SPENCER CREATES space to live

SPENCER CREATES space to work

SPENCER CREATES space to play

SPACE nurtures Spencerís growing creative community by expanding professional opportunities for artists and creative entrepreneurs and by reinforcing and enhancing the missions of existing cultural and creative organizations.

In the fall of 2003, a group of forward-thinking individuals in the community began a grass-roots effort to support and enhance Spencerís strength as a cultural center. They envisioned Spencer as a cultural and creative community that attracted individuals and families to live, provided an environment supportive of cultural workers, and strengthened the economic base of the community through the arts and creative industries.

In early 2004, several economic development leaders and representatives of Spencerís cultural organizations became involved in efforts to attract Bogenrief Studios to Spencer. As a result of those efforts, the Bogenriefs decided to locate a blown-glass production and stained-glass showroom in the former Post Office building downtown. People involved in that effort saw creative people like the Bogenriefs as a new form of economic development. Instead of ďchasing smokestacksĒ like traditional economic development efforts, this new cultural alliance wanted to build on the concept of leveraging Spencerís strong tradition for culture and fine arts as a way to attract new creative people to the community.

In the summer of 2004, bylaws and articles of incorporation were created for the organization, along with a new nameóSpencer Alliance for a Creative Economy, or SPACE. A 13-member board was chosen, with each board member representing a different entity involved in economic development or culture within Spencer. The SPACE board meets monthly to support existing cultural organizations, develop cultural events, attract cultural workers to live and work in the community, and promote cultural offerings available in Spencer.

Although SPACE has been in existence only since the summer of 2004, it has already accomplished several milestones:

  • Attracted Bogenrief Studios to Spencer.
  • Obtained recognition as one of the first 8 state-certified Cultural Districts in Iowa.
  • Partnered with Spencer Main Street to create a new event, Mainstreet Market, that brought homegrown arts and crafts and homegrown produce together with live music during Thursday evenings in July and August 2005. The event was expanded in its second year to include more exhibitors and more dates. In 2007, Mainstreet Market moved to the Courthouse square on West Fourth Street. In 2009, Mainstreet Market will run Thursdays from July 16 through August 13.
  • Published Conflagration: The Great Spencer Fire of 1931, a book by Spencer native Julie Schmidt chronicling the fire that resulted in Spencerís unique Art Deco business district.
  • Successfully recruited Tony Curiel to relocate from Michigan to Spencer, purchasing the former Reynolds School building to become the Curiel School for the Visual Arts.
  • Initiated a program to commission public works of art in Spencer.

SPACE goals for the future include:

  • Continue recruitment of creative people and businesses to Spencer
  • Continue reinforcing existing cultural organizations to ensure vitality
SCT Playhouse Connie Goeken President
At Large Martin Arthur Vice President
Arts on Grand Jim Schooley Secretary
Spencer Industries Foundation Merlyn Winther Treasurer
City Council George Kruger  
Historic Preservation Commission Sheriffa Jones  
Main Street Matt Barstad  
Chamber of Commerce Melissa Cunningham  
Jobs Trust Ryan Johnson  
Spencer Municipal Utilities Board Keetah Dodson  
Clay County Board of Supervisors Del Brockshus  
Parker Historical Society Cindy McGranahan  
Spencer School District Joe Mueting  

about SPACE

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