Department: Carbondale Creative District

In Magazine, May 2018 by Amy KimberlyLeave a Comment

The Carbondale Creative District

Carbondale has grown into the vibrant, resourceful, funky, colorful community it is primarily through the purposeful efforts of its arts council (first the Carbondale Council for Arts & Humanities, and now Carbondale Arts)  and the creatives that call Carbondale home. Officially designated as the Carbondale Creative District in 2016,  Carbondale now has access to the resources needed to solidify our standing as an arts-driven community.

Bonedale|Amplified recognizes the role Carbondale Arts and the Creative District play in making life so freaking fantastic here. For this, we will visit them every month for the good word! This month, we hear from CA Executive Director Amy Kimberly:

“Art Flag Project” rendering by Laura Stover

Why a Creative District?

Sometimes concepts come along that are elusive, intangible and hard to understand, but the Creative District concept is one that makes sense for many communities. Why? Because it has given value back to professions and passions that were devalued, especially during the industrial revolution and after. In ancient days, it was the poets and philosophers that were the esteemed members of a community. They gave a depth and understanding to life that has been overshadowed by science and money.

 Economics of a local Creative Class

Today, communities like Carbondale, are turning back to professions like local food production, crafts such as wood working, clay and steel and culinary arts to create vibrant places. This is important for Carbondale because we can create and support local. This keeps money circulating in our community. It provides opportunity for many. Carbondale Arts saw those opportunities and brought the town to an official certification with the State of Colorado.

We are now two years into that certification and Carbondale is reaping the benefits. Some are subtle, gentle benefits and others are deeper, economic bounties. The tangible is that it has allowed us to invest over $100,000 real money directly back into our community.

The Rio Grande ARTway

Volunteers are the heart and hustle of various CCD projects.

If you travel along the Rio Grande ARTway, signage + way finding alert people to our creative zones. Two parks are in the development stage and will be ready this spring. In fact, this spring is a great time to get involved in this creative placemaking project. There will be several major planting days.  The first one kicks off Sunday, May 20 with the planting of over $4,000 worth of plants. 

Hands-on at the Carbondale Clay Center this past April.

The Latino Folk Art Garden is vibrant with planning activity. Our Community Clay Days attracted over 50 people, Anglo + Latino, all getting our hands dirty together. The camaraderie and joy that developed over the two days gave proof that this project is doing just what it is meant to do, integrate our diverse communities around a common goal.

Other opportunities around the ARTway include mosaic table making, pepper planting and archway planning. Keep your eyes on buildings around town over the next two years as we launch a two year mural making adventure, transforming blank walls into statements of interest and beauty.

Shooting for Affordable Creatives’ Housing

Housing is an ongoing process and the Carbondale Creative District (CCD) is collaborating with the Town of Carbondale on furthering an affordable, sexy housing project for creatives. The Needs Assessment is finished and a Market Study will be implemented in June. We don’t know where this will end up but we do see a pathway to fruition so our fingers are crossed. It does take a village to make these projects succeed.

These are just a few of the benefits of being a Certified Creative District. There are many more opportunities happening because of our certification and we will roll them out in the months to come. My favorite saying these days is “Never mistake clarity of view for a short distance”, Paul Saffo. You can stay connected with all things creative at