“How and why do arts, culture and heritage matter and what should be done to advance cultural development as an asset for the vitality, prosperity and livability of Bradenton?”
The purpose of Realize Bradenton was to engage citizens and leaders in this question. The idea to undertake cultural planning was sparked when the Bradenton Culture and Business Alliance and the Knight Foundation recommended merging downtown revitalization and cultural development strategies after the 2007 Downtown by Design planning process surfaced interest and possibilities.
The Realize Bradenton Cultural Plan process, from April 2008 through March 2009, involved extensive community engagement and research, including: key interviews, focus groups, public forums and hearings, a community survey, an economic impact study, market research, a cultural organization capacity assessment, comparable cities/programs research and ongoing work with a steering committee and advisory groups to review findings and shape the Plan. Over 1,500 citizens and leaders participated in this comprehensive process. The result is the Realize Bradenton Cultural Master Plan, which encompasses a vision, analysis of challenges and opportunities, overarching recommendations, 66 strategies, implementation steps, outcomes and rationales for cultural development. The Plan is organized into and introduction, six topical chapters and a section on implementation first steps.
Bradenton’s arts, culture and heritage venues, programs and activities are significant assets which contribute to its identity and vitality, its economy, the success of its downtown and the quality-of-life for residents. They are worth preserving -- and enhancing them will yield a rich return on investment. The Realize Bradenton Cultural Master Plan provides clear strategies to fully exploit the potential for cultural development by building upon existing programs, increasing private and public support, and continuing to nurture and tap the collaborative spirit and leadership that have characterized the planning process.
“We need to get people to grasp how to use arts as an economic engine. It will improve neighborhoods and attract quality businesses. From an economic development standpoint – people will go where they want to live, companies will start up where their employees want to live. Arts and culture play a big role in the quality of life that is sought.”
Upon completion of the plan, a non-profit organization named after the planning process was formed to implement the plan. The DDA invests in the non-profit to ensure the plan is implanted and the community’s vision is fulfilled.
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