Durham Arts Council
Durham, North Carolina, is one community of the Research Triangle area that comprises Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and the surrounding communities. It is one of the most complex and vibrant cultural markets in the nation and has a rich and varied history – tobacco, racial strife, and Duke University to name just three strands. Durham’s civic leadership committed to the “creative economy,” hiring WolfBrown to lead a team that conducted an eighteen-month, County-wide cultural planning process that reached over 500 people and involved major inventory and research components. The team included AMS Planning & Research.
The consultants found a significantly undercapitalized cultural sector and recommended major initiatives to address this. A priority concern was developing the organizational capacity to provide the range of cultural “product” necessary to bring more residents and visitors to the array of Durham’s cultural attractions. This meant strengthening both neighborhood and downtown cultural delivery systems.
Since the completion of the plan in the fall of 2004, City and County officials have agreed on an inter-local agreement that will use initial County funding to house a staff person in the City’s planning department to oversee and coordinate implementation of the cultural plan. About $500,000 in County funds were allocated to this initial implementation effort.