Monday, August 3, 2020

CB Creative District looking to transition to Center for the Arts

Moving from a municipal organization to an arts organization

By Mark Reaman

A proposed restructuring of the Crested Butte Creative District that would result in the primary organization coming under the umbrella of the Crested Butte Center for the Arts is being discussed. A public meeting will be held on the topic on Thursday, March 28 at the Crested Butte Town Hall.

The move would bring the advocacy, programming and partnership aspects of the district under the Center. The public art policy element would stay under the auspices of a town public art commission.

Creative District commission chairperson Melissa Mason, who also works for the Center for the Arts, told the Crested Butte Town Council at the March 18 meeting that the Center was already tackling some of the programming elements involved with the district. “We haven’t totally fleshed out everything yet but this seems to make the most sense,” she said.

“The scope of the Creative District and the work of the board members is pretty extensive at the moment,” said Crested Butte Creative District coordinator Mel Yemma.

“Commission burnout is a pretty big issue right now,” agreed Mason.

The town is funding the district at about $33,000 annually at the moment. But the Town Council has requested the district to become more financially independent. Under the initial proposal, the town would still give the district up to $15,000 in 2020 to help fund a full-time position with the district.

The end result of the transition is expected to lead to better efficiency and success of the entire Creative District. The program focus with the Center would be on advocacy for the creative arts sector by identifying needs and opportunities for the creative community of Crested Butte.

Town community development director Michael Yerman said the shift could help financially shore up the district, since under the Center, donors would likely be more willing to contribute funds to the non-profit Center for the Arts than to the town.

“The Creative District has done an amazing job the last few years,” noted Yemma. “It is just ready and time to take the next step.”

“The Center is not really absorbing the district—it will house the district,” emphasized Mason. “We will still work to have an independent, well-rounded board.”

The transition is expected to take about a year to complete. The Center for the Arts board has given a preliminary green light to the proposal and the Town Council appeared open to the move as well. The idea now is to gather public feedback on the proposal and refine a more concrete plan for the transition. That begins March 28 at 5:30 p.m. with a public meeting at the Crested Butte council chamber.

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