When like-minded people with a sincere mission get together, magic happens. And magic is currently brewing at the recently formed Evergreen Creative District (ECD). Creative Districts are typically implemented in larger cities such as Denver, New York or Santa Fe, however, due to Evergreen’s bustling creative community, it is quickly gaining a reputation as a “Haven for Creatives.” ECD looks to shine a brighter light on this beautiful truth by supporting local creative entities to ensure sustainability.
‘The Creative Industries’ is an inclusive umbrella term for all “innovators, entrepreneurs, artrepreneurs, dreamers, people who honor the creative spirit and participate in/host/or enjoy local art, music, festivals, events, programs and culinary experiences.” As a 501(c)(3) with a formal letter of support from Jeffco County Commissioners and state legislators, ECD is working to unite all of the creative avenues in Evergreen to build one cohesive league, where synergy is ignited and ultimately maintained.
Having spent years on the Jeffco Creative Counsel working to build connections, ECD Executive Director Ron Isaacson understands the power that comes with a united creative community: “It’s all about sustainability. We really want to broaden people’s awareness of what the realities of a creative community look like and not take it for granted, because it could all slip away so quickly. How can we keep what we have here in Evergreen for our children’s children?” A perfect example of how things can slip away is the havoc COVID wreaked on many of our local creative businesses, individuals and entities. ECD looks to protect, value and support all that Evergreen has to offer.
ECD was formed under the Colorado Creative Districts’ (CCI) program, which certifies communities that contribute to our state’s economy through creativity, culture and the arts. The program’s goal is to help communities increase jobs, incomes and investments in creative places. CCI believes in the power of creativity to inspire human connections, create social change, and support economic vibrancy throughout Colorado.
ECD president and lifelong arts advocate Sarah Hess has also witnessed the benefits of uniting communities in her hometown of New Orleans, where she helped support culture bearers after hurricane Katrina’s devastation. Her efforts provided physical space for artists to create, share and teach their work. The first Creative District in Louisiana nurtured connection and support amongst rebuilding creatives. Hess and her family moved to Evergreen two years ago, attracted to its cultural and artistic community. Once here, she recognized there was a similar need for initiating Evergreen as a Creative District. “My heart is with the arts. What I really love to do is listen, respond to, and connect people to each other. I know I’m not the solution, but I know the solution is there,” explains Hess. She strongly believes in synergy and connection. She’s confident that “if people start listening to each other, amazing things will happen.”
Currently, there are 15 vastly different ECD board members who have a common goal to support, connect and sustain Evergreen’s creative industries. They include the leaders of Evergreen’s arts and cultural nonprofits and businesses, and welcome more community members to help lift this wonderful opportunity off the ground. You need not be an artist or a business owner to be a member of ECD; just have an appreciation for the creative spirit that surrounds our magnificent mountain town.
How does one learn more about the Evergreen Creative District? Visit their website, evergreencreativedistrict.org, and see a comprehensive calendar of creative events and a special calendar featuring Evergreen Volunteers for the Arts opportunities. You’ll find there are numerous benefits to becoming an ECD member including illuminating members’ profiles and stimulating ways to connect and participate with others in the Evergreen Creative Community