Creative Capital, the City of Santa Monica’s new cultural plan, is scheduled to be presented to the Santa Monica City Council Tuesday, February 27th. Council meetings start at 5:45 p.m. at City Hall, 1685 Main St., Santa Monica.

Prior to the meeting, the City of Santa Monica Arts Commission will host a small reception in the lobby of City Hall from 5 to 7 p.m.

There will be copies of the executive summary and the draft plan available, along with refreshments and entertainment.

The reception is open to the public, and members of the Arts Commission, Cultural Affairs Division staff and consultants will be available to respond to any questions about the proposed cultural plan.

For the past year, the city’s Cultural Affairs Division has worked with planning experts to engage Santa Monica residents and discover their collective vision for the future of the arts and culture in Santa Monica.

Community members discussed cultural issues at town hall and neighborhood meetings, at workshops, in interviews and through an interactive Web site.

The resultant information has been assembled, studied, and shaped into Creative Capital, an exciting new plan for the city’s continued cultural development.

One key area of examination was the relationship between the city’s arts and culture on the one hand and the economy of the city. As the consultants analyzed the data available, it became very clear that the City of Santa Monica is a leading center of the nation’s creative economy, according to the study.

Santa Monica’s economy is driven by its creative industries to a much larger extent than any of the 14 comparison cities, including New York, San Francisco, Berkeley and Los Angeles, the study shows.

When it comes to individual artists, designers, writers, producers and directors, Santa Monica leads the way with the highest proportion of workers of any of the cities examined, it was determined.

Economist Steve Nivin conducted research to determine how Santa Monica’s creative industries compared to the top 20 creative cities as determined by Richard Florida in his study, The Rise of the Creative Class.

Berkeley, California was added to the 20 comparison cities because of its similar size and role as a part of a large metropolitan/regional urban environment.

In comparing the percentage of people employed in art and design fields, Santa Monica came out on top, with 8.89 percent of its total employment working in the creative sector, according to the study.

This is 77.1 percent higher than the second-ranked city, San Francisco, which has a creative workforce equal to only 5.02 percent of the city’s total employment, the research indicated.

Santa Monica was found to be home to 1,634 arts related businesses employing 11,464 people. And while the film and television industry is well-represented with 659 businesses and over 5,000 employees, other creative enterprises were shown to be very valuable to the city’s marketplace.

The research showed that design and publishing firms add up to 331 with 3,180 employees, there are 328 companies working in visual arts and photography who employ 1,071 people, and more than 260 performing arts ventures put more than 1,500 people to work.

In addition, research discovered that, proportionately, Santa Monica has almost 40 times more people working as independent artists, writers and performers than any other creative city.

However, while demonstrating the importance and strength of the city’s creative sector, Creative Capital also identifies growing challenges such as rising costs and the loss of affordable real estate faced by Santa Monica’s arts and culture providers, according to city sources.

Identifying these emerging issues was considered to be one of the most important outcomes of the plan. Through Creative Capital’s recommendations, the city will not only be able to devise strategies to address those challenges but to foster greater cultural opportunities.

Santa Monica has been a destination and a haven for creative individuals since its inception. Santa Monica’s cultural community is considered central to the city’s identity, contributing to the economy, the environment and the overall quality of life of the city, the plan points out.

The goal of the planning process was to forge a common vision for the future of arts and culture in Santa Monica and the plan identifies community priorities and articulates the policies and strategies to achieve those priorities and make Santa Monica an even better environment for creativity in all forms.

DATA SOURCES AND BASIS OF ANALYSIS — The data used for the primary portion of the analysis by Steve Nivin comes from the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) file created by the U.S. Census Bureau.

This database is built from the SF3 long-form file from the 2000 census and is categorized by occupation using the Census Occupation Codes.

In the second part of this study, a location quotient analysis was conducted using data from the Economic Census conducted in 2002.

This data is organized by industry using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

Data utilized by the Americans for the Arts Creative Industries study is based on businesses that have registered with Dun & Bradstreet.

The creative industries are composed of arts-centric businesses and organizations that range from museums and theaters to film, architecture and advertising.

Information, http://santa-monica.org/creativesantamonica or contact Jessica Cusick in the Cultural Affairs Division at (310) 458-8350.

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