"Growing the Arts" panel set for May 13 discussion

Cook County is awash in artists, artisans and crafts people, joyfully so. It's a good bet we have more creative folk of assorted varieties than any other county in Minnesota.

While most celebrate this fact of North Woods life, few stop to think about what it means in economic terms – households sustained, careers fashioned and jobs created directly and indirectly by the application of art and craft skills. Fewer still have any reason to think deeply about what it could mean for county life if this sector of the economy were further developed.

Four people with extended, first-hand experience in arts and crafts economics will offer their views and visions on “Growing the Cook County Arts and Crafts Economy” at a gathering May 13 from 4-6 p.m. at Cook County Higher Ed. All are welcome, and there is no charge.

Come hear Greg Wright of North House Folk School, Amy Demmer of the Grand Marais Art Colony, Jan Sivertson of Sivertson Gallery and Jay Andersen of WTIP share their perspectives on what arts and crafts mean to the county – and what they could mean if the community united behind a program to grow and sustain them further.

Given Cook County's need for new economic vitality, there are all sorts of good reasons why the arts and crafts sector should be further developed: It builds on what we already do well; it enhances the existing character and culture of Cook County; and it adds another economic arrow to the county quiver, one that is related to tourism but has its own independent center of economic energy.

This is the first in a number of presentations on the projects and plans growing out of work by the Cook County Go Team and supported by the newly formed Cook County Chamber of Commerce.