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Cultural plan needs to be economic driver for Carson City

Nevada Appeal staff report

A community cultural plan must key on economic development, encourage collaboration and be data-driven, a consultant told Carson City’s Cultural Commission Thursday.

Kendall Hardin of The Idea Factory in Las Vegas, working with the commission on drafting a cultural master plan, said the elements are here as she urged tightening of the planning work done to date. The commission is working under a Board of Supervisors deadline, roughly by the end of this year, to put together the plan from previous cultural documents city government and the arts community have done.

“You do not have to be big to be great,” said Hardin, who’s working with the commission under a $4,000 “circuit-rider” grant provided by the Nevada Arts Council. Hardin said, however, communities must be creative, smart, pragmatic and pull public and private assets together.

Hardin’s remarks about collaboration and cooperation were bolstered by Susan Boskoff, executive director of the state arts council who has provided the grant.

“There are many models out there,” Boskoff testified at the commission workshop. “Never do anything alone.”

She also advised the commission not only to check successful models, but failures of the past to help avoid pitfalls.

Elinor Bugli, commission chairperson, said the commission is keenly aware of such things, and particularly the economic development facet.

“We know the arts are an economic driver,” she said.

Hardin, in her remarks, came back to that aspect more than once.

“The economic development needs to be hand-in-glove with the arts,” she said.

Commissioners also heard from Janice Keillor, city government’s new grants coordinator and previously a planner in the Community Development Department. She said a $100,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant will be sought. She said it would be an “our Town” grant from the NEA if Carson City can get it. Both Hardin and Boskoff said there’s a great deal of competition for such grants.

The commission will be meeting again to work on the draft, which according to city staff will be previewed by the mayor and supervisors in December. Vern Kran, parks planner, said it then goes to the Planning Commission and back to the board for final action. The draft cultural master plan earlier was worked on by a three-member commission subcommittee, but would be recommended when finished by the full commission.