edited by Steven R. Dang (Creative City Network, 2004-2006).
- Kathaumixw: An internationally acclaimed gathering of many peoples
POWELL RIVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA
The Powell River Academy of Music presents a series of summer festivals that enhance the community musically, culturally, and economically. Their flagship event is the International Choral Kathaumixw (pronounced Ka-thou-mew), named after a local Coast Salish First Nations word meaning “a gathering of different peoples.”
THE POWELL RIVER ACADEMY of MUSIC, formed in 1981, is a non-profit society dedicated to the promotion and development of the arts. Through developing and training artists, as well as by presenting festivals and cultural events, the Academy aims to enhance the quality of life within the community.
Every two years, one of their most popular events transforms the small town of Powell River, located at the edge of British Columbia’s coastal wilderness, into a bustling host city for the International Choral Kathaumixw. With participation from choirs worldwide, the week’s schedule includes concerts, choral and vocal solo competitions, common song singing, conductor’s seminars, a concert tour program, and social events. During 2006, more than a thousand singers and musicians are expected to take part in this 22-year-old festival.
Over the past two decades, the International Choral Kathaumixw has become known not only for the high quality of its music, but also because of the philosophy that defines it. The festival brings together musicians and music lovers, and it celebrates music and music’s ability to bring peace to the world. The setting, a quiet town in the midst of a temperate rainforest overlooking mountains and ocean, is conducive to this philosophy.
The Powell River community also contributes to making the festival a memorable experience. Hundreds of local people volunteer with Kathaumixw in one way or another. All overseas choirs are hosted with local families, and many activities are organized during the week, like seaside barbecues and spontaneous concerts attended by hundreds of community members.
The Kathaumixw Singing Week will bring approximately 200 singers to town for an intensive workshop prior to the International Choral Kathaumixw. In the week following it, an outreach tour featuring about 12 choirs will perform about 30 concerts throughout the Pacific Northwest. In this way, Powell River’s reputation as a cultural community is spread throughout the province.
In addition, the Symphony and Opera Academy of the Pacific (SOAP) is a two-week study and performance intensive that opens the summer music season in June. It offers a rounded musical experience for emerging, talented orchestral musicians. The faculty is recruited from some of the world’s most renowned orchestras. The Powell River Regional Economic Development Society (PRREDS) estimates that the increase in students, coupled with extra visitors to the community for SOAP’s concerts, produced a total economic impact of $1.2 million in 2004 and in 2005. The construction of 48 new units at the Beach Gardens Hotel is further evidence of the success of the program.
These festivals and educational opportunities are important to Powell River for their cultural, artistic, and economic benefits. Musically, the best choirs, soloists, and orchestras from around the globe offer performances. Culturally, the local population learns about music worldwide and makes connections with participants, who typically come from about 16 different countries. Economically, thousands of dollars are spent as the city prepares for the guests, and then by visitors during the events, who keep hotels and restaurants busy. Families have moved to Powell River because of Kathaumixw.
Through this high level of cultural activity, Powell River has become a destination for tourists as well as music lovers. This contributes to and helps diversify the economic base of the community, which is just beginning to emerge from being dependent upon a single industry. According to PRREDS, Powell River is repositioning itself from being a mill-dependent town to becoming a multifaceted, vibrant, working community, embracing tourism, new business development, economic growth, and quality of life. A Cultural Master Plan was developed for PRREDS in 2003, with the city’s “rich fabric of arts and culture” one of Five Attribute Foundations considered critical to the future. Arts, Culture and Education (ACE) is seen as the pillar that will make Powell River, which was awarded one of five Cultural Capitals of Canada grants in 2004, an attractive place to work, play, and live.
The report describes Powell River as "a remarkably lively arts and culture town. This community/region of 20,000 has five performance venues and 19 producing and presenting organizations offering dance, theatre and music in virtually all its forms. Major events are staged every month from February through September; some are international in scope and reputation. Six galleries, nine cultural and heritage associations and one ceramic manufacturer complete the inventory. In addition, Powell River is home to the Powell River Academy of Music, where more than two-dozen teachers work with upwards of 500 instrumental and vocal students."
The Townsite of Powell River is a designated National Historic Site with an active Heritage Society. Another exceptional resource is the Sliammon First Nation with its rich history, art, and culture. Many of the major performances at Kathaumixw have been based on Sliammon legends set to music, such as Kahm Kwu E Tlukw Hahm Kwu E Metl, which means, “May the skies be clear, may the waters be calm.” These music dramas were written for orchestra, singers, actors, and dancers, and included professional musicians as well as participants from Sliammon First Nation.
Other cultural projects include the Raincoast Academy of Lutherie, which provides instruction and practice for instrument makers at all skill levels, and the Jazz Festival, which enlivens an otherwise quiet period. Along with Kathaumixw, these culture-based economic drivers are transforming this small but vibrant town.
Profile by: Kaija Pepper (Creative City Network of Canada, 2006)
- Stratford: The City and the Festival
The City of Stratford is synonymous with theatre, the second largest industry in the city. Each summer, festival season draws more than 10 million visitors to southwest Ontario. The City of Stratford has worked closely and caringly to establish a convivial balance between the needs of the local community and those of the significant tourist population.
"OUR REASON FOR BEING is to bring to life, through performance, the plays that transcend national boundaries, that transcend, indeed, their own eras and cultures, and speak as vividly to us today as when they were written, be it 500 or 2,500 years ago. "
With this statement, Antoni Cimolino, director of the Stratford Festival, captured the essence of the success of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. It is the collective appeal of theatre, the innate educational element of the art, and the universal messages, morals and life lessons that permeate the story lines of a good production. These, in combination with a realistic economic strategy, are the elements that have ripened the Festival to international fame. It is the merging of arts and economics with community support and identity that has led to the success of the city and the fruition of its character.
The concept of Stratford was the brainchild of the young and snappy journalist, Tom Patterson. When the rail industry bottomed out at the start of the 1950s Patterson developed the idea of a summer repertory theatre festival in the town. Patterson, determined, solicited New York City for support and returned to Stratford with the interest of legendary British Director Tyrone Guthrie and actor Alec Guinness who opened the first production at Stratford, on July 13th, 1953 in Richard III.
The festival has grown every year since then, and last year, in 2003, the festival marked its 50th anniversary.
Today, the City of Stratford is synonymous with theatre. Theatre is the second largest industry in the city with yearly revenues of $112 million. Each summer festival season draws more than 10 million visitors to southwest Ontario.
The City of Stratford has worked closely and caringly to establish a convivial balance between the needs of the local community, and the needs of the significant tourist population. Cimolino explains the success of a creative industry in today's economy is possible, but that it is a matter of, "disciplined dreaming, in the fast-changing business world of today, that's where the money is ... place value on imagination [which is] exactly what most successful corporations do. "
Complementary industries have developed, mainly in hospitality, such as restaurants, bed and breakfasts, tour operators, and artists have made their homes in Stratford. These businesses develop the sense of identity and recreation necessary for a community. In turn this natural sense of community is appealing and comforting to visitors, and perhaps refreshingly different from cities, which focus on more of an assertive and aggressive tourist marketing approach. Again Stratford blends the lines between identity, the arts and economics.
Social and Cultural Sustainability
The City has moulded an identity around the core cultural economic engine of the theatre. Unlike traditional tourism, however, the orientation of the marketing is not strictly external - attempting to attract outsiders without acknowledgment of the contributions of the local community. Instead the City of Stratford and the Stratford Festival have grown mutually and have encouraged education, accessibility, and community cohesion.
Education is also central to the Stratford philosophy. The festival provides workshops for high schools universities and college students and also arranges educational matinees with pre-show chats between the actors and students. The Shakespeare on Wheels program enables groups of 20 high school students to work intensely and closely with theatre professionals to produce a play in three days. The Teaching Shakespeare Program and the popular Shakespeare School provide theatre education to youths through classes and day camps.
The Stratford Festival for many years has focused on accessibility as a mainstay of their mandate - several initiatives have evolved to provide tickets, performances or profits to lower income individuals, families or groups. Every summer the Festival organizes benefit concerts featuring festival performers to raise money for local charities. Many of the festival employees are also strong supporters of the United Way. The festival also provides student and family discount tickets and rush tickets for same-night performances.
A balance between economic realism, but with a mandate of arts, education and accessibility, has resulted in a community cohesion and support for a cultural engine which forms the core of the city's character.
Profile by: Katie Warfield (Creative City Network of Canada, 2005-2006)
- Creative Tourism Bolsters Cultural Community in Rural Ontario: The story of Strathroy-Caradoc's Baskets & More Conference
Strathroy-Caradoc's Baskets & More Conference demonstrates that the ability to attract a wide range of craft enthusiasts to one's community has a range of impacts beyond the financial injection that 60 registrants will bring with them. In Strathroy-Caradoc's experience, the ability to directly communicate the value of Culture to the community leadership through the success of cultural ventures such as the Baskets & More Conference has a tangible impact on other local Cultural organizations.
CREATIVE TOURISM is a variation on traditional models of tourism, which appeals to tourists seeking the opportunity to have a hands-on cultural experience outside of the normal sightseeing opportunities.
By providing the opportunity for local cultural organizations to foster experiential tourism opportunities, municipalities are better able to advance a vibrant and healthy creative community.
The Municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc has been actively supporting the arts and cultural community for several years but has recently had the opportunity to explore an innovative partnership to develop a truly unique Creative Tourism opportunity.
The Municipality of Strathroy-Caradoc (pop.19,000) is an amalgamated community in rural South-Western Ontario. Currently there are 2.5 fulltime staff positions working directly to foster and support the Cultural Community. The opportunity to partner with a local artisan in the development of the annual South-western Ontario Basketry Conference has in a few short years blossomed into a unique tourism initiative.
Baskets & More in 2004 is the second annual Basketry Conference hosted at the Gemini Sportsplex in Strathroy, Ontario. The conference is the idea of local basketry expert, Alice Lingard; the conference grew from a gathering of expert basket makers in Ontario and New York where Lingard and others felt that a hands-on creative conference for experts and novices would be a unique offering.
The first conference Basket Spree in 2003 was a highly successful collaboration between Lingard's business' Heritage Baskets, the municipality and the local business community. In addition to logistical and financial support, the municipality committed to providing access to the recently built Gemini Sportsplex as a host site for the conference. Over 65 people attended the three days of workshops and attended the social activities held in the downtown core. Profits from the first conference were used to establish a basket maker's guild for South Western Ontario and to ensure the development of the conference in 2004.
One of the keys to the success of this project is that Lingard and her volunteers are keeping the budget under tight control. Expenses are budgeted at just over $5,000 for this year, with the Municipality providing more than $4,500 of in-kind support to ensure the success of this venture. With more than 60 registrants it is expected that the conference will net over $6,000 to be re-invested into the activities of the Guild and the conference in 2005.
The ability to attract a wide range of craft enthusiasts to our community has a range of impacts beyond the financial injection that 60 registrants will bring with them. In our experience, the ability to directly communicate the value of culture to the community leadership through the success of cultural ventures such as these has a tangible impact on other local cultural organizations. Successful cultural events provide a key learning opportunity for the community to better understand the integration of art, culture and heritage into everyday activities in the community.
The success of the basketry conference contributes to the density of cultural offerings within our municipality. As a whole, the impact of arts, culture and heritage tourism are having an impact on the future of the community. We are seeing an increase in interest in "Culture" as evidenced through an evolving Cultural Planning Process and more tangible impacts with the relocation of several well-established artists and crafts persons into our community.
Profile by: David Goode, edited Steven R. Dang (Creative City Network of Canada, 2004-2006).
- Theatre and Trinity: One good thing deserves another
TRINITY, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
Had it not been for a theatre company, Trinity, Newfoundland, might well have become a ghost town. Happily, today Trinity is bustling with tourists who want to experience Rising Tide Theatre's historical performances.
LIKE A CULTURAL AND ECONOMIC pied piper, Rising Tide Theatre has become a traveling catalyst for not only the growth and perpetuation of theatre and arts in a series of small towns in Newfoundland, but also a stimulant to their economies through cultural tourism initiatives that focus on preserving and upholding local heritage and history.
Florence Button, the general manager of Rebel Island Theater Company, explained the coordination of culture and heritage with the strengthening of local community economics: "Groups like Rising Tide & keep our cultural traditions alive while providing a wide range of economic benefits to the communities that support them. The province's culture and heritage also play an integral part in defining and enhancing our tourism product to the world. "
With Some Help from Friends
Rising Tide Theatre began as a professional theatre troupe in 1978. The company's mandate focused on supporting local Newfoundland writers, actors, and artists and also did so by traveling and staging productions throughout the province. In 1993, Rising Tide visited the small community of Trinity, Trinity Bay, to produce and perform a locally written, full-scale historical pageant. The play, New Founde Land, which was presented as a walking tour of the town of Trinity, was written by Donna Butt and Rick Boland and celebrated the province's rich and diverse history through a series of dialogues and vignettes. The production of New Founde Land was cooperative and educational as it combined the abilities of the professional actors from Rising Tide with the ambition and talent of actors from the local community.
Building on Precedence
The following year, the success of the first staging of New Founde Land enabled the production of Summer in the Bight, a theatre festival which showcased the best of Newfoundland's theatre productions.
In 2000 the town of Trinity built and opened a new large wood-frame performance house dedicated to the growing fame of the summer theatre season. The design of the theatre house also captures the historic architecture of the town of Trinity.
Merging Economics and Heritage
Since the first efforts by Rising Tide and the local population of Trinity, theatre in that small town has grown to become not only a major character trait of the town, but also a strong driver for their economy. Now, twelve years after the first staging, New Founde Land and the Summer on the Bight festival attract summer audiences of more than 20,000 people. Cultural tourism and the arts in Newfoundland contribute more than $200 million to the provincial economy each year. The theatre productions have created five full-time jobs and the summer festival creates over 100 short-term jobs.
From a simple invitation in 1993 which combined the efforts of a professional theatre troupe with a motivated local community, the town of Trinity has nurtured a strong character and economy based on theatre and historical appreciation. Local support and enthusiasm for the arts and for theatre have developed this effort into a cultural mainstay for the region.
Profile by: Katie Warfield (Creative City Network of Canada, 2005-2006).
- Creating the "Quilt Capital of Canada": The story of the Waterloo County & Area Quilt Festival
A wonderful example of a community-based creative tourism initiative that celebrates regional cultural heritage, creativity and craftsmanship.
THE WATERLOO COUNTY & Area Quilt Festival (WCAQF) is a non-profit organization that presents an annual 10-day Festival in May celebrating the art and heritage of quilting through 40 different events in 10 communities. This is the largest Festival of its kind in Canada, celebrating the rich quilting heritage of the Region and helping to promote Waterloo County as the "Quilt Capital of Canada."
Waterloo's Cultural Heritage: "The Quilt Capital of Canada"
The Waterloo Region has strong, historical German and Mennonite cultural ties. In the early settlement period, cloth supplies were limited and encouraged creative uses of available material. Old clothing and blankets - even flour sacks - were recycled to quilt together items such as bed coverings. Quilting was a practical necessity for the early settler women in the Region, and over time, the craft transformed to incorporate designs and patterns. As material became more available, quilting began to be used to decorate the home. The "Crazy Quilting Era," for example, used rich velvets and embroidery work.
Women in the Waterloo Region also used the quilting bee as a social outlet to battle the isolation of pioneer life. Quilting bees were also formed around religious gatherings. Even in the settler period, quilts were made for fundraising efforts. During the Second World War, people would donate money to have their family name embroidered on a quilt to help fund the war effort. These were known as "Red Cross Quilts."
"Red Cross Quilts" are still popular today in the Waterloo Region with its strong Mennonite culture of old and more modern day orders. The local Mennonite culture and its artistic influences are a strong attraction and component of our Quilt Festival. Visitors can take in our exhibits, and while in town, have a Mennonite experience.
The WCAQF raises public awareness and appreciation of the art and heritage of quilting in the Waterloo Region. It celebrates the social function of quilting within communities. The Festival is attended by quilters from across Canada and from around the world, making the Region a cultural tourism destination as "the Quilt Capital of Canada."
A Grassroots Initiative & the effort of many communities
The Waterloo County & Area Quilt Festival began 9 years ago when a group of local quilt shop owners, museums and quilt guilds joined together to celebrate the art and heritage of quilting in the region through an annual Festival. The Festival has grown from 12 events in 1996 to over 40 events (such as workshops, fashion shows, teas, lectures, quilt auctions, merchant mall and exhibits) in 10 local communities: Baden, Cambridge, Elmira, Guelph, Kitchener, New Hamburg, Shakespeare, St. Jacobs, Stratford and Waterloo. Over 4,000 volunteers work year-round to put the WCAQF together.
One of the unique aspects of the Festival is that the WCAQF organization acts as an umbrella for the 49 registered events. The organization is responsible for all aspects of marketing, promotion, advertising and administration of the annual quilt festival. It is also responsible for securing the necessary funds to maintain these operations through sponsorships, grants, and its own fundraising efforts. As a non-profit organization and the umbrella for the community events, the WCAQF acts as a one-stop source for visitor information, marketing and promotion. Each community event raises money or awareness for its own purpose. Any money raised by that community event stays with that organization for its own use.
Four of the 49 events are owned and operated by the WCAQF: the Ontario Juried Quilt Show, the World Piece Exhibit, the Quilt Gallery, and the Merchant Mall/Quilt Market. Community event organizers manage the remaining 45 events and maintain all of their gate receipts. Many of them use the gate receipts as fundraising for charities of their choice.
The Festival received a 3-year trillium grant to support the position of executive director and volunteer coordinator. It also receives small grants (under $5,000) from the City of Kitchener, the City of Waterloo, the Regional Municipality of Waterloo and the City of Cambridge.
The Impacts of Creative Tourism
Drawing crowds of over 35,000 annually (26,000 from outside the Waterloo Region), the Festival is now the largest festival of its kind in Canada and has been recognized as the largest visual arts festival in Ontario. Visitors come from Australia, Japan, Scotland, England, South Africa, Scandinavia, from across the United States and Canada. 40,000 visitors are expected for the 2004 Festival. In 2002, the WCAQF enhanced the economic vitality of its partnered communities by bringing in $1,911,849 to the area through tourism.
A large number of museums, art galleries and historic sites participate in the Festival. They all have seen the economic benefit of being a registered event and put on excellent exhibits each year.
The SARS experience last year devastated the Festival as the outbreaks took place just before and during the festival. While we suffered tremendous financial losses, the SARS experience did force us to enter into creative partnerships to survive to host the 2004 Quilt Festival.
The Cities of Waterloo and Kitchener, as well as the Regional Municipality of Waterloo, came through with $5,000 provisional grants for the Festival, and another $78,000 was secured from the Ministry of Culture.
With these funds, the Festival brought on a Group Tour Coordinator. Many of the group tours attended only one to three quilting events, but then take in other local attractions. All of the tourism partners were thrilled with the full-service tourism operations that the Festival offered and many of tourism partners benefited. The challenge will be finding the necessary funds to continue this critical position once the SARS grant has expired in November 2004.
The Festival also entered into a fabulous partnership with Visitor Magazine, a local tourist publication. Normally the Quilt Festival prints and distributes 18,000 copies of the Quilt Festival Guide. Distribution costs were very prohibitive and the Festival could not afford a mail out. Through partnership with Visitor Magazine, the Festival Guide was distributed as an insert in their Spring Publication complete with maps, Calendar of Events and Program details. The Festival was able to increase circulation from 18,000 to 40,000 and publish in full colour. The Festival focused its marketing strategies towards reaching a direct target market by doing sales missions to quilt guilds, quilt shows and quilt stores to raise awareness of the Festival and to encourage participation in the competitions / challenges and attendance at the Festival. Within the first month, the 40,000 copies were gone with quilting guilds and stores screaming for more. The Festival is entering into discussions with Visitor Magazine to increase circulation to 100,000 for 2005.
2005 is the 10th Anniversary of the Festival. In celebration, the Canadian Quilters Association (CQA) will be holding their annual conference at the Festival. The CGA conference will attract quilters from across Canada to the Festival and record crowds are expected as a result. Many quilters in Ontario are eager to attend the Conference; an opportunity to "wow" them and entice them to come back in subsequent years.
Profile by: Ana Kirkham, edited by Steven R. Dang (Creative City Network of Canada, 2004-2006).