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As many know, Salida is home to a thriving creative district. For those who don’t know, Ark Valley Voice has taken a deeper look into the city’s history to answer the question: what is a creative district?

Salida’s distinct character is enhanced by what is known as the Downtown Historic District,which is one of the largest in Colorado. It was registered as a National Historic District in 1984.

On March 30, 2012, it was announced that the City of Salida’s historic downtown was selected as one of only two inaugural “Certified Creative Districts” in Colorado by Colorado Creative Industries (CCI), a division of the State’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

CCI, as part of its stated goals, believes in the power of creativity to inspire human connections, create social change, and support economic vibrancy throughout Colorado. They focus on strengthening the vitality of visual, performing, and literary arts through promotion, resources, and funding opportunities.

Courtesy image.

Colorado ranks number one in the percentage of residents who personally perform in or create artworks, according to the National Endowment for the Arts’ Participation Study.

Colorado is recognized as a premier creative hub and a home for world-class creative businesses, productions, and experiences. It’s CCI’s goal to make sure all Coloradans will have access to creative environments and experiences while preserving the state’s unique cultural heritage.

The Salida Creative District was formed to support the ongoing economic growth in Salida and to create a climate in which creatives and creative enterprises can prosper.

While the Creative District was officially formed in late 2011, with application to CCI submitted in January 2012, Salida’s growth as an art and culture center took many years.  In fact, Salida was a draw for artists going back in the early 90s, as evidenced by the fact that this summer was 29th Annual Salida ArtWalk.

On October 1, 2013, Salida City Council adopted the 2013 Creative District Strategic Plan and logo via a non-binding resolution. Salida’s distinct character was enhanced by the Downtown Historic District, consisting of 111 buildings. The Strategic Plan served as a guide for future planning and projects in the Creative District and is updated as planning for the Creative District evolves.

Image by Brooke Gilmore.

The Creative District doesn’t just include artists, but creative entrepreneurs of all types, including locally-owned restaurants and designers. There are over 230 locally-owned services, healing arts, non-profits, and other businesses within the downtown Salida Creative District. The Colorado Creative Districts program certifies communities that contribute to the state’s economy through creativity, culture, and the arts. The program’s goal is to help communities increase jobs, incomes, and investments in creative places.

Salida city government also has an Arts and Culture Division which presents cultural events within the community. Either as a stand-alone or in partnership with other arts, non-profits, and civic organizations, the variety of events and programming provides a broad demographic of cultural patrons and visitors with fun, educational, and inspiring experiences. These events include but are not limited to:

  • Artist Openings & Pop-up Shows
  • Holiday Open House
  • Kickoff to FIBArk
  • Monthly Film Series
  • Oktoberfest
  • Salida Film Festival
  • Salida JazzFest
  • Summer Concert Series in Riverside Park
  • Travelogues