The First Southwest Community Fund has created a loan program offering $5,000 to $10,000 to creative arts businesses in the new Durango Creative District.
“We want to help creative arts groups in the community,” said Cass Walker, executive director of the fund. “We wanted to design it for groups – nonprofits, businesses – that might not have considered debt as an option.”
Under the $50,000 revolving loan program, Walker said, a creative arts business “will be defined flexibly” to include companies and nonprofits involved in visual, performing and culinary arts, as well as craft beverage, educational, cultural, literary and media products.
The loan is open to applicants in the Durango Creative District, which includes downtown, north Main Avenue, College Drive, Fort Lewis College and Bodo Industrial Park.
Hayley Kirkman, interim director of the Durango Creative District, applauded the loans, which can go toward startup costs, equipment and operational expenses.
“We expect that this will help business owners and nonprofits from multiple creative sectors bridge their financial gaps and infuse more energy into our newly certified Creative District,” Kirkman said.
“Durango’s Creative District will bring innovation and economic opportunities to Durango,” said Bill Carver, president of Durango Creative District. “The loan fund was part of our application and showed we have community partners willing to allocate capital for our creative entrepreneurs.”
Loan committee members are: Kirkman; fund representative Sherry Waner; fund development officer and representative Taylor Sanders; Startup Colorado representative Tim Wheeler; Center of Southwest Studies representative Julie Tapley-Booth; and Fort Lewis College representative Michael Garvey.
The fund was financed with a Rural Business Development Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Kent Curtis, president of the fund’s board of directors, said he hopes the “pilot fund” will expand to include other local creative districts.