A short time ago, my colleagues and I on the Broward County Board of County Commissioners were pleased to receive a report entitled CreativeBROWARD 2020 − A Plan for Cultural and Economic Development in Broward County. The report was produced by the Cultural+Planning Group − a team of nationally recognized consultants − in collaboration with the Broward Cultural Council. More than 100 enthusiastic and committed volunteers and Broward Cultural Division staff worked on this plan that provides a clear vision of what the arts and cultural community in Broward County might – and can – look like within the next decade.
To quote from its executive summary, “Broward’s evolving culture will generate substantial new economic benefits, greater connections among its residents and a distinctive community identity. Culture and the arts are unique in that they operate at the intersection of quality of life and economic development. Investment in local cultural and artistic development results in economic well-being, provides a competitive edge based on our uniqueness and local human capital and is a natural part of the growth of a community.”
The plan recommends a variety of actions, including: organizing economic development of the creative industries for the first time as a unified cultural sector; developing a new signature international festival of creativity for the county and creating new revenue sources for the creative sector and exploring the possibility of establishing an independent cultural development authority.
A number of initiatives recommended by the plan are already moving forward. Development of a new business committee for the arts is under way in an effort to forge better connections between the business and cultural communities. Discussions between the Tourist Development Council and the Broward Cultural Council are taking place with an eye toward building a collaborative effort to enhance our cultural tourism.
When this report was presented to the County Commission, I was pleased to note that there was an uplifting tenor in the room about the value of the arts along with an excellent discussion of County arts policy. There is much to be excited about and, despite our challenging economic times, great reason to be hopeful.
Take the time to read the CreativeBROWARD 2020 plan. You can find it on the Broward Cultural Division website at www.broward.org/Arts/Resources/Publications/CulturalPlan2020.
With this outstanding plan– which was more than 18 months in the making − as a guide, I am confident that we can join together and make Broward County an internationally recognized arts destination for the next decade and beyond.
Broward County Mayor