IGNACIO – Community leader Kasey Correia will go to West Virginia next week for a national rural design summit as part of Ignacio’s recent acceptance into Colorado’s Rural Technical Assistance Program.
The peer-learning summit, offered for the first time this year, is part of the National Endowment for the Arts Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design. The CIRD initiative helps rural communities find funding opportunities and offers training in rural design and creative placemaking. The 2020 Rural Technical Assistance Program, offered by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, accepted Ignacio into two programs in August. Correia hopes to bring knowledge back to help Ignacio advance its creative placemaking goals.
“I’m excited (about) what I can bring back to our community, always more training, bigger picture and how I can keep networking,” Correia said.
Dancing Spirit Community Arts Center, led by Correia, is one of 23 organizations nationwide that will join the summit and rural design workshops through CIRD. Dancing Spirit offers a gallery, educational opportunities and therapeutic art programs to Ignacio-area residents.
CIRD, which received a record number of applications this year, 85, focuses on communities with populations of 50,000 or less. It uses local strengths to improve the quality of life and economy in rural communities through planning, design and creative placemaking.
“Rural and tribal communities across the country are putting forth ambitious visions for their future and view design and creative placemaking as a way to not only celebrate their cultural history, but also to drive economic development,” said Jen Hughes, Arts Endowment director of design and creative placemaking, in a news release.
Through the initiative, Correia will also learn from the Housing Assistance Council, a nonprofit focused on affordable housing, and buildingcommunityWORKSHOP, a nonprofit community design center.
Ignacio community members see the RTAP Community Placemaking and Creativity Lab of Colorado programs as a way to spur economic growth and revitalize the community.
The Community Placemaking program helps communities create a “sense of place.” It offers advisory sessions and a two- to three-day workshop designed to help communities develop local assets and a placemaking strategy.
The Creativity Lab of Colorado program offers a community guide for nurturing creative projects; innovation and entrepreneurship training with the help of the Creativity Lab of Colorado, a public-private nonprofit; and partnership with Colorado Creative Industries and other community partners.
“Now, you’re 61, you say, ‘What are you thinking, right?’” Correia said, as kids in Dancing Spirit’s after-school arts program spun clay, drew or goofed off around her.
“Keep going out there and get more training. And then I can come back and bring that to the community.”