CEDAR CITY — Iron County has been selected for the National Association of Counties “Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge,” an initiative sponsored in partnership with Americans for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. Iron County, along with six other counties throughout the nation, will be participating in workshops to identify strategies and solutions to improve their communities through the arts.
“The arts have long been an important part of Iron County’s historical narrative and have driven millions of dollars into our local economy, improving our quality of life and attracting business to our historic downtown,” Director of Cedar City and Iron County Economic Development Danny Steward said.
The Arts and Economic Prosperity 5 study shows that arts and culture programs generate $63.8 billion annually in spending by arts organizations and their audiences. During this time, direct arts industry expenditures in Iron County were over $76 million. The “Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge” was established to assist smaller counties with furthering this cultural economic impact.
In September, counties with a population of 250,000 or less were invited to apply and participate in the challenge. Counties from across the United States applied with teams consisting of county elected officials, representatives from local arts organizations and business leaders.
In coordination with the Southern Utah University Grants office, the Cedar City and Iron County Office of Economic Development assembled a team consisting of Iron County Commissioner Mike Bleak, Southern Utah Museum of Art director and curator Jessica Farling, local artist and business owner Nick Froyd, Cedar City Councilman Scott Phillips, Cedar Highlands Mayor Steven Swann and Cedar City Economic Coordinator Brad Abrams to complete the application.
Counties were chosen in December and Iron County was selected along with Haines Borough, Alaska; Pottawattamie County, Iowa; Lafayette Parish, La.; Sullivan County, N.H.; McKinley County, N.M.; and Athens County, Ohio.
From March 28-30, these team members will take part in a creative placemaking workshop training in Polk County, Iowa. For the next two years, additional training will be provided as the team determines strategies and projects to implement in Iron County.