Our view: Matters of the art

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It's no easy task putting a label on Craig and Moffat County.

When one thinks of our community, several things may stand out: our Old West heritage; ties to ranching and agriculture; our partnership with energy and natural resources.

The list could go on.

But, there also is another identity characteristic - perhaps one less talked about, but one refreshing nonetheless - of Craig and Moffat County.

Our community's deep pool of residents who dabble in the arts.

We have painters and poets, singers and songwriters, writers and wood carvers, and many others.

Would someone mistake Craig for a cultural hub like Santa Fe, N.M.? Probably not.

Still, this cultural resource of ours can be used for the community's advantage, the Editorial Board believes.

By putting more into displaying, promoting and supporting our local artists' work, perhaps we can use culture as an economic development catalyst.

Maybe Moffat County will never be a tourist's primary destination, but it can be a stop along the path to another one.

There is a link between the arts and tourism, and in this uncertain economic time - with many businesses standing pat and not considering relocation - the arts can be a draw for bringing in out-of-towners.

Even in the best of times, economic development efforts have been mixed in Moffat County.

Money - private and public - has been poured into agencies and groups tasked with bolstering our local economy, and these investments have not yielded much of a return.

It's time to try a different approach.

And stimulating our economy through the arts, the Editorial Board believes, is one area that hasn't been mined well enough.

Moffat County has two fantastic museums, and more people outside our community need to know about them.

Craig has world-class wooden carvings sprinkled throughout town - we need literature for people who may want to go on a self-guided tour.

We have artists all over - what about a gallery showcasing them?

What about murals throughout town, murals that are eye-catching and give our community a bit of a sparkle?

Maybe using culture as a tool to kick start tourism and the economy won't work. If so, it joins a list of other local efforts that have been stymied.

In that respect, there isn't much to lose in giving this a try.

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