Steamboat Springs selected as one of 8 finalists in pursuit of Creative District certification | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat Springs selected as one of 8 finalists in pursuit of Creative District certification

Steamboat Springs is one step closer in the pursuit of becoming a designated Colorado Creative District this week after being selected by the Colorado Creative Industries as one of the eight finalists. (In this photo:Steamboat Springs arts student Ami Constantini hangs her drawings at the Depot Art Center).

— Steamboat Springs has officially made it to the next round of the Colorado Creative District certification process.

On Tuesday, the Colorado Creative Industries, a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade, and the Boettcher Foundation, named Steamboat as one of eight finalists out of this year’s 15 applicants.

“This is a very big deal to make that cut,” said Wendy Kowynia, Steamboat Springs Arts Council board member and board chair of the Creative District advisory committee. “It was my personal goal to make it this far. But now, we want the cake [the designation], and I think we have a really good shot.”

The next step in the process, Kowynia said, is for a CCI representative to conduct site visits and evaluations in each of the districts named as finalists.

According to the letter SSAC Executive Director Kim Keith received Tuesday from CCI, “site visits will vary for each applicant based on the familiarity of the reviewers with the district. Some visits will include meetings and interviews and some will not.”

In addition, the letter said reviewers had already made unscheduled visits to the districts throughout the past few weeks and will share its impressions of the districts with one another before the final recommendation that will be given to the CCI council.

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Meetings and additional site visits will be scheduled May 23 through 27.

“It’s a real feather in our cap,” Kowynia said. “Especially because of the fact that we weren’t in a candidacy phase. There was no coaching like some of the other candidate districts had.”

In the meantime, Kowynia said the advisory committee will be reaching out to the community to garner support and provide information discovered throughout the 120-page application packet.

Some of the committee’s preliminary ideas include creating a tri-fold brochure and visual art displays and hosting community outreach meetings.

“We really want to encapsulate some of the most important things from that application for the public, so people can start to talk about and understand what we learned,” Kowynia said.

After all site visits are completed, reviewers will recommend districts for certified status to the CCI council at its June 10 meeting. The 2016 Colorado-Certified Creative Districts will be named the week of June 13.

“This has really put Kim to the moon and back,” Kowynia said. “She has led this truly herculean effort that was like writing a college thesis in just 13 days. We are very grateful and proud.”

In addition, the advisory committee is still soliciting signatures for the petition that shows community support for the designation. That can be accessed on the SSAC website here.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@ExploreSteamboat.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1