Regional Cultural Assessment
The purpose of the Regional Cultural Assessment was to identify opportunities to leverage arts and culture as essential drivers of quality of life and economic development in Central Iowa.
About the Regional Cultural Assessment:
Bravo Greater Des Moines (Bravo) commissioned a Regional Cultural Assessment in 2016 to further strengthen the role of arts and culture as vibrant contributors for powering growth, progress and change. Drake University President Marty Martin led a nine-member Steering Committee of community leaders alongside project consultants, Creative Community Builders.
The Assessment builds on the extensive community planning work already completed, particularly Greater Des Moines’ Capital Crossroads effort, launched in 2012 and refreshed in 2017. With these regional planning priorities and input from more than 800 Central Iowans though surveys and in-person meetings, the Regional Cultural Assessment focused on identifying ways arts, culture and heritage can help advance, support and grow these efforts.
Four Cultural Priorities Identified:
From the research, community input, stakeholder conversations and Steering Committee leadership, four cultural priorities emerged as the most strategic opportunities to advance regional catalyst priorities. Although presented as separate and in a particular order, these four are deeply interconnected and success in one will directly affect success in others.
A Vision for the Future:
Since 2017, the Regional Cultural Assessment has delivered a critical framework for the Cultural Capital of Capital Crossroads and has become a foundation for partners across the region committed to building community with arts and culture at the center.
In order to measure impact of efforts to advance these priorities, in February 2020, a process to attach measures and targets to the Regional Cultural Assessment (RCA) was begun. Founded in best-practice research and based on feedback from a variety of stakeholders, the initial targets reflect the aspirational vision for an ongoing effort to capture progress using sustainable sources of data. The metrics also identify limitations in using this data to drive improvements.
Obviously, the regional and global landscape has changed since this work was started and ideal next steps are not entirely feasible. A pause for reflection and redefinition of the path forward is appropriate but baseline data will be collected where feasible. Capital Crossroads leadership plans to reconvene in the first half of 2021 to further define additional partners and actions needed to continue to strengthen the role of arts and culture as vibrant contributors for powering growth, progress and change.