On Thursday, August 15, TRAC invited our community of artists to a discussion about the future of our region. Over the past several months, 19 representatives* have gotten together to talk about “branding” our beautiful mountains, our arts and artists, our events, and the future of our towns in Mitchell and Yancey Counties.

mycountyThe power point presentation:
SLIDE I:   Branding Mitchell and Yancey Counties for our cultural, historical, and natural assets…
SLIDE 2:  To unify existing cultural groups and artists…
•  Handmade in America study in 2007 shows $206.5 million impact in 25 WNC counties
• There are over 500 local artists in all disciplines in this area
•  The Penland impact is over $40 million per year
• 10 out of the 17 State Living Treasures are from Mitchell County
• TRAC Tours are branded as the premier center for studio craft
SLIDE 3:  To foster more cultural development…
SLIDE 4:  To attract more visitors…
SLIDE 5:  To make the arts more inclusive in our area…
SLIDE 6:  To create new jobs…
SLIDE 7:  To create a brand to market nationally/internationally. What is the brand name?
• TRAD – Toe River Arts District
• TRAZ – Toe River Arts Zone
• TRARTT – Toe River ART Territory
• TREX – Toe River Experience
• TRE – Toe River Experience
• TRAE – Toe River Arts Experience
• TRAC – Toe River Arts Community
SLIDE 8:  To increase our local economy…
SLIDE 9:  Components – 3 Areas
1.  Unifying groups to create a strong marketing message
•  Brand website and calendar
•  Logo and regional image
•  Project manager (marketing director)
•  Joint media buys
SLIDE 10:
2.  Wayfinding Methods
•  Signage
•  Kiosks
•  Any other means?
SLIDE 11:
3.  Creating Cultural Ambassadors
•  Cultural Arts Ambassador Program
•  What else?
SLIDE 12:  What can we do together? TRAD partners are continuing to meet and need your input:
•  From what we’ve described — what do you see as the most important area we should address?
•  What is missing?
•  Who have we left out?
•  How do you see us working together?

During the discussion, on the 15th and the subsequent TRAD meeting on Monday, the 19th, it was decided that a follow-up step would be to create a blog where artists could offer suggestions about the branding – a logo, a name, what we could do together. Please share your ideas.

* Represented agencies: AMY Regional Library, Blue Ridge Regional Hospital, Burnsville Main Street, Littleton Family, Mayland Community College, Mitchell County Chamber of Commerce, Mitchell County Economic Development Commission, Parkway Playhouse, Penland School, Spruce Pine Main Street, Toe River Arts Council, Toe Valley Trail Project, Town of Spruce Pine, Yancey County Economic Development Commission

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