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Art, culture, and design enrich people’s lives, enhance communities, give pleasure, and provide educational and emotional experiences. This intrinsic value combined with the significant economic contribution establishes a new context for funding the arts, culture, and design and justifies much greater public sector investment in creative enterprises and activities. To strengthen our economy and generate employment, Birmingham must bolster existing strengths, remove obstacles to success, and develop new and innovative opportunities.



Leveraging and building upon Birmingham’s current creative strengths requires an environment that has nonprofit organizational support and funding; networking, entrepreneurial and business assistance, and space for production, presenting, selling, and showcasing products and talent. The creative industries plan recommends these eight strategies and their related actions, which require collaboration and ownership from the collective community and individuals.

Develop and Retain Talent
  • Increase Access to Higher Education in Design
  • Develop Internships for Art and Design Students
  • Expand Arts and Design Education in the Public Schools
  • Expand Local and Residential Crafts Programs at Sloss Furnaces
  • Consider Becoming a Replication Site of the National Center for Arts and Technology (NCAT)
  • Require Entrepreneurial or Business Skills in Educational Programs for Careers in Creative Fields
  • Expand Media and Design Programs in Public Education with Particular Emphasis on Recruitingand Reaching Minority Populations
  • Make Career Paths and Economic Opportunities Explicit and Available to People Making Career Choices
Blend the Arts with Science and
Technology to Nurture Innovation
  • Establish a Design “Wing” at the Innovation Depot for Companies Developing Creative Products or Services
  • Coordinate Existing Efforts that Integrate Learning among Sciences, Arts, and Humanities
  • Organize Monthly Events that Combine Creativity and Innovation
Expand Support Services and Build Relationships
with the Business and Corporate Community
  • Establish a “Loaned Executive” Program
  • Enhance Film and New Media Business Opportunities
  • Develop Business Services Tailored to Freelancers, Microenterprises, and Nonprofits
  • Establish Formal Connections to Cities Outside of the U.S. to Expand Markets and Learning
  • Nurture and Advertise the Existing Niche Markets in an Effort to Make Use of Existing Publishing Talent
Establish Birmingham as a Hub for Design
  • Make Manufacturing Technologies Available in Schools in Low-Income Parts of the City
  • Integrate Design into Technical Education
  • Initiate a Creative Challenge Program
Further Develop Birmingham’s Creative Districts
  • Encourage the Use of Local Art in Private and Public Enterprises
  • Expand the Use of Public Art that Matches Each Neighborhood’s History or Culture
  • Strengthen the Relationship with the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Inventory and Promote the Creative Enterprises, Assets, and Available Space for Each Business District
Leverage the Economic Potential of the City’s Cultural Assets
  • Create a Birmingham Cultural Collaborative to Develop Shared Marketing Opportunities, Product Development, and Services
  • Develop a Longer-Term Civil Rights Heritage Strategy
Develop the Organizational Capacity to
Strengthen Birmingham’s Music Industry
  • Increase Emphasis on Music Education
  • Create More Collaboration and Partnerships Among Musicians and Groups
  • Create More Centralized and Coordinated Organizational Capacity for the Music Industry
  • Use Public Art and Public Venues to Increase Visibility and Guide Tourists Interested in Music History
Strive to Create a prosperous and equitable Regional Food System
  • Increase Access, Availability, and Affordability of Healthy Foods for All Residents
  • Identify Business Opportunities for Culinary Entrepreneurs that Will Create Jobs
  • Establish Food Hubs for Processing and Distributing Regionally Produced Food