Posts Tagged ‘economic development’

The arts are the reason why our communities are robust and our cities are vibrant. That was the message Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz delivered to arts advocates when she met with them in May.

The secretary’s speech was part of Arts Day 2014, a two-day conference and legislative action session organized by Arts North Carolina, a statewide group that advocates the importance of arts. In her speech, Secretary Kluttz shared how she personally witnessed the inherent and economic value of the arts in Salisbury every day when she served as mayor for 16 years.

She urged arts boosters to remember the educational and economic value of arts as they talked with legislators about their programs, and to be proud that work by arts organizations reach reaches all of North Carolina’s 100 counties. That’s something that we should all celebrate, she said.

Governor Pat McCrory spoke to the arts advocates through a recorded video message that is now available online. For more on Arts North Carolina, please visit the organization’s website.

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Sec. Kluttz and state Rep. Stephen Ross look on as Gov. Pat McCrory makes the announcement about his new historic preservation initiative

Since 1976, historic preservation incentives provided by the state and federal governments have helped bring in more $1.7 billion in private investment to the North Carolina and contributed to the preservation of our state’s rich historic character. A couple weeks back, Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz joined Governor Pat McCrory as he announced a new plan to leverage historic preservation investments for economic growth.

Gov. McCrory’s approach is two-pronged. First, he proposes setting up a Historic Rehabilitation Investment Program in line with his Economic Development Board’s North Carolina Jobs Plan. The program will continue to include tax incentives to encourage investment in historic buildings and mills to strengthen local economies and bring jobs to towns and cities across the state. The Historic Rehabilitation Investment Program would be administered by the State Historic Preservation Office, one of DCR’s divisions.

Sec. Kluttz talks with a WBTV reporter about Gov. McCrory’s new historic preservation initiative

“I am so proud of Governor McCrory’s decision to promote the rehabilitation of historic buildings for proven economic development and job creation,” said Secretary Kluttz. “As a former mayor, he is extremely aware of the value of the re-use of empty and underused historic buildings and the positive impact their development has on communities, including saving fragile neighborhoods, revitalizing downtowns and improving public safety. This investment program is critical for rebuilding cities and towns in North Carolina and supporting the ‘Carolina Comeback’ that the governor has promised.”

The second part of the part of the governor’s approach is in an investment in the Main Street Solutions Fund, a matching grant program established in 2009 to rehabilitate buildings in smaller towns. Gov. McCrory said his budget will include $500,000 for that program. The Main Street Solutions Fund and the Historic Rehabilitation Investment Program strive to spur a renaissance in cities and towns reinventing themselves after the loss of long-time industries such as tobacco and manufacturing.

North Carolina is a leader in preserving its historic buildings and our programs have served as a model for investment programs in many other states.

Photos of the announcement and a roundup of some of the media coverage it garnered are both available online.

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Halifax Group Shot

Historic Halifax is famous for issuing one of America’s first cries for freedom from England, and now Cultural Resources Sec. Susan Kluttz is working with local and state partners to help translate that revolutionary spirit into economic development.

To try to get that process started, the secretary and several other members of the DCR team participated in a brainstorming session organized by state Sen. Angela Bryant. The session was designed to see how everyone involved in the area could work together to use cultural resources to help revitalize downtown Halifax and spur economic opportunity in the area, as has been done in many other North Carolina towns and cites.

Sec. Kluttz and state Sen. Angela Bryant at Historic Halifax

In addition to the DCR team, officials from the North Carolina Main Street Program; the Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development;  the Halifax County Convention and Visitors Bureau; as well as other partners, participated.

At the beginning of the day, all of the participants toured the site, which includes historic buildings and the oldest continuously operating Masonic Lodge in the nation. The group walked to Halifax’s business district, looked over an amphitheater that the state is giving to the county for rehabilitation and heard from Michelle Lanier, the director of the N.C. African American Heritage Commission (part of the N.C. Arts Council), on the site’s part in the freedom seeking (or underground railroad) trails.

Historic Halifax celebrates the legacy of the Halifax Resolves. The adoption of the Resolves on April 12, 1776, was the first official action by an entire colony calling for independence from England, and you can relive that momentous occasion this weekend when the site hosts its annual living history program. It will inspire you.

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Salisbury Rotary Club“Mayor. Pat. I want you to be my secretary of cultural resources.”

That’s how Sec. Susan Kluttz was asked to lead the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources by Gov. Pat McCrory more than year ago, and in a speech to the Salisbury Rotary Club earlier this month, the Secretary emphasized how her 14-year term as mayor of that city inspires her work today.

Among the many lessons she learned in Salisbury, Sec. Kluttz cited the importance of assembling a good team around her and the difference face-to-face communication—even with detractors—can make. She also noted how her years in Salisbury gave her concrete examples of the importance the arts, libraries, museums and historic preservation was to economic development, beyond being just “fluff.” She specifically mentioned using the arts for gang prevention activities, partnering with Rowan County Library to promote reading and leveraging historic preservation tax credits to spur millions of dollars in development and revitalization downtown.

Though the year has been a whirlwind, she still gets up excited to come to work for the people of North Carolina each day.

“What an extraordinary year this has been,” she said in her speech. “And what a wonderful opportunity I have had to work for a governor I respect and admire and believe in … to take the message from Salisbury that arts, libraries and historic preservation translate into making the state an even better place, just like it has in Salisbury.”

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Secretary Kluttz and N.C. humorist Jeanne Robertson

Secretary Kluttz and N.C. humorist Jeanne Robertson

The arts have always been a strong economic engine in North Carolina, and an integral part of that is ArtsMarket, produced by the N.C. Arts Council since 1998. Secretary Susan Kluttz welcomed the attendees and introduced the first featured artist and keynote speaker, Jeanne Robertson. The Secretary noted the collaborative spirit and inspiration brought to the event with the long-standing partnership between the N.C. Presenters Consortium and the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources through the N.C. Arts Council.

Secretary Kluttz and Vicki Vitiello, Senior Program Director at the N.C. Arts Council

Secretary Kluttz and Vicki Vitiello, Senior Program Director at the N.C. Arts Council

ArtsMarket is one of the best places in the Southeast for performers and booking agents to get together in an environment of 15-minute artist showcases that highlight everything from singers to modern dance companies to comedians hoping to be hired to travel to venues around the country and the world. This year’s attendance is almost 600 including almost 250 exhibitors. The conference has grown significantly since 2000, when it was held in Wilmington with a total of 200 attendees and 80 exhibitor booths. The conference is not open to the public.


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Sec. Kluttz with Jim Goodmon, CEO of Capital Broadcasting; Milton Rhodes; myself and Greg Scott, Cahir of Winston Salem SmART Initiative

Sec. Kluttz with Jim Goodmon, CEO of Capital Broadcasting; Milton Rhodes, past president and chief executive of the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County; N.C. Arts Council Director Wayne Martin; and Greg Scott, chair of the Winston-Salem
SmART Initiative committee

On a trip last week to Winston-Salem, Sec. Susan Kluttz joined N.C. Arts Council Director Wayne Martin to see first-hand how the arts are being used revitalize the local economy. She was in town to see how a small investment through the N.C. Arts Council‘s SmART Initiative pilot project is serving as a catalyst for an ambitious expansion of the Winston-Salem Theatre District and the unveiling of an arts-driven economic plan for the city’s downtown.

Specifically, the secretary attended the release of the SmART Initiative Theatre District Study by the Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County. The study is trying to boost the city’s economy, enrich the lives of residents, bring visitors downtown and reinforce the image of Winston-Salem as the “City of Arts and Innovation” by investing in five projects that would create a Downtown Theatre District campus around an iconic public park.

One of the most exciting things about the project is the state –local and public-private partnerships it has spawned. The $30,000 investment from the state was a planning grant that the local folks used for economic impact research.

“The SmART Initiative accomplished what we envisioned. It brought together almost one hundred community leaders and interested citizens who studied, evaluated and dreamed about a vibrant arts destination – a place where people want to live and work,” Sec. Kluttz said. “Our investment has been more than matched by the private sector partners. Now, a broad coalition of supporters is advocating building on an already vibrant downtown.”

The statewide SmART Initiative was launched last year as an arts-driven economic development program. Winston-Salem was one of five cities selected to be part of the pilot projects. You can check out more on the SmART program and other economic development programs on the N.C. Arts Council here.

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Art is important to enriching lives, but it’s so much more than that.  In fact, art is just as much about sparking economic development as it is anything else. Over the past week and half, Cultural Resources Sec. Susan Kluttz took several trips to explore some of North Carolina’s diverse arts offerings, see first-hand how art is growing local economies and make an important economic development announcement.

Sec. Kluttz with Pamela Myers, the Asheville Art Museum’s executive director; Carolyn Coward, a member the museum’s campaign committee; and Rob Pulleyn, the immediate past chairman of the museum’s board of trustees.

Sec. Kluttz with Pamela Myers, the Asheville Art Museum’s executive director; Carolyn Coward, a member the museum’s campaign committee; and Rob Pulleyn, the immediate past chairman of the museum’s board of trustees.

Sec. Kluttz started her exploration of the arts with a visit to the Asheville Art Museum. The museum focuses on American art of the 20th and 21st centuries, and is known as a leader both in the state and the region. While at the museum, Sec. Kluttz was wowed by their collections, learned about the art scene in the region and was thrilled to meet several of the museum’s key supporters and staff members.

Sec. Kluttz speaks at Women of Note event

Sec. Kluttz speaks at the Women of Note event

Last Monday, Sec. Kluttz was honored to speak at the N.C. Symphony for its Women of Note luncheon, celebrating the symphony’s extensive music education program. In her remarks, Sec. Kluttz emphasized the importance of art and music in education and economic development, how it’s each person’s responsibility to spread the power of arts involvement to others and praised the symphony for having the largest education program of any symphony orchestra in the country.

On Thursday, Sec. Kluttz made an important announcement on the role of the arts in North Carolina’s economic development. The N.C. Arts Council (NCAC) has been working hard to quantify the impact the arts have on jobs and other aspects of economic growth, and she shared the good news they found.

Sec. Kluttz with Sherry DeVries, executive director of the Durham Arts Council, and Chris and Carl Gergen, key note speakers at

Sec. Kluttz with Sherry DeVries, executive director of the Durham Arts Council, and Chris and Carl Gergen, key note speakers at the Creative Entrepreneur Expo

Specifically, the Arts Council’s research team found an 8-percent growth in creative occupations in the state. Creative industries are now responsible for nearly 320,000 jobs. That’s 6-percent of North Carolina’s overall workforce and translates into more than $12 billion in annual wages. Wow! Sec. Kluttz made the announcement at the Durham Arts Council’s Creative Entrepreneur Expo in Durham.

While at the expo, the Secretary also met some of the innovative business people who are using the arts to help our state grow, and some of the scholars and government leaders who are helping document and support their work.

The Secretary wrapped up her arts tour (for now at least!) Friday morning in Concord when she joined local officials at the Cabarrus Arts Council for the council’s Breakfast for the Arts fundraiser.  Before coming to Cultural Resources, Sec. Kluttz served as the president of the Rowan Arts Council, so she was happy to help support the work of a neighbor!

Sec. Kluttz with Concord Mayor Scott Padgett and Noelle Rhodes Scott, President & CEO of Cabarrus Arts Council.

Sec. Kluttz with Concord Mayor Scott Padgett and Noelle Rhodes Scott, President & CEO of Cabarrus Arts Council.

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