TheMissouri Arts Council (part of the Missouri Department of Economic Development) started recognizing outstanding contributions to the arts in 1983 via their annual Missouri Arts Awards. The category of Creative Community, added in 2007, recognizes those communities (municipality, village or town, business district, tax district, neighborhood association, etc.) which use the arts to promote economic growth, tourism, business and/or resident attraction, or civic growth.
Previous winners of this prestigious award include the City of Columbia, the City of St. Joseph, the City of Springfield, The City of Lee’s Summit, the City of Chesterfield, the City of Joplin, the City of Webster Groves and the City of Kansas City. The 2015 Creative Community is the City of Peculiar via the Downtown Peculiar Arts & Culture District (DPACD). Peculiar is the smallest community based on population that has ever received the award.
Peculiar’s Mayor Holly Stark nominated DPACD. “ Perhaps one of the greatest accomplishments of this group is the way they have created access to the arts in this very underserved area and made art approachable. This spirit of meeting people where they are; of finding common ground with regard to involvement is evidenced by the diversity of the group itself and the partnerships it has forged. There are obviously artists but there are as many or more non artists and there are businesses. Many members are from our town of roughly 4600 residents but many are also members of the other 70,000 people located in the surrounding communities. There are even members, donors and volunteers from other states who are lead to participate because they believe in the very real concept that life and the economy in a small town can be positively impacted by the arts.”
DPACD’s mantra is a Margaret Mead quote, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” Called “feisty grassroots” by the Missouri Arts Council on its Facebook announcement of the awards, the committed members of DPACD in cooperation and partnership with the forward thinking leadership of the City of Peculiar are changing their corner of the world. Always a wonderful hometown, Peculiar is also now a recognized Creative Community.