What is a Cultural Plan?
Creative MontCo is a ten-year master plan to catalyze cultural and economic development of Montgomery County’s diverse communities. It reflects the aspirations of the county’s population to better understand and harness the cultural and creative assets in their townships and boroughs. Their desires include generating growth in sustainable, rewarding jobs, supporting vibrant and liveable communities, and developing a unifying identity – a sense of pride – for the County and all its residents.
Cultural plans are most often developed by local government arts agencies as a way to develop cultural policy, set priorities for government spending and engage people and other resources around a common agenda. Without a local arts agency, Creative MontCo was devised as a civic initiative. Leadership for cultural development arose from a group of agencies, cultural organizations, creative businesses and individuals who believe that together, they can build coordinated, collective action to improve the cultural infrastructure for entire county. In 2011 the year-long planning process began with major support of the William Penn Foundation.
Over 1,900 people who either live or work in the county participated in the Creative MontCo planning process, representing all 62 municipalities in the county.
The six key findings are:
- Montgomery County has surprisingly high levels of cultural and creative activity, which is often under-recognized.
- The creative sector plays an important role in Montgomery Count’s economy, contributing to its competitiveness and vitality.
- Culture and creativity are important tools for placemaking that should be expanded across the county.
- There is a desire for more connectivity and sense of community through locally based cultural experiences and stronger professional networks.
- Montgomery County faces challenges in resources and infrastructure that inhibit development of the creative sector.
- As Montgomery County continues to experience significant demographic change, its creative sector needs to respond to a population that is growing, more diverse, and older.
Creative MontCo had its official launch on Thursday, September 13, 2012 at Montgomery County Community College’s Parkhouse Hall Atrium. About 250 came to the packed event, which featured speakers including Erin Reilly, Artistic Director for Theatre Horizon; Dr. Karen A. Stout, President of Montgomery County Community College; Philip Horn, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts; and all three Montgomery County Commissioners.