Creative Communities Initiative

With a grant from the Utah Arts Council


The Moab Arts Council (MAC) is very happy to announce that we have received a Creative Communities Initiative grant from the Utah Arts Council (UAC) in the amount of $10,000 to develop and strengthen the links between arts, culture and economic development here in Moab. This letter serves to outline our project and to invite your participation.

The Creative Communities Initiative is the result of a one-time appropriation from the Utah legislature to the Utah Arts Council to strengthen local arts councils. They received $96,000 and late this fall opened up a grant competition. With one month to write the grant the MAC board met, decided to go ahead and after a meeting with City of Moab staff members, MARC Director Janet Lowe, MATC Director Marian DeLay and Craig Hibberd of we moved forward. Moab was one of 26 communities applying for the funds and one of 10 recipients. Through the arts grapevine, we found out that the committee unanimously approved our project. As part of the award Governor Huntsman will designate Moab as a Utah Creative Community. It rather goes without saying that Moab IS a creative community. This honor now proves it!

Our project design has four elements based on the concepts of Conversation, Communication, Creation, and Celebration. The entire project is designed to involve the arts, business and governmental communities in an ongoing series of conversations and events that may lead to a stronger arts environment. In turn, this new environment will help nurture the local economy and help draw new business and tourists to the area.

While we strive to promote Moab as a stand-alone arts destination, a strong and robust arts community can also serve the tourism industry by offering many opportunities to enhance and extend visitors stay. This effort is in alignment with the combined City/County Economic Vitality Five-Year Action Plan (2005) and Governor Huntsman’s State of the State address Attached is a brief description of the project. Please read it.

To get things started we’d like to invite you to attend the initial Creative Communities roundtable discussion of Arts, Culture and Economy. The “C” can also mean conversation, just as the “E” can stand for ecology or environment. Let’s call it the ACE project!

The meeting will be held at the MARC on Saturday, February 3rd from 1-3 PM (no later!).

The purpose of the meeting is to outline the project, share ideas on refining it, and to help determine the content of future meetings/workshops. At the invitation of the Moab Arts Council, Stephen Goldsmith will be attending. Stephen is the founder of Artspace in SLC and serves as a creative community-planning consultant across the nation. He currently works with the Katrina Project and is a visiting assistant professor at the University of Utah College of Architecture and Planning.

Though the funding is for one year, we plan for this effort to continue for years to come. If you can’t come to this first gathering, don’t fret; there will be plenty of opportunities for involvement. The door to conversation and action is always open. If you are planning on attending I’d appreciate knowing. You can email or contact me at the addresses below. If this subject is of interest or importance to you please talk it up. Through our combined efforts we hope to make this a win-win-win situation for all involved. And thank you, in advance, for what you do to make the arts a vital part of our community.

Bruce Hucko

Moab Arts Council

Moab Arts Council

Creative Communities Initiative

Arts Culture Economy



In May of 2005, the City of Moab and Grand County combined forces to create and approve the Economic Vitality Five-Year Action Plan. The mission statement reads: To seek opportunities to build a strong community through a broad-based, sustainable and environmentally sensitive economy; to serve as a catalyst for increased business retention, expansion and attraction, and to help create quality job growth in Grand County. Goal #8/Objective #2 is to “expand and promote cultural and recreational offerings by promoting the growth of art, music and theatre programs”. This proposal was formed with this goal in mind. Additionally, Goal #9 is “to provide information to public officials, business owners and the community regarding economic development activities, trends and opportunities.” The ACE project adds to and enhances this goal by importing new economic ideas and information. ACE fully integrates the economic development strategies of the City of Moab and the Grand County Council.

1- Art$ Talk and Workshops with Creative Community Builders
Beginning in February, the MAC will host a series of conversations with creative community builders. There is a need for the business, governmental and arts communities to gather and share their goals and needs, strengthen their relationships and make a plan to work together. We propose to do that by hosting evening gatherings and daytime luncheons to present and discuss the topic of arts-culture-economy. We also want to present at city and county council meetings as well as the Chamber of Commerce. Presenters will come from within and without the community. Among the guest presenters will be Anna Boulton, Community Oureach manager for the Utah Arts Council, and artist and community arts planner Stephen Goldsmith. We also hope to contract a member of the Washington State Arts Council to assist in administering their successful “creative vitality index” on our community. These events are designed to start conversation that may lead to action. Once that begins all kinds of great things can happen!

2- Marketing the arts with
Economic development in art and culture is both internal and external. Much needed is a tool to connect the many arts practices in Moab with the local business, travel, lodging and tourism industries and with new markets of people interested in coming to Moab for the arts. To promote the arts in and out of Moab we are cooperating with to create effective communication tools. They are a locally based web and print design team. In addition to their work we’ll communicate with the community via articles in the Times-Independent, live discussions on KZMU, the MAC website and mailings.

3- Community Art Project
One can’t be involved in the arts without creation. To stimulate community awareness, appreciation and involvement in the arts, an annual public art project will be planned and synchronized with the annual Moab Arts Festival (MAF). This art project is designed to involve Moab citizens from all walks of life and all ages to share in the joy of creation. There will be a school component, but most of the work will take place publicly. Once completed the artwork will be donated to the city for permanent display.

4- Annual Community Arts Roundtable and Arts Awards
The Moab Arts Council instituted the annual Community Arts Roundtable in 2005. With this new designation it is time to take this gathering to the next level by adding elements of performance and inaugurating an annual Arts Awards. It is hoped that the county and city will help sponsor this event to celebrate the arts in our community and to recognize those who work towards the making the arts a vital part of life in Moab.

Our goals and objectives are:

  1. to strengthen economic ties between the arts community and the local business and governmental community so that all may realize positive economic gain.
  2. to create a more receptive and educated community environment for the growth of the arts economy that can better sustain itself.
  3. to conduct an annual Community Arts Roundtable for the expressed purpose of conducting arts oriented dialogue with the community, making the arts “present” in the minds of all year-round, and to highlight the arts through the creation of an annual Arts Awards program.
  4. to create an annual public art project created by community members from all walks of life and guided by a professional public artist to create awareness and appreciation of the art and to create ownership for the arts in our community through active participation.
  5. to create and support an “arts portal” to the business, lodging, travel and adventure markets both in and out of Moab. This portal (a combination of website and print campaign - ads and brochure) will serve to bring the business and arts communities together in a synergistic fashion.

The Moab Arts Council believes the arts can help make a positive contribution
to Community Identity, Quality of Life and Economy.