Archive for August, 2022

Arts/Culture Group Holds Brainstorming Session

August 19th, 2022 Comments off

Jay Dick, a senior director with Americans for the Arts (AFA), joined Thursday night’s session remotely. In the foreground are members of Potter County’s delegation attending an AFA training session in Denver, from left, Paul Heimel, Arthur Metzger and Tim Walck. Also speaking to the group was Sarah Merritt, representing the Pa. Council on the Arts.

Resurrection of the Potter County Arts Council was among the goals established during a brainstorming session Thursday evening at the Gunzburger Building. It was the first local gathering following Potter County’s selection as one of six locations in the nation for a yearlong pilot project to create a vibrant arts culture that can support community and economic development. The “Creative Counties Placemaking Challenge: Arts & Culture as an Economic Driver” initiative is a project of the Americans for the Arts (AFA). Potter County’s project involves the use of schools, libraries, artisans, local leaders, businesses, galleries/museums and volunteers.

About 25 invited guests participated in Thursday’s roundtable, representing businesses, libraries, schools, tourist marketing, historic preservation, county government, arts/culture centers and multiple forms of the arts — music, theater, fiber arts, artisan crafts and others. The group reviewed a draft strategic plan that was developed after Potter County’s delegation of Paul Heimel, Arthur Metzger and Tim Walck attended an AFA workshop in Denver. Among its elements:

Potter County’s overarching goals

  • to reverse population loss and rising median age;
  • to make Potter County more appealing to those who live here, those who are looking to relocate to a rural community, and those who left Potter County and might consider returning;
  • to use the arts as part of a broader strategy for community and economic development.

So what’s next?

  • Assembling a steering committee to draft and implement a work plan. Contact potential partners and advisors to apprise them of the mission.
  • Resurrect the Potter County Arts Council.
  • Survey local school students and young adults to learn more of their expectations or preferences to make local communities more appealing.
  • Investigate potential sources of funding and technical assistance/consulting.
  • Continue to collaborate with the Americans for the Arts and project partners to fully maximize Potter County’s engagement.
  • Continue research into best practices/successful rural models.
  • Develop communication tools to apprise and engage potential partners and volunteers.

Each of the other five national pilot projects is working on other strategies that could also benefit Potter County. These include:

  • Greenbriar County, W. Va., using the arts to promote rehabilitation, healing and recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.
  • Puna Community, Hawaii, employing the arts to address poverty and strengthen a sense of community and appreciation for the local culture and environment.
  • LaCrosse County, Wisc., integrating the arts with other activities to raise awareness of the impact of climate change on rural communities.
  • Perry County, Ohio, using the arts to deepen appreciation for, and protection of, outdoor recreation and the environment.
  • Van Buren County, Mich., addressing mental illness and physical well-being with the arts, involving the court system, local governments and other partners.