Mancos has been designated as a Colorado Certified Creative District.
The creative district program, established in 2011, seeks to attract artists to communities, as well enhancing the quality of life and promoting the economies of those areas.
“We’re absolutely ecstatic,” said Rena Wilson, member of the Mancos Creative District steering committee.
The Mancos Creative District has been pursuing an official designation from the state. The group has been led by a steering committee, but Wilson said they will create a board of directors to move forward. After the board is created at a meeting on Thursday, June 23, the group will go from there to see what future projects will be, Wilson said.
Mancos received the designation along with five other districts: Breckenridge, Carbondale, Crested Butte, Fort Collins and Golden Triangle, a neighborhood in Denver. Colorado Creative Industries (CCI), a state agency, is partnering with the Boettcher Foundation to award the districts a total of $240,000, or about $40,000 each.
In Mancos, officials and arts activists are still waiting to hear if the town will be the winner of another state philanthropic project — Space to Create. The program would create affordable housing for artists in the Mancos Valley, likely by way of renovating or repurposing an existing property in downtown Mancos.
Mancos hosted a group of officials from the Boettcher Foundation, the Department of Local Affairs and CCI for a Space to Create site visit May 11. Wilson said the town expected a decision by the end of May, but it has been delayed. The town of Ridgway also is a Space to Create finalist.
If Mancos is selected, the town would be responsible for contributing up to $35,000 for a feasibility and market study for the project, according to Town Administrator Andrea Phillips. Wilson said the $40,000 gained from the Creative District designation might be used to fund that study. The money also might be used for new signage along U.S. Highway 160, which bypasses downtown Mancos, she said.
Mancos was one of eight finalists that were selected for creative district site visits, according to a CCI press release. CCI and Boettcher officials reviewed the applications based on criteria such as district characteristics, management and planning and community buy-in.
A Certified Creative District must capture its unique story and reflect that story, as well as be integrated with other community systems such as planning, economic development, tourism, transportation, urban renewal, safety and public gathering spaces, the release states. Certified Creative Districts also must have local government endorsement.
The six new districts will join the 12 existing districts, including 40West Arts District, Corazon de Trinidad, Denver’s Art District on Santa Fe, Downtown Colorado Springs Creative District, Greeley Creative District, Longmont Arts and Entertainment District, North Fork Valley Creative District, Pueblo Creative Corridor, Ridgway Creative District, RiNo Arts District, Salida Creative District and Telluride Arts District.
“The goal of this program is to help Colorado Creative Districts achieve the administrative structure, funding streams, community engagement process and strategic plan that provide opportunities to grow the creative economy,” said CCI director Margaret Hunt in the press release.