Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008

Arts groups strategize

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Central to retaining and elevating Frederick’s art community is getting involved in advocacy and electing politicians who support the arts.

‘‘Stop complaining and start doing,” said Jenifer Dobbins of the Frederick Arts Council. ‘‘What are you going to do about it?”

Dobbins was one of a handful of Frederick professionals and residents gathered at the arts council on West Patrick Street Jan. 31 to discuss the city’s creative community and ways to encourage its growth.

The group used the central ideas in Richard Florida’s book, ‘‘The Rise of the Creative Class,” as a lens to look at Frederick during the discussion.

Shuan Butcher, director of the Frederick Arts Council, said he first discovered Florida’s book when he was completing his master’s degree thesis on strategic leadership last year.

Last week’s discussion focused on the first nine chapters of Florida’s book. The group will continue the discussion on Feb. 28.

Florida’s 2004 bestseller explores the impact of the creative class on the U.S. economy. Professionals who create for a living, from artists to engineers, architects and educators, make up the creative class.

Florida claims that these workers, estimated at nearly 30 percent of the workforce, power regional and national economies. They earn more than 50 percent of wages in the country and control 70 percent of consumers’ buying power.

Butcher led the group of professionals from the Weinberg Center for the Arts, Historical Society of Frederick County, ArtNext and Frederick Arts Council in thinking about what this means for Frederick.