Salida artist Tina Gramann inspects the chalk drawing she created outside the SteamPlant for the CCI summit.

Swarms of artists, educators, entrepreneurs, program administrators and other “creatives” from all over the state flocked to the Salida SteamPlant for the annual Colorado Creative Industries Summit on May 16-17

Colorado Creatives Industries (CCI) is a division of the state Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) and offers grants and other incentives to arts organizations all over the state. In addition to the grants program, CCI runs the Creative District certification program. This program, according to the CCI website, “focuses on defining specific geographic areas that can attract artists and creative entrepreneurs to a community, infuse new energy and innovation and enhance economic and civic capital.” Salida was the first Colorado community to win Creative District status and has been joined by 20 other communities around the state.

“Great turnout,” said Sheila Sears, CCI’s deputy director, of the 2019 Summit, “maybe our largest group of creatives in eight years of the Summit. Salida is a great community with which to partner — such a vibrant Creative District and full of artists and creative businesses. People seem to be really enjoying their time here and there’s a wide array of workshops and events, based around such broad-ranging topics as contracts, funding trends and the intersections between art, environment and social commentary.”

Panelists at the Colorado Creative Industries Summit, including Salida’s Patrick O’Brien (second from right), lead a discussion on starting a film festival. Photos by Elliot Jackson.

Shaun Allison, Salida representative for the state’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC), was one of the exhibitors at the event. “SBDC is a resource for creative industries,” he explained. “We help creatives and other entrepreneurs get the resources they need to help run their businesses – everything from business planning and access to capital and insurance to how to register with the state.”

Next year’s CCI summit will be in Steamboat Springs. For more information on CCI and its programs, visit