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Creating a new image

A community’s economic well being depends, in part, on what it offers, what it makes. Its image and future depend on the best use of its resources.

What is Pagosa Country’s image? What are its current resources?

Since its founding, this community has been known for the hot springs in the area — geothermal resources that provide therapeutic and recreational opportunities. The geothermal resource that has long been used for rest and relaxation is also used for heating and could some day be a key part of a new agricultural industry and a source for electrical power.

Another resource in Pagosa Country is the undeniable beauty of the environment — a lure to those who wish to retire in a relatively tranquil setting and to those who want to start and raise families, and conduct business, in a rural area.

The outdoor environment, with related activities and sports, is an important part of Pagosa Country’s image and what it has to offer. This place has long been recognized as a destination for hunters and those throw a line in the water, as well as for campers and hikers. Winter sports — with nearby alpine skiing and abundant backcountry opportunities — have a role as an identifier and, lately, major outdoor athletic events have put Pagosa on the map with an entirely new crowd, bringing competitors and spectators here, boosting the local economy.

What else can Pagosa become that will provide a similar boost? What is the resource?

An event is taking place this weekend that provides an answer.

Pagosa can become a cultural tourism destination, as well as a home to members of a creative community who works and do business here, i.e. the resource.

Other places in the Southwest have accomplished this goal: Santa Fe, Taos and Sedona among them. A significant measure of the economies in these towns and cities flows from the arts and culture image, and attendant industries. Now, Pagosa Country is setting out to accomplish the same. On its own terms, in its own way.

Pagosa has become home to an impressive and growing community of creative individuals and businesses. It is a base for a wide variety of people and industries that make things: arts, crafts, clothing, food and beverage products, theatre, music, furniture, equine accessories, film and video products, health products and more.

This is the resource; now, the task is to organize the resource, put it on display, advertise it to the rest of the world and begin the long process of establishing Pagosa Country on the map with other cultural tourism destinations.

The first step was the creation of the Pagosa Arts and Culture project, with the primary goal of creating a web directory of the creative individuals and businesses in the area. It provides a snapshot of the variety and character of our creative community to anyone who wishes to see it. All members of the Pagosa creative community are urged to sign up and take advantage of this free service.

The second step: this weekend, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. each day, 90 local individuals, industries and businesses will be featured at the first Pagosa MAKERS Expo & Tour. The Expo portion of the event will take place at the Pagosa springs Center for the Arts and SHY RABBIT Contemporary Arts, with 31 booths in place. The Tour features 22 sites where visitors can experience the workplaces and studios of our MAKERS. See The PREVIEW for details or visit the Expo sites and get a brochure that lists participants and a map of locations.

The process has begun; an image is in the making.

Karl Isberg

This story was posted on October 11, 2013.