There were drum circles, there were quilts, there was dancing and there was spoken word. The launch party for Create Birmingham covered a lot of cultural bases at WorkPlay on Wednesday night.
At the party, a recent report published by Create Birmingham, the former Cultural Alliance of Greater Birmingham, was presented. It concluded that Birmingham seems to have a blossoming “creative job” industry.
The report examined “labor statistics across industries and occupations to prove the strong economic case for encouraging the arts, culture, and design. The resulting report recommended strategies to connect the six creative sectors with investment and resources.”
The findings were related to data from the North American Industry Classification System, which “estimates employment in defined creative industries and defined creative occupations.”
In Jefferson County, according to the report, there are, “22,754 total creative jobs,” which equals “4.68 percent of overall jobs in Jefferson County.” Some of these fields include film, design and culinary arts, among others.
Buddy Palmer, president and CEO of Create Birmingham, said, “This is a night we’ve been working toward for 22 months.” With the lights shining and the room buzzing, Palmer thanked all those who make Birmingham a “unique” place to be.
“I thank all the people. We want to help put your creativity to work in Birmingham. Because it is you who [are] leading the transformation in Birmingham,” Palmer said.
Dick Pigford, chairman for Create Birmingham, said the launch of the new “creative hub” can be “best described by the generosity of talent, time and resources — financial and other. Generosity of spirit and people who are helping to move Birmingham forward in a unique way.”
The report published also noted that in Jefferson County, the creative job industry generates $558 million in household earnings annually.
Through “investing in imagination and invention,” Pigford said, Create Birmingham hopes to put Birmingham’s creative talent to work by implementing eight strategies:
- Develop and retain talent
- Blend the arts with science and technology to nurture innovation
- Expand support services and build relationships with the business and corporate community
- Establish Birmingham as a hub for design
- Further develop Birmingham’s creative districts
- Leverage the economic potential of the city’s cultural assets
- Develop the organizational capacity to strengthen Birmingham’s music industry
- Strive to create a prosperous and equitable regional food system
After the new strategy was announced, the drumming and dancing picked up again. Palmer said into the microphone, “Tonight, it’s about the party. So let’s enjoy it.”