Statewide, NH

Contact Name
Judy Rigmont
Project Dates
2012
Workshop Leader
Creative Communities Exchange (CCX) 2013
Tags
Technology, Networking
In 2012, the NH Creative Communities Network, a statewide, cross-sector consortium, developed a Creative Economy Toolkit, an extensive gathering of resources to help community arts organizers, local and regional planners, business leaders, Town and City officials, and economic development professionals understand the connection between the creative industries and community economic vitality.
The Toolkit also contains a Guide to Creating a Community Arts and Cultural Plan, created with input from NH planners, and a customizable PowerPoint presentation entitled, “The Creative Economy – Making It Work in Your Community”. These resources may be used separately or together, depending on the particular needs of a community or organization.
The Toolkit is housed on the Network's new website.

Project Goals
What were the project goals?
The purpose of this Toolkit is to provide resources to help educate community leaders and other sectors re the value and impact of the creative economy and related model projects in New Hampshire's communities.
Have they changed over time?
The goal remains the same.
Who are the project partners and stakeholders?
Our part-time Coordinator, steering committee and project consultant worked collaboratively with the state's regional planning commissions, NH Planners Association, with support from NH State Council on the Arts, and NH Business Committee for the Arts. Our members also provided useful feedback throughout the Toolkit's development. They and the sectors they represent are also stakeholders.
Project Specifics
How was the project implemented? What were the steps taken?
Our Coordinator and steering committee proposed the project. Major funding was obtained from Public Service Company of NH as well as from NH Planners Association and a regional planning commission to hire a project consultant to work with us and our aforementioned partners to do extensive research and toolkit development. One of our members, the Arts Alliance of Northern NH, has assisted us as our fiscal agent along with hosting and developing our new website that is due for completion in the spring.
Have they been refined over time?
We initially planned to do both printed and online versions of the Toolkit. Budget constraints and the need for frequent information updating led to the decision to produce only an online version.
Obstacles
What were your major obstacles?
Since we are primarily a volunteer run consortium with only a part-time Coordinator (6 hours/week average), lack of staff and funding were our major project obstacles. Our small operating budget and short history makes it challenging to receive grant support. We are primarily supported by a partnership grant from the NH State Council on the Arts.
Who or what was instrumental in overcoming these obstacles?
The dedication of our steering committee, project consultant, , Coordinator, membership and partners and the vVolunteer hours committed to this Toolkit project made it succeedd.membership and partner
What top three suggestions would you give to others attempting a similar project?
1. Involve partners/board members/stakeholders in the early planning and all stages of the project.
2. Do extensive funding research and secure funding for both the planning and implementation phases of the project.
3. Conduct a "test run" presentation session of the Toolkit,including the PowerPoint presentation before marketing and making the Toolkit accessible.
Project Impact
How has this project contributed to creative community building?
The Toolkit project has helped tocreate a stronger partnership with the planning sector and provides us with the information we need to strengthen and cultivate cross-sector partners/members.It is also an effective advocacy tool. Our members are beginning to use the Toolkit in their communities/regions to assist with cultural planning, development of arts commissions and affordable live-work spaces for artists/creative workers, economic impact studies, cultural tourism initiatives, and downtown revitalization projects.
Why do you consider the project successful, as related to your project goals above?
The Toolkit provides information on model community arts initiatives (most of which are in NH), a cultural planning guide, and a customizable PowerPoint presentation defining the Creative Economy and its impact, both real and potential, in communities plus defines what makes a community a creative community.
Were there unexpected impacts?
We are just in the early stages of using the Toolkit as this proposal is being submitted. We plan to do presentations at upcoming planning, economic development, and business/chamber meetings as our website and online Toolkit become finalized in the spring.
CCX Workshop Handout