Realizing the economic potential of creativity in Mississippi, the Mississippi Development Authority partnered with the Mississippi Arts Commission a couple of years ago to have a study done on Mississippi’s Creative Economy. The findings were significant enough to prompt leaders in Madison County to set out to discover the economic potential of creativity within the county. Representatives from each of the County’s Chambers of Commerce, as well as tourism departments and economic development organizations came together to form the Madison County Creative Economy Council. “It’s the first time I have ever seen all these organizations come together for one specific cause,” said Joanne Gordon, director of the Canton Convention and Visitors Bureau and Film Office. The Council meets regularly to help identify and work to educate others in understanding Madison County’s creative economy as it exists today. “We feel we are better positioned to support and further develop this key sector,” said Jan Collins, executive director of the Madison County Business League, the lead organization in the effort.
A county-wide business after hours will be held on Monday, September 30 from 5:00 to 7:00 at the Mississippi Craft Center in Ridgeland. “We are inviting the members of all the Chambers of Commerce in Madison County, as well as members of the Madison County Business League and the Madison County Foundation,” Collins. The event is designed to celebrate Madison County’s Creative Economy. “This is our second annual event. Our Madison County Creative Economy Council has worked hard over the past year to identify what drives the creative economy in our County and to develop a website where anyone can find a directory of businesses that help drive Madison County’s creative economy, a list of attractions found throughout the County, as well as a comprehensive events calendar.”
The new website will be unveiled at the after hours event on September 30. “After that, you can access from a tab on the County’s website, www.madison-co.com, or by going to www.madisoncountycreativeeconomy.com , said Collins. The website will not go “live” until the day of the event.
At the after hours event, several businesses that are representative of Madison County’s creative economy will be featured, including Musee bath balms, born of a desire to find a way to care for the community by creating jobs in Madison County. Over the last year and a half, the company has developed over 40 different balms and employs eight people in the Musee studio, located in Flora. Also featured will be Mad Genius, a creative fusion of design, print, digital, social media, TV and video production, animation, media strategy and more, all under one roof in Ridgeland. The Livingston Farmer’s Market, located between Madison and Flora, will be featured, as will the Cotton Kitchen, a restaurant and catering company located in Ridgeland. Writer Susan Marquez and the Mississippi Craft Center will also be featured.
The Madison County Creative Economy Council is a convergence of organizations with a strong interest in seeking out and promoting all that is good in the County. The effort began in 2012, and regular meetings have resulted in the new website – a place where anyone who is interested can see, in one place, the major creative forces, both man made and natural, that make Madison County stronger than ever.
The people and organizations that make up the Madison County Creative Economy Council include the Canton Chamber of Commerce Main Street Association, Canton Convention and Visitors Bureau & Film Office, Flora Area Chamber of Commerce, Madison the City Chamber of Commerce, Madison County Business League, Madison County Chamber of Commerce, Madison County Economic Development Authority, Madison County Foundation, Ridgeland Chamber of Commerce, Ridgeland Tourism Commission. “It’s been an amazing collaboration by representatives of all these organizations,” said Collins.
The event will feature entertainment, and food and beverages will be served, all provided by local businesses. For more information on the Madison County Creative Economy or the after hours event, contact the Madison County Business League office at 601-832-5592.
By Susan Marquez
Special to the Madison County Herald
September 26, 2013