What were the specific goals of this creative economy project? Describe the community development challenge or opportunity that your project was designed to address:
- Increase civic engagement in all types of events, especially cultural events
- Improve the internal and external impressions of Claremont and encourage community pride
- Present high quality events (artists, musicians, and administrators)
- Increase arts and culture support by local businesses
- Draw audiences from outside the greater Claremont area
If the goals change over time, please describe how:
The goals remained largely the same, but in some cases we were blown away by the level of success we had in achieving those goals. When planning for the public art sculpture began the business support and excitement from the community reached a level that we never anticipated. The small public sculpture idea residing on our wish list, became a 53' steel sculpture with nearly full in kind support from local businesses. The sculpture itself makes use of hand tracings, done by those living in or visiting the community during the collection. The integration of the community into the project brought an excitement and ownership from residents we never anticipated.
Who was involved in this project and what did they do? (be sure to include the partners from outside of the creative sector and how local voices were included):
Overall City Revitalization:
The City of Claremont (All Depts and Claremont Parks and Recreation)
West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts (WCCMA)
Claremont 250th Celebration:
Claremont 250th Celebration Committee was the approval, fundraising, and planning group for the celebration. The body was made up of local residents, representation of from WCCMA, Claremont Parks and Recreation, The City of Claremont Finance Dept, and the Greater Claremont Chamber of Commerce.
Claremont Savings Bank (sponsor)
NH Charitable Foundation (sponsor)
The Residents of Claremont, and visitor's to Claremont (sponsors, volunteers, donors)
NH State Council on the Arts
New England Foundation for the Arts
Art Works (NEA) through Windham Orchestra
Vermont Arts Council through Windham Orchestra
Lake Sunapee Bank (sponsor)
Celebration Events: Each includes the above partners
Canam Bridge (donation of steel and fabrication, planning)
Stone House Forge (equipment for cutting out handprints)
National Field Representatives (sponsor)
Red River (sponsor)
Mascoma Bank (sponsor)
Businesses providing in kind services for construction, site work, and transportation.
Commissioning of Major Work for Flute and Orchestra:
Kinan Azmeh (composer)
Melissa Richmond (in kind donation of performance)
Other Celebration Events:
Mark Harvey and the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra
Burlington Taiko Group
Granite State Arts Market
Maple Avenue School
The City of Claremont Planning and Development
Claremont Parks and Recreation
Claremont Maker Space
West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts
River Valley Community College
How does this project relate to a larger community development strategy?
Many of these collaborators were already working together on smaller scale projects, with the plan to increase creative businesses and resources within the community. Focuses have been redevelopment of the historic mills, downtown revitalization, and introduction of quality arts programs (performing, visual arts, and education). The City of Claremont has been the leader in revitalization through redevelopment, and supportive of the importance of the arts for a livable community. Claremont's Planning and Development Department was instrumental in recruiting the TwinState MakerSpaces as a potential new mill tenant, leading to the 2015 opening of the Claremont MakerSpace.
As a result of these parallel efforts and relationships, many of the mentioned project partners are planning new projects for 2015 and onwards. What that will mean for the West Claremont Center for Music and the Arts in particular is much needed space collaborations with the Claremont MakerSpace. Planning has also begun for new community events with music and visual arts in the downtown with WCCMA, Claremont Parks and Recreation, and the Claremont MakerSpace. Relationships have been strengthened with local businesses and we believe that community engagement will increase as a result of the programs that were available during the Claremont 250th. These developments will be huge for WCCMA's long term sustainability, as a small, young grassroots organization.
What projects or places, if any, inspired your approach to this creative economy project?
WCCMA has been active in attending NEFA programs and conferences (including CCX Portland and North Adams), as well as having support from the NH State Council on the Arts. Encouragement and support from the City of Claremont has also been vital. Without an active and engaged Claremont 250th Celebration Committee our ideas would have mostly remained ideas. All the exposure we have had to these groups have played a part in the ideas and partnerships we have developed.