Approximately 3.2 percent ($504 billion) of the 2011 Kentucky Gross Domestic Product was linked to the arts and culture.





What is creative placemaking?

Creative Placemaking is about imaginative planning, design and creative uses of public spaces – the very heart of our communities.  Advocates assert that such places make people fully alive and aware of each other. Creative places are destinations – not a pass-through. This isn’t something done by outsiders or someone from above. Rather, it’s about listening to people who live and work in places regarding their visions, needs and aspirations. It focuses on embellishing the strengths of local assets and building on them.  While it starts small scale, it often leads to big changes that impact the public landscape. Youth, the elderly and other groups may have different ideas about public space, however, flexible and common themes usually emerge. Creative placemaking is culturally aware, inspiring, and ever changing.

The recent Kentucky Creative Industry Report is a great way to understand the impact of the creative industry in the Commonwealth. The report defines the “creative industry” as the visual arts, design, performing arts and media. Creative employment can also be found outside ‘creative’ sectors such as banks that employ graphic designers or churches that hire musicians. The report indicates that Kentucky creative industries provide more than 60,000 jobs which accounts for about $2 billion in total earnings in 2013. There are multipliers associated with these creative industries. For example, additional wealth occurs when creative enterprises buy groceries or fuel or build homes. One only has to look at computers, cell phones or watches to see the importance of creative design in shaping our work and leisure. 

Based on current estimates about two thirds of the jobs in the creative industry are not salaried. Rather, creative workers are entrepreneurs who draw upon local resources to sustain themselves. They invigorate local traditions and bring art into our communities in diverse ways:  barn quilts, community theatre, murals, creative storytelling or entrepreneurship centers and networks.

We must integrate visual arts, music, the written and spoken word, theatre and movement into our Extension programming, especially community economic development.  These creative expressions open up citizens to fresh ways of view their community and taking action. Creative placemaking is a moving target. One size doesn’t fit all. Agents, specialists and other partners need to find ways to tell our stories about creative public spaces that stimulate pride and inspiration.

Learn more about how to engage communities creatively.