Creative Economy

Mt. Auburn Associates has been at the forefront of the creative economic development field for the past 10 years. Our innovative work has helped a broad spectrum of clients make significant progress in furthering their cultural development agendas.

One of earliest projects in this arena was an evaluation of the Massachusetts Cultural Council's Cultural Economic Development program, the first such program in the country. In 2000, Mt. Auburn Associates applied a cluster analysis to the New England creative sector for a groundbreaking economic development study that remains a benchmark in the field. Our report created a new definition and understanding of New England’s creative economy, and a follow-up study in 2001 provided a working tool that has guided cultural economic development programs throughout New England.

Just days before Hurricane Katrina, more than 700 people gathered in New Orleans at a statewide Cultural Economy Summit where Louisiana Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, and others heralded a new economic development plan created by Mt. Auburn Associates titled Louisiana: Where Culture Means Business. The plan focused on creating new jobs, new enterprises, and a better quality of life for the citizens who produce Louisiana's unique culture. Landrieu called the report “proof of the incomparable value of the losses we have sustained and the handbook that will marshal us through the unpredictable future".

In April 2006, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the creation of a new office that will aggressively promote New York's creative industries, in response to Mt. Auburn and the Center for Urban Future's Creative New York report that warned of the loss of the city's competitive edge in the creative arts.

In 2007, Mt. Auburn Associates' Berkshire Creative Economy report was unveiled as part of the Berkshire Blueprint, which defined and quantified the creative sector of Berkshire County's economy. Since the report, the organization Berkshire Creative was developed to support and grow the creative sector and, with its partners, has developed, implemented, and collaborated on making connections, growing jobs, and creating economic opportunity. For more information on its initiatives see:

In 2010, Mt. Auburn Associates completed Creative Capital: The Creative DC Action Agenda for the DC Office of Planning and the Washington, DC Economic Partnership. The report was awarded the Jury Award by the National Capital Area Chapter of the American Planning Association.

In January 2011, the report Creative Industries: A New Economic Growth Opportunity for the Milwaukee 7 Region was released. The report quantified the contribution of creative industries, assessed the strengths of the creative infrastructure, and recommended a strategic action plan for the region’s creative sector. This project was designed, managed, and funded by the Cultural Alliance of Greater Milwaukee in strategic partnership with the Greater Milwaukee Committee. The creative industries project covered the seven counties of southeast Wisconsin. Based on the results of the Creativity Works! project, the Cultural Alliance of Greater Milwaukee re-branded and repositioned its business model, transitioning from serving only the nonprofit arts sector to serving the needs and interests of a thriving creative industries cluster, encompassing 67,000 workers and 4,100 businesses across the region. This also includes the launch of The Creative Hub, a new website where "creativity meets commerce."

Capital Region Creative Economy Project. In 2014, the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region and the Center for Economic Growth retained Mt. Auburn to develop a creative economy plan for New York's Capital Region. Mt. Auburn put together a team that included Michael Kane Consulting and Anne Gadwa Nicodemus (Metris Arts Consulting), and also worked closely with the Regional Alliance for a Creative Economy, a stakeholder group formed to support and oversee the effort. Through research that included interviews, site tours, and focus groups with artists, creative business owners, representatives of cultural institutions, and civic leaders; a quantitative economic analysis; and a survey of over 600 independent creatives, Mt. Auburn was able to gain an in-depth understanding of the region's creative assets and the opportunities associated with them. The final report summarizing Mt. Auburn's findings, CAPTIVATE: Leveraging Regional Assets for a Vital Future, was released at a summit at Proctors Theater in Schenectady on November 13, 2014.