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Step 1: Self-Assessment

Assemble the team

Before you start down the Creative Community Pathway, you’ll need a team of people as excited about it as you are. Consider bringing together artists, nonprofit directors, small business owners, civically engaged residents, local public leaders, tourism professionals, and economic development folks.

Here’s some great advice and tools for assembling this team from our creative friends in Colorado.

Set your sights

Talk big picture with your team. You're about to plan, organize and invest in your creative community. Why?

If you're struggling on this point, here are a few places for inspiration:


Download a Self-Assessment Worksheet

Together with your team, take a thoughtful, critical look at the the foundational principles listed in the self-assessment. For each bullet point, discuss:

As of today, is this point clearly true to both residents and visitors of our community?

If you can confidently answer yes for each point, you’re ready to start a Letter of Intent (LOI) to the Creative Community Pathway. Submitting an LOI activates a full team of IAC-convened consultants to offer advice and next steps to keep your working toward your cultural development goals.

If the answer is no for any point, keep working. Consider:

What are some innovative ways we see this point happening other places? Who or what would take this point to the next level, or make it uniquely ours?

You’ve just started forming a plan.

Foundational principles (and LOI Criteria)

These points demonstrate the basis of a strong cultural development strategy. These criteria mention a cultural district, because they’ll show up again in the Indiana Cultural District criteria for designation. If you’re not intending to pursue cultural district designation, you should still define the geographic area that you’re self-assessing.

Arts and Culture Identity
  • The cultural district has a unique, authentic arts and cultural identity, and it is articulated clearly.
  • The cultural district identity and experience is connected to the history or long-standing traditions and culture of the place and its residents.
  • The cultural district currently has a high concentration and a variety of types of arts and culture assets and programming available year-round and on nights and weekends.
  • The 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.
Cultural Development and Leadership
  • Organizations and programming in the cultural district empower residents and visitors to learn about arts and culture and express themselves creatively.
  • Artists (of any discipline or approach) are active in the cultural district such as offering programs, selling products, using studio space, etc.

Community Development

  • An existing community development plan 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.).

Economic Development/Tourism Development

  • The local economic development plan incorporates strategies to support and build upon arts and culture assets in the cultural district.

Cultural District Management and Planning

  • A guiding team of relevant partners actively collaborates to move the cultural district's plan forward. This 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.
  • Appropriate resources exist (i.e. funding, partners, etc.) to move the cultural district plan forward.

Get Started

  1. Download a Self-Assessment Worksheet  
  2. OR Keep working on your own timeline. Contact the Indiana Arts Commission for more resources to help you address some specific points