(The Gazette, Christian Murdock)
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Downtown Colorado Springs was awarded a Creative District designation by Colorado Creative Industries and the Boettcher Foundation. (The Gazette, Christian Murdock)

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Downtown Colorado Springs was awarded a Creative District designation Friday by Colorado Creative Industries and the Boettcher Foundation.

"Creative District status allows us to further leverage our cultural and creative assets to attract new business, stimulate tourism and ensure that downtown is the place of choice for launching new ideas while also preserving our rich cultural heritage," said Susan Edmondson, president and CEO of Downtown Partnership, in a news release.

The designation is expected to come with a $20,000 award, said Lara Holman Garritano, creative district manager for Downtown Partnership.

Colorado Creative Industries is a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. The Creative District Program was created in 2011 to attract artists and creative entrepreneurs to the state, and enhance economic and civic capital of communities. There are 11 creative districts across the state.

Creative districts accepted into the program work toward certification for two years. Downtown Partnership has worked toward it since 2012. The program helps candidates with direct funding and professional assistance, training and networking with peers.

To earn the designation, a district must achieve three elements: capture and reflect its unique story, integrate with other community systems, including economic development, tourism and transportation, and have local government endorsement.

"A real goal for us has been to have immediate impact along the streets of downtown," Garritano said, "so when you come downtown, you can see and experience things along the streets that are unexpected and new arts and cultural experiences."

Public celebration of 
Creative District designationWhen: 5:30 p.m., Saturday, June 28What: Ice Cream SocialWhere: Acacia ParkFollowed at 6 p.m. by the Acacia Park Summer Concert Series featuring Eros and the Eschaton with opening band Chauncy Crandall

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Contact Mulson, 636-0270

A&E and features reporter

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