Creating Policies That Grow the Creative Economy

Different organizations, including local and state governments, non-profits, businesses and local and regional planning agencies can take initiative to create policies to establish and maintain support for building the creative economy. Samples of various policy initiatives include:

a. Creating an Arts and Cultural Commission - Sample Ordinances
Communities can choose to create an Arts and Cultural Commission to conduct a cultural asset inventory, develop arts and cultural programming, oversee percent for art fund disbursement, and manage public art installations.

Nashua Ordinance – Establishing the Nashua Arts Commission

Rochester Ordinance – Arts and Culture Commission

Sample Duties and Responsibilities of an Arts and Cultural Commission


It is important to consider what role an Arts and Cultural Commission will play in the community. Will it have purchasing authority? Will it be a stand-alone non-profit or part of the City or Town’s governance structure? Will City or Town resources be available to support the Commission such as office space, accounting services, and liability insurance?


b. Establishing an Arts and Cultural District
ArtistLink, a non-profit resource addressing artist needs for space, health insurance, financial support, and business planning, identifies cultural districts as “…a well-recognized, labeled area of a city in which a high concentration of cultural facilities and programs serve as an anchor of attraction. Typically, cultural districts are geographically defined and have many different names, including: arts district, arts and entertainment district, arts and science district, artists’ quarter, museum district, and theatre district.” Communities can choose to create an arts and cultural district to develop tourism, and revitalize neighborhoods.



The Project for Public Spaces (PPS), a non-profit planning, design and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces, outlines the 11 Principles for Creating Great Community Places. Their pioneering Placemaking approach helps citizens transform their public spaces into vital places that highlight local assets, spur rejuvenation and serve common needs.


c. Percent for Art Programs
The New Hampshire Percent for Art Program was enacted by the State Legislature in 1979 through RSA 19-A:9 and RSA 19-A:10 and authorizes one half of one percent of the capitol budget appropriation for new buildings or significant renovations to be set aside in a non-lapsing account for the acquisition or commissioning of artwork. The Percent for Art Program is dedicated to aesthetically enriching state funded buildings, enhancing the effectiveness of the services provided in state buildings through the art that is displayed there and making the arts more available to our citizens. The program takes a unique approach to the acquisition of artwork by creating a Site Selection Committee that engages in a process where planners, architects, state employees, art professionals and private citizens collaborate in the selection, commissioning or purchasing of works of art by artists and craftspeople for state buildings. The themes developed by the committee and the artwork selected often help the agencies housed within the building to better meet their mission.

Hampton Beach Percent for Art Project


Portsmouth Ordinance for Funding of Public Art (PDF)

Portsmouth Public Art Acquisition Policy (PDF)