News Column

Mayor Gray and Interim Deputy Mayor Miller Unveil District's New Creative Economy Strategy

July 16, 2014



WASHINGTON, July 16 -- The mayor of the District of Columbia issued the following news release:

Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Interim Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development M. Jeffrey Miller today unveiled The Creative Economy Strategy, a sector-driven roadmap that leverages the District's creative industries in order to generate 10,000 new jobs and expand the city's tax base within three years. To create the strategy, internal and external stakeholders within the District collected data and made strategic recommendations to bolster the city's commitment to economic diversification.

"The District is home to some of the smartest and most creative people in the world and to some of the world's richest cultural resources - and my administration believes in doing everything we can to leverage those resources and grow our creative industries," said Mayor Gray. "By taking advantage of the numerous creative assets our city boasts, we can continue to grow and diversify the District's economy."

The Creative Economy Strategy identifies three bold visions that are supported by 34 actionable initiatives critical to spurring job growth in industries that leverage creativity, innovation and knowledge. The visions aim to make the city a national hub for creative startups and entrepreneurs; become a magnet for creative corporations; and foster a resilient, entrepreneurial local arts community. The strategy builds on the sector-driven methodology outlined in the District's Five-Year Economic Development Strategy by targeting four key sectors for job growth. Those sectors are: 1) Arts and Heritage, 2) Information and Technology, 3) Culinary Arts and 4) Professional Services.

"The Creative Economy Strategy is a natural extension of our Five-Year Economic Development Strategy as it advances the goals of creating jobs and generating tax revenue by targeting key sectors in the creative industries that have numerous opportunities for job growth," said Interim Deputy Mayor Miller. "We are pleased to have a strategic roadmap that will guide us towards diversifying and growing the city's economy."

The strategy was unveiled at Dance Place in Ward 5 - an example of the many creative organizations the Gray Administration has supported. Others include Union Kitchen, a culinary incubator that is opening a second establishment on New York Avenue NE; CBS Radio, which relocated its offices to the emerging Capitol Riverfront neighborhood near Nationals Park; and WeWork, a co-working space that opened a second location in the former Wonder Bread factory in Shaw.

The Creative Economy Strategy was formulated via a Strategy Advisory Group that included District government agency directors, academic leaders, nonprofit organizations and employers in each target sector. Over the course of eight months, the group - in conjunction with staff from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development; Doug Guthrie, a visiting scholar at Georgetown School of Business; and the Kellogg Consulting team - studied how best to stimulate the District's creative economy with a focus on economic development, startup innovation and tools for fostering entrepreneurial thinking in the arts community. The initiatives outlined in the strategy were developed through interviews with 133 stakeholders within the District's civic, business, cultural and institutional communities. Those interviews form the foundation for the strategy.

"The future of the creative economy in Washington, DC, is tied to visionary entrepreneurs and artists who have built it thus far, and government leaders like Mayor Gray who recognized that the District's promise lies in its ability to draw creative individuals and innovative companies and nonprofits to its borders," said Doug Guthrie, who helped lead the groups that formulated the strategy.

In analyzing and focusing on its creative industries, the District has the opportunity to:

- Establish a clear view of the District's resources and assets within the creative industries

- Identify District creative industries' areas of growth to inform future resource allocation

- Bring together stakeholders to drive forward an inclusive and robust creative economy strategy for the next several years

To download a copy of the Creative Economy Strategy, go to DMPED's website here. (http://dmped.dc.gov/page/creative-economy-strategy)

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