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Cultural Districts

About Indiana Cultural Districts

An Indiana Cultural District is a well-recognized, labeled, mixed-use area with unique, authentic art and cultural identity. Each districts is a statewide leader in cultural development. The IAC provides project funding for designated Indiana Cultural Districts, facilitates statewide collaboration through the Indiana Cultural District Consortium, and provides other capacity-building opportunities for cultural district leadership.

Indiana Cultural Districts:

Make no mistake, a sustainable, thriving cultural district doesn't happen by accident. Explore the indicators of cultural districts below and how they are contributing to Indiana's vibrancy.

When you step into each district you'll find unique, authentic art, and cultural identity. The cultural district identity and experience is connected to the history and long-standing traditions and culture of the place and its residents. Available on a year-round basis are high concentrations of and a variety of types of arts and culture assets and programming. Each cultural district is recognizable and well-known (both physically and in reputation) to residents and visitors as a vibrant center for creativity, arts and culture.

Organizations and programming in the cultural district empower residents and visitors to learn about the arts and culture and express themselves creatively. You won't have trouble finding artists in a cultural district. They are ever-present, offering programs, selling products, using studio space, etc. And they aren't working in a silo. Artists and arts and culture organizations partner with others to identify resources that will sustain their work and life in the community, such as small business resources, professional development, access to leadership or special funding.

17,725 creative jobs are in the zip codes surrounding Indiana Cultural Districts. (2018)

Every district has an existing community development plan that includes quality of life goals for those who live and work in or near the cultural district (i.e. access to workspace, housing affordability, access to public transportation, access to groceries, safety, access to a high-quality school, etc.). Community development goals involving the cultural district clearly support the community’s growth and wellbeing in measurable outcomes. An inclusive group of perspectives (i.e. diversity in race, gender, ability, grassroots, leadership, etc.) continually informs community development plans involving a cultural district.

In 2018, Indiana Cultural Districts estimated $1.5B in economic impact through tourism.

Local artists and arts and culture leaders are no strangers to being involved in the ongoing planning and implementation of economic development strategies that impact the local creative ecosystem. History is recognized, embraced, utilized in revitalization goals and efforts. The key to making sure all cylinders are firing together is making sure that the creative ecosystem is working in tandem with local and/or regional tourism.

Local partners keenly plan and tend to the creative people and places that make each district great. This involves intense planning with relevant partners to actively collaborate to move the cultural district's long-range plan forward. The team includes local artists and/or cultural sector leaders, key public, nonprofit and private sector leaders, tourism, community and economic development partners, and others as appropriate.

IAC Program Manager, Anna Tragesser's top five examples of how arts and culture drive economic development and quality of place in Indiana as demonstrated by statewide designated cultural districts.

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