What were the specific goals of this creative economy project? Describe the community development challenge or opportunity that your project was designed to address:
The goal of this initiative is to promote, sustain and grow arts and culture travel and tourism to the Monadnock region in order to bring economic growth and jobs to the area and to build audiences and participants in arts, culture and creative endeavors.
If the goals change over time, please describe how:
The partnerships we developed drove the specificity of the goals and the strategies used to attain those goals, but overall, we stayed true to our original intentions of promoting the region via arts & culture assets.
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):
The Discover Monadnock Committee, chaired by Arts Alive, has had many members through the years representing various organizations: Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Monadnock Travel Council, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, Monadnock Center for History and Culture, The Park Theatre, The Redfern Arts Center, Yankee Magazine, Cathedral of the Pines. The group began meeting in 2009 to guide the maintenance, growth, financing, and marketing initiatives of the collaboration.
The Discover Monadnock website was developed and publicly released in 2014. Since the website release, the committee has divided into two groups. One continues oversight on the Discover Monadnock web & social media project, the other is focused on developing a regional brand that can be used by Discover Monadnock and its partners to unify current messaging around regional brand identity.
Current Discover Monadnock Committee Members and Monadnock Regional Branding Committee Members include:
Jessica Gelter, Executive Director of Arts Alive
Shannon Mayers, Director, Redfern Arts Center
Jamie Trowbridge, CEO, Yankee Publishing
Caroline Hollister, Board Chair, The Park Theatre
Pelagia Vincent, Hospitality Consultant
Carl Jacobs, City Counselor, Keene, NH
Gordon Peery, Board Chair, Monadnock Center for History and Culture
Phil Suter, Director, Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce
Gretchen Ziegler, Cathedral of the Pines & Monadnock Travel Council
Jim Narkewicz, Manager, Holiday Inn & Monadnock Travel Council
Jarvis Coffin, Owner, Hancock Inn
Joe Walker, Teacher, Contoocook Valley Regional High School & Secretary, Monadnock Travel Council
Sean Ryan, Director, Peterborough Chamber of Commerce & President, Monadnock Travel Council
Trim Hahn, Marketing Director, Hillsborough Chamber of Commerce
Melanie MacDonald, Executive Director, TEAM Jaffrey
How does this project relate to a larger community development strategy?
Arts Alive was founded in 2009 by a large group of community partners in order to form collaborations between regional arts organizations and to promote and leverage the regional arts scene. Arts Alive funded an Economic Impact Study on the region’s arts sector to demonstrate the importance of the Arts to the region’s economy. This study showed that arts & culture organizations contributed over $13 million to the local economy, and leveraged an additional $3.5 million in indirect spending. State-funded economic development in New Hampshire has been focused exclusively on attracting business to the region. Looking at arts/culture as the identity for the region is a thread that ties everything together.
What projects or places, if any, inspired your approach to this creative economy project?
The Discover Monadnock Committee was driven by the absence of any region-wide marketing of the Monadnock Region as a destination. Other destinations have a regional brand and marketing strategy; this project is a move in that direction. As for using the arts as a primary attraction, the Berkshires (Massachusetts) is a great example of a destination that has done that effectively.