Carbondale and partners receive $25K for Colorado Creative Loop | AspenTimes.com

Carbondale and partners receive $25K for Colorado Creative Loop

Carla Jean Whitley
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Carbondale Creative District will soon be poised to draw even more tourism business through the soon-to-be-established Colorado Creative Loop. Carbondale is one of five towns in the loop, which last week received a $25,000 marketing matching grant from the Colorado Tourism Office.

“I estimate that this is going to increase awareness and visibility — not only locally and regionally within our community, but also to our partners — about the importance of arts and business and economic development,” said Carbondale Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Andrea Stewart. The Tourism Council of Carbondale, one of the partners in the effort, is part of the chamber. “We’re all here for the same reasons. It’s important to really emphasize regional collaboration of arts and creative industries.”

Carbondale will collaborate with Salida, Ridgway, Crested Butte and Delta County in marketing itself as a creative tourism destination. The four towns are certified creative districts, a distinction administered through Colorado Creative Industries.

Carbondale Tourism and Carbondale Arts will spearhead the effort. Carbondale Arts Executive Director Amy Kimberly said working together has long been discussed among creative districts.

“How are we going to collaborate,” she said. “Besides making ourselves strong, how are we going to support each other?”

Marketing the regional collaboration will rely heavily on a website that includes suggested itineraries for each of the destinations, as well as public relations efforts.

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It’s modeled, in part, on the Hot Springs Loop campaign. It, too, is featured on Colorado Tourism Office’s website and highlights five partners: Glenwood Springs, Ouray, Pagosa Springs, Chaffee County and Steamboat Springs. Each community has a landing page within the Hot Springs Loop site, and the community’s assets are highlighted. The sites also link to other area amenities, such as lodging and other attractions.

Kimberly said the five Colorado Creative Loop areas all offer arts, agriculture and recreation.

“That seems to be an experience that a lot of people are looking for — the farm-to-table foods, the creative culinary,” she said. Carbondale Creative District is inclusive of a variety of creative fields, including food.

“Something like that would benefit the whole valley and hopefully drive people to artists,” Colorado Creative Industries’ Christine Costello said a month before the grant was announced. “There’s some cool ways that the creative districts are supporting the businesses that are immediately in their downtown areas.”

The entities will meet this week and begin to home in on selecting a designer for the loop’s branding. Stewart said the application process required them to identify a timeline and set goals, which will now inform the next steps. The partner sites will develop itineraries for the website, and they’ll work to develop a photo bank for promotional purposes.

Kimberly said she looks forward to seeing what else could arise from the collaborative process.

“Who knows what that’s going to bring up when we’re all communicating regularly,” she said. “I think some alliances and collaborations will come out of that, as well.”

“We picked this platform really hoping to encourage other communities to partner, but it would also be great to bring more partners on board in our loop as well,” Stewart said. “Who knows the potential of this?”

The campaign will formally launch at the Colorado Creative Industries Summit, which will be held in Greeley in May. The CTO matching grants range from $5,000-$25,000, and this year’s program resulted in more than 50 applications.

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Visit Colorado.com/hotspringsloop to see the results of that collaboration.

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