Corporate Relocation and Expansion
Local citizens in the Chattanooga region want a vibrant economy with strong professional and technical sectors that offer high-wage, high-value jobs. Such jobs become available when companies thrive and expand and when businesses choose to relocate in the Chattanooga area. The intangibles in Chattanooga that became the tangibles give the community an edge. Chattanooga offered something more and arts and culture was a part of the package.
Attracting companies (and their highly educated senior management) to a community can be significantly enhanced by:
Cultural amenities of all kinds:
- High quality schools with rich programs including the arts.
- Interesting and stimulating volunteer activities in local nonprofits (including arts and cultural organizations).
- Attractions and festivals that enhance the sense of community richness.
- An attractive city including one populated by public art.
- Work with the City, the County, the Chamber and other entities to refine and enhance the message targeted to business leaders about the extent and quality of arts and cultural organizations, attractions, and offerings in the community.
- Develop similar messaging about the presence of a community of artists and creative businesses in Chattanooga and the community’s commitment to public art.
- Prepare print and electronic material that promotes the arts and culture of the region to business.
- Include a representative of the cultural community on high-level groups planning and pitching the region to businesses, including the upcoming Regional Growth Plan Initiative.
The convention marketplace is a competitive one, especially during times of economic stress. For that reason, cities avail themselves of any opportunity to brand a city as friendly to a particular industry. The arts industry has already discovered Chattanooga. In recent years, Chattanooga has played host to the National Association of State Arts Agencies, the Tennessee Music Educators Association, the American Choral Directors Association (state conference), and the National Association of Teachers of Singing (regional auditions). In March 2012, the Southeastern Theatre Conference will be held in Chattanooga with 4000 people attending and it will return in four years. Another national organization, the Arts Education Partnership, will meet in Chattanooga in September 2012.
Hosting events for these types of groups often goes beyond the typical convention-type needs of meeting space, exhibit halls, banquet rooms, dining, and hotel considerations. In addition to these items, groups that focus on musical or other artistic ventures also need adequate rehearsal, performing, demonstration, and other spaces. These would be key components of an attractive bid to these particular entities. Since many of these spaces are City-owned and managed, the involvement of City staff will be especially important.
- Chattanooga should brand itself as a convention destination for arts and cultural gatherings, developing a case for the unique elements that can contribute to a special experience.
- The CVB should work closely with the arts community, the city, and with Allied Arts in developing marketing and related activities for this purpose.
- Efforts should be made to assess the requirements and availability of appropriate spaces for arts-related gatherings and agreements worked out with the owners/managers to ensure ease and affordability of use for the incoming groups.
Another way that the arts and culture contribute to local economies is through cultural tourism. Attracting visitors to the Chattanooga region and giving visitors reasons to stay and spend dollars provides a direct form of economic impact. The market perceives Chattanooga as a very hospitable, welcoming destination. When one looks at the amount of arts and cultural activity in the region, it exceeds by a large degree cities and counties of much greater size.
Most of the organizations providing the amenities are relatively small and few can afford to promote themselves in a way that reaches the average visitor. What is needed is a consolidated program to calendar and promote the cultural amenities of the region and to provide centralized ticketing opportunities. New technology has been developed that allows communities to partner on a powerful web-based marketing platform. Now in use in more than 30 cities, Artsopolis offers an opportunity for a powerful partnership between cultural interests, tourism promoters, and local media (who have need for a comprehensive calendar of events).
- Acquire the Artsopolis software and establish a partnership to embark on a joint calendar/marketing/ticketing website initiative.
- Develop appropriate branding and marketing around the concept of Chattanooga – a creative city – a wonderful place to live, work, and visit. Utilize material from the new website to promote the assets of the City and region more generally.
- The partners, along with the arts and cultural community, should plan the addition of the centralized ticketing features with decisions to be made about where it will be located and how it will be operated.
- An artist registry and other communications features of the software should be maintained by Allied Arts and incorporated into the overall partnership strategy.