State News

NC officials announce arts-economy program

Posted February 7, 2012

— The secretary of the state Department of Cultural Resources made an announcement about a new arts-driven economic development program at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham Tuesday.

Secretary Linda Carlisle gave details about the SmART Initiative, which will map out ways for communities to use the arts to increase the number of jobs, the quality of life and overall economic growth.

"The SmART initiative is an investment in our state's creative industry that will help to keep our state a place where businesses want to be, where people want to live and where visitors want to explore and learn," Carlisle said.

Capitol Broadcasting CEO Jim Goodmon is the chairman of the SmART Initiative Task Force and also attended the announcement. Capitol Broadcasting is the parent company of WRAL News. Goodmon said in his experience in recruiting new businesses to the Triangle, the arts are a very effective tool for bringing new companies to the area.

"The big payoff is economic development, including the creation of new businesses and restoration of vacant or underutilized buildings," he said.

Goodmon announced the following six recommendations from the task force:

  • Create an Arts and Cultural Districts program.
  • Provide financial assistance to cities and towns for projects that build on the arts.
  • Establish resource teams to help communities inventory their assets and understand the full range of their cultural and natural resources as economic assets.
  • Provide incentives to private developers to participate in arts-driven development by extending the Historic Preservation and Mill Rehabilitation Tax Credits beyond 2014.
  • Create a Web-based resource center as an additional tool for communities undertaking arts-driven economic development.
  • Forge partnerships with other governmental agencies to integrate arts-driven activity into their existing programs, including the NC Department of Commerce and the NC Department of Transportation

Carlisle appointed the task force in fall 2010 to examine arts-driven economic development in North Carolina and around the country.

The North Carolina Arts Council, which will administer the initiative, has established a pilot program. The program will provide grants of $20,000 to $30,000 each representing three to four communities. Interested communities must discuss eligibility with Arts Council staff before applying. The grant deadline is April 2 at 5 p.m.


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  • SmokeWagon Feb 7, 2012

    "arts-driven economic development"...???? LOL....I just about spewed my coffee...what a pie in the sky term...!!!!

  • brassy Feb 7, 2012

    Waste of tax dollars

  • davisgw Feb 7, 2012

    Another great way to use state money while pushing for more tazes and toll roads.