'Creative Sonoma' plan seeks cultural, economic boost

[caption id="attachment_94550" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Sonoma County's creative sector of the economy is made up of nonprofit and for-profit organizations and individuals. (credit: Arts Action Plan)[/caption]

A recently approved plan to form a new "Creative Sonoma" art-promotion agency is said to be the first comprehensive program of its type to be implemented by any California county.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors voted in late June to adopt recommendations contained in a 30-page Arts Action Plan that would boost the nonprofit arts community, creative for-profit sector of the economy as well as individual artists and creative professionals.

The plan was produced by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board in collaboration with consultants from the Cultural Planning Group and input from more than 220 stakeholders over a four-month period.

In all, more than 500 individuals were involved in the study, including focus groups and 200 who attended a community forum.

"The arts not only enrich the lives of individuals, but also enrich our community and economic vitality," said David Rabbitt, chairman of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.

"This plan helps us move our creative economy to new heights. Supporting our local artists, businesses and creative economy will help make Sonoma County a destination for artists and tourists, while making the community even more vibrant for our residents."

The plan includes a county investment of $250,000 the first year -- up to a total of $500,000 over three years -- with funds coming from TOT revenues to help jump start the new agency.

"We are looking forward to conducting a nationwide search to recruit a director for Creative Sonoma," said Pam Chanter, board chair of the EDB.

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