Berkeley Springs - Virtual Creative Community

Organization Name:
Morgan Arts Council
City & State:
Describe your creative piece – what is it and what has it been used for, and why is it innovative?
The Morgan Arts Council’s “Virtual Creative Community” website serves as a tool for branding the rural mountain town of Berkeley Springs, WV. The history of Berkeley Springs is centered on the warm mineral waters. From native tribes to George Washington to present day tourists, the famed springs created the spa town that Berkeley Springs is known as today. The town is also known for its art. Art galleries, shops, and performance venues support the local economy and give a creative edge to the community. It is a healthy combination of “small town” life mixed with the sensibilities of art and cultural awareness. The project is innovative because it uses technology and community collaboration to address the issue of attracting new visitors, new residents, and new business to the area. Collaborative partners include the local Economic Development Authority, the Chamber of Commerce & tourism board, local businesses, and local artists and arts organizations.
What issue or problem were you working to address with this piece?
With a population of only 17,000, Morgan County is small and rural. But the potential for expanding the local arts and economic base is very real with the Washington, DC/Baltimore area only 1.5 hours to the east. While it helps to have weekend and tourism visitors, what the county really needs is to attract the ‘right’ kind of businesses that will bring a healthier level of employment to the county. And one of the best ways to attract anyone is to provide one consistent ‘face’ through community collaboration.
How has your submission successfully impacted your organization’s ability to solve this issue/problem?
The VCC has allowed Morgan County to provide that common, packaged face to the outside world. It serves as a way to unify, highlight and expand existing creative and artistic activity within Morgan County under a single brand that positions Morgan County as a hot spot for creative economic activity as well as a premier arts destination. We are only in phase one of the Virtual Creative Community website. Future phases include the addition of a community cultural calendar, artist registry and online tours of the art. This will provide a process where the world (1) finds virtual Berkeley Springs, art town, online, (2) explores and interacts with its artistic assets and (3) eventually draws people to visit and possibly relocate to Berkeley Springs. The site was designed using Adobe Fireworks and implemented with Dreamweaver and Flash.
Creative Submission - URL