The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), Colorado Creative Industries Division (CCI) and the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) along with Boettcher Foundation, Artspace and the Town of Ridgway gathered today to announce Ridgway as the community selected for Space to Create in Southwest Colorado. The program will develop affordable workforce housing for the creative sector, as well as position Colorado as the nation’s leader in artist-led community transformation in rural creative placemaking.
“Housing and economic development are vital needs in rural Colorado, and the Space to Create initiative advances both of these issues by harnessing the power of the public, private and philanthropic sectors, as well as the creative community, to elevate rural economies,” said Fiona Arnold, executive director of OEDIT.
Space to Create Ridgway will advance a creative sector workforce project in the town of Ridgway. The project will begin with a preliminary feasibility study and community engagement work scheduled for September 28 – 30, 2016, followed by an arts market survey.
Space to Create Ridgway, is one of nine projects that will be launched in eight regions in Colorado’s rural, small town and mountain communities over the next three years. Each project will be driven by community needs for workforce housing and commercial space for artists and creative entrepreneurs. The first demonstration project was launched last year in Trinidad. Regional selections are prioritized based on readiness, public will, commitment of local resources and housing demands.
“This is an amazing and much-needed opportunity for the Town of Ridgway and our region,” said Jen Coates, Ridgway town manager. “We are honored to be selected for Space to Create in Southwest Colorado and to join such an incredible team of partners. Workforce housing and growing our local economy have been top priorities for many years. As a Creative District and Main Street community that is investing in downtown infrastructure today, Ridgway could not be more prepared or better suited to welcome this fantastic project.”
"The Space to Create Ridgway initiative will unite local and regional partners in an effort to create an important catalyst for economic development in Colorado’s rural communities,” said Irv Halter, DOLA executive director.
Artspace, America’s leader in artist-led community transformation, will act as lead consultant with CCI.