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In 2008, Rep. Eric Koch (R-Bedford) authored legislation to establish Indiana Statewide Cultural Districts. These Districts promote the exploration of and participation in the arts and humanities through cultural experiences that are unique to our communities, while also supporting community life and economic vitality. In December 2009, the Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) voted to designate official cultural districts in Bloomington, Carmel, and Lafayette/West Lafayette. Currently, Indiana has five designated cultural districts:
The official state designation provides significant opportunity for marketing, promotion, and potentially leveraging resources through various partnerships. To apply for the Cultural District certification, please click here.
Indiana was highlighted in a 2012 national report on how states can use arts, culture and design as a means to enhance economic growth.
The National Governors Association (NGA)'s publication, New Engines of Growth: Five Roles for Arts, Culture and Design, prepared in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) focuses on the role that arts, culture, and design can play in assisting states as they seek to create jobs, boost their economies and, over time, transition to an innovation-based economy.
Specifically, Indiana’s Cultural Districts program is among five state designated programs featured out of 12 states nationwide with similar programs. Indiana is also mentioned among states that have developed programs to help artists raise the market profile of their traditional crafts and export them across state lines. This citation is in reference to the Indiana Artisan Program.