What is a Creative District?

•A state certification from Colorado Creative Industries, a division of the Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

•A specific geographic area that can attract artists and creative entrepreneurs to a community, infuse new energy and innovation, and enhance economic and civic capital.

•A hub that features a concentration of creative organizations, activities and events. This hub enhances the area as an appealing place to live, visit and conduct business, and generate new economic activity.

I am a local creative. What does this mean for me?

Establishing a Creative District in Durango is expected to help boost the creative economy and promote unification among creatives from multiple backgrounds.

In addition to forming a physical district, the Durango Creative District will serve as a resource for regional marketing. Interested creatives in La Plata county can REGISTER their business/creative services to be consolidated in a future directory on this website.

The Creative District’s success is dependent on how many creatives get involved in the stakeholder process. We encourage you to JOIN A WORKING GROUP that you have an interest in. The purpose of these groups is to listen to the wants and needs of the creative community and to determine our ultimate goals/vision for this organization.

How do we become certified?

Local First, the City of Durango, and key community leaders are teaming up to establish a Creative District in Durango through the “DIY Call Yourself Creative” STAKEHOLDER PROCESS.

The first step is an interactive stakeholder process to ensure that a diversity of stakeholders are engaged and a variety of options are considered for what a Creative District would look like in Durango.

Ultimately, Creative District Certification is approved by Colorado Creative Industries, who then provides seed money, technical resources, and marketing tools to assist in making the Creative District a success. A Durango Creative District will place Durango on the map along with its neighboring creative districts in Mancos, Telluride, and Ridgeway, establishing a Creative Corridor that increases regional tourism and marketing opportunities while supporting the Creative Artisan Economy.

Upon completion of the stakeholder process in the Fall of 2019, we will submit the required deliverables to Colorado Creative Industries (including our letter of intent and our 5-year Strategic Plan), where we will be reviewed and invited to apply for certification.

Where are donations for the DCD being used?

Donations received in 2018-2019 will go towards reimbursing Local First staff. On average, the staff spend about 30-50 hours per week organizing and facilitating stakeholder meetings, managing the Creative District web and social media presence, grant writing, and conducting public outreach. Any contribution you can make would greatly alleviate the Local First team’s financial costs associated with this large endeavor!

Please click here TO DONATE to the Creative District stakeholder process effort.

What are the benefits of having a Creative District?

Becoming a certified Creative District will position Durango as a place that celebrates and prides itself in creative arts, cultural traditions and practices, historical recognition, and expressive exploration. Some of the outcomes we anticipate happening with our certification include (but are not limited to):

•Coalesce the greater community and establish a shared vision/brand
•Receive initial state seed money and technical resources from Colorado Creative Industries
•National and statewide marketing support
•Access to capital through OEDIT technical assistance funding
•Ability to leverage our status for additional funding and partnerships through the National Endowment for the Arts, the Colorado Tourism Office, the Colorado SBDC, and other funders
•CDOT “Certified Creative District” signs on state highways
•Greater relationships with other Creative Districts and more regional marketing opportunities

How is the City of Durango involved?

Members from the City of Durango that sit on our steering committee are acting as lead facilitators of the stakeholder process, alongside Local First and 16 other organizations.

In 2017, the City teamed up with community members to rewrite the COMPREHENSIVE PLAN for Durango. For the first time, the Creative Economy was recognized as an important sector and growth area, as reflected in Section 11, pages 105-111. The establishment of a Creative District is an important step in realizing this vision.

The City has generously allocated a $5,000 budget to cover hard costs for initial stakeholder meetings and Creative Connection Hours.

Who will benefit from this?

Arts and culture are vital components of Durango’s life and local economy, and we recognize that there is an abundance of artists, artisans, creators and makers here. Creatives industries that will benefit from this designation include (but are not limited to):

•Visual Arts


•Film & Media

•Artisan Products

•Literary & Publishing

•Culture & Heritage


•Performing Arts

•Culinary Arts & Craft Beverage

Where will the Creative District be located?

This is yet to be determined by the community!

The Durango Creative District steering committee is currently facilitating a series of working groups throughout the year to gather information about what we want this Creative District to look like, where it will be located, how it will be governed, and what our ultimate vision is.

The WORKING GROUP that is determining the geographic inclusion of the Creative District is the Creative Asset Mapping Group. Community members who join this group are encouraged to help create a strategy that map where Durango’s creative assets are concentrated. From there, they will draw a boundary that is easily navigable.