Our mission is twofold, as our slogan suggests:
Uniting Our Creative Community
Out Into the Light
Too long have the hidden treasures of this dusty desert retreat been buried in the sand. We believe the new generations of creative people growing up here and moving here in search of affordable housing deserve a supportive, connected, well informed community of arts professionals with which to interact and learn their crafts. It’s time for the us to come out into the light and share our gifts with this community.
Who Are ‘We’ Anyway?
You can’t have a community without getting to know each other. We strive to create opportunities and platforms for connection, communication, sharing, and of course, creation for our members and the greater creative community. Also, fostering interaction between artists and the general population is vital to cultivating a healthy, vibrant, equitable community. We plan to establish a community arts center where creatives and their neighbors and visitors to our city can all meet and mingle in social and supportive environment.
Igniting Our Creative Economy
Building the Fire
To build a fire you need 3 things: fuel, air, and an ignition source. We are preparing the conditions necessary to set our creative economy alight.
The Fuel: Artists
The artists are the fuel of any creative economy. They are the source of all that such an economy produces. It’s all there, locked away inside them with no way of knowing by looking at them that they are in possession of a virtually unlimited supply of a valuable commodity: imagination.
Room to Breath
Fire needs to breath or it will choke and peter out. Right now, the artists here don’t have enough air to light their imaginations ablaze. The air that artists breathe is a combination of space, funding, access to knowledge and equipment, and access to the public and to each other. At this point, the AFDHS is working hard with the Arts District Committee, City departments and commissions, and other organizations in the Desert to open things up and let the fresh air rush into our suffocated artists’ lungs.
By connecting our city’s government agencies, private sector, community organizations, and schools to the larger creative economy and all it has to offer by way of promotional support, technical assistance, and professional development we can build an infrastructure for a robust variety of creative industries.
Once we get the air flowing, then we will be ready to do what we were created to do: light a match and watch the fire grow.
This is the fun part, the part we all want to get to but aren’t sure how. This is when the people start to notice us and start knocking our doors. When your next door neighbor suddenly has a flock of teenage girls and news reporters on his front lawn because the band he is in just hit the top 40. This is when your morning drive may include seeing stilt-walkers, jugglers, giant fruits and vegetables, and crowds of people bursting into song and dance.
Once the fire starts, we all start to make money and businesses grow, property values rise, wages increase. All the problems that seem so insurmountable today become issues that we have tools to address and a concerned, passionate community of insightful individuals to help us use those tools.
Are We There Yet
We know. Sounds great doesn’t it? Be patient though, we are not there yet. It takes a lot of work, time, care, and focus to make this happen. The good news is that there are national organizations that have studied this work for over 60 years and now have this down to a science! They are showing us the way and all you need to do is be open to what they are showing us. We can all walk this path together and have fun doing it, and before you know it we’ll all be reminiscing about the old days when we were all just getting this thing started.
These are the specific goals we have set forth to create the support system for a healthy creative community and thriving creative economy:
- Establishing a cultural district modeled after proven successful projects and best practices, representative of our unique community’s character, history, and spirit, offering incentives and expanded options for development and special uses of vacant properties and facilities.
- Establish an official City event branding in coordination with the arts district, offering cultural programming and entertainment, and providing a venue for local talents in both visual and performing arts to access a wide audience of locals, day trippers, regional tourists, and world travelers.
- Establishing a physical focal point, an arts center, in the heart of DHS for artists to exhibit their work, theatrical and music groups to perform, film and motion visual artists to screen their creations, and creative kids to come and find arts education resources and support from working artists in the community.
- Creating cooperative marketing vehicles to promote the whole art scene in DHS as well as individual events, artists, and projects.
- Providing support and guidance for event organizers,venues, booking agents, performing arts groups, and local bands to bring all sorts of entertainers into our creative community.
- Providing representation and help for Artists proposing public art projects to the city, obtaining matching funds, responding to RFP’s, RFQ’s and Calls for artists.
- Creating collaborative online communities, forums, social media groups, galleries, and ecommerce solutions to leverage our collective works and access markets outside our geographic location.
- Expanding arts education programs and working with higher learning institutions to develop career paths for our students of media and the creative arts.
- Connecting legal services, financial consulting, and business services with artists running commercial studios, galleries, or other creative businesses.