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Des Moines Arts Festival® and Bravo Greater Des Moines Launch New Joint Venture to Empower Creative Entrepreneurs

November 15, 2018

DES MOINES, IA  November 13, 2018 — When it comes to the arts, the Des Moines Arts Festival® and Bravo Greater Des Moines (Bravo) mean business with the launch of “The Creative Economy Initiative (CEI),” which will result in an action plan for the implementation and delivery of professional development and capacity building to empower regional artists of all disciplines.

The two arts-focused organizations have partnered with award-winning artist and business strategist Chris Dahlquist on a feasibility study and action plan for how to advance creative economy objectives in the region and align artists with arts organizations, businesses, municipal governments, and community art lovers in the development of vibrant artist communities capable of sustained growth. Historically, things like this have been built from the top down. One of the things that makes CEI unique is that it directly engages artists as the catalysts for developing something for the artist community.

The need for CEI emerged after Bravo’s 2018 Regional Cultural Assessment, which identified a thriving creative economy that includes individual artists as a key opportunity to leverage arts and culture to drive economic development and quality of life in the region. It also reflects the Festival’s vision to “Strengthen a Vibrant and Creative Community” and mission to “Impact Lives Through the Arts.”

Dahlquist, who has worked with hundreds of individual artists of all disciplines to develop strategies and business skills to support their practices and help them to build sustainable careers, will lead several workshops and lectures aimed at identifying, educating and engaging stakeholders committed to prioritizing capacity building for artists as a strategy to advance, support and grow regional business and cultural priorities.

Additionally, and as a result of the initiative, Dahlquist will work to activate the entrepreneurial spirit within the artist community by delivering meaningful programming that can be utilized to build sustainable artistic practices, while simultaneously engaging them in the building process for long-term business development.

“The Creative Economy Initiative’s” goals are to:

  • Advance the talent and skillsets of creative entrepreneurs and artists by increasing the professional development opportunities available to them within our community.
  • Generate more artistic and cultural connections in new and different places.
  • Empower professional and working artists to have strong and vital careers and claim their seat at the table.
  • Support arts, culture, and heritage as diverse, accessible, inclusive and equitable throughout Iowa.
  • Increase awareness of the importance of a strong arts community by recognizing artists’ unique contribution to the area economy and strong quality of life.
  • Identify more goals for the initiative and the community as a whole.

The first two events for 2018 have been announced (by invitation only) and are free to attend. Programming for 2019 will be announced in the next calendar year.

Beyond the Studio: Building a Thriving Arts Practice and Artist Economy

(By invitation only)

Dahlquist will present a framework for what it takes for an artist to have a thriving art practice, and the components necessary to grow the artist ecosystem, furthering both the artist’s individual practice as well as the artist’s contribution to the economic and cultural vitality of the region. After the presentation, the participants, including artists, arts organizations, and stakeholders, will break into small groups to identify which necessary components are currently available in the Des Moines region. Who is currently delivering the resources? And/or who might be in the best position to deliver them?

  • Who: Designed for artists of all disciplines, arts organizations, additional stakeholders who will be invited to participate in this important fact-finding workshop
  • What: Lecture, facilitated roundtable discussions, networking
  • Date: Saturday Dec. 1, 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m.
  • Location: Greater Des Moines Partnership (700 Locust St.)

Why the Creative Economy is Good Business

Dahlquist will share how (and why) the creative economy is one of the fastest growing segments of the overall economy and how the arts are a powerful engine, both in direct economic impact and in the contribution to the business and entrepreneurial climate of the region. She will provide a snapshot of the current creative economy both locally and nationally and demonstrate how the creative economy can be an asset to all businesses.  Additionally, Dahlquist will identify opportunities for continued growth in the region by providing strategies to ensure the health of the creative sector.

  • Who: Stakeholders, business and civic leaders, municipal representatives, policymakers
  • What: Presentation
  • Date: Monday, Dec. 3, 4 to 5 p.m. 
  • Location: Greater Des Moines Partnership (700 Locust St.)