'Create Here Now' combines arts and community development
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Putnam - posted Thu., Dec. 19, 2013
On Dec. 11, state Sen. Donald Williams, Jr., (D-29) and state Rep. Danny Rovero (D-51) announced that Putnam has been selected as one of 20 Connecticut towns to be featured on the state’s “Create Here Now” website. The announcement was made to members of the Putnam Business Association at Victoria’s Station.
CreateHereNow is a statewide initiative to put into practice the findings of a National Endowment of the Arts report. The report calls for the creation of partnerships between public, private and non-profit organizations to shape the physical and social character of a neighborhood, town or region. When that creative “placemaking” centers on the arts and cultural events, everyone benefits.
“We’ve discovered that the arts are fantastic for business,” said Ann Monteiro, owner of The Flying Carpet Studio on Main Street. “That’s the important message.”
Monteiro, who will join the executive board of the Putnam Business Association in January, said the PBA is one of the reasons for the growth of Putnam’s visibility. First Fridays, free summer concerts, car shows, holiday parades and a host of community events bring people to town. It energizes the town and gives businesses a boost with the influx of people.
“It’s obvious that Putnam is on this great turnaround, and the arts are a big part of it,” Monteiro said. “The arts are driving the economy. Whenever there is an economic downturn, what brings people back downtown is the arts.”
Monteiro sees proof in the influx of new businesses and the occupation of buildings that have been vacant for years. Putnam has turned into a funky little fun place to be, she said.
Watch for future developments at www.createherenow.org.