March 6 2018

Capital Region’s creative economy on display during roundtable discussion

The Saratogian

By: Lauren Halligan

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.>>The Spa City community joined a region-wide conversation about the creative economy this week as it rolled through the Hall of Springs on a roundtable discussion tour.

More than 100 attendees came to the Monday night event, at which participants learned about the Capital Region’s creative economy and discussed its future.

This gathering was the fourth in a region-wide series presented by the Alliance for the Creative Economy in a new partnership with the Center for Economic Growth.

Alliance for the Creative Economy project director Maureen Sager explained to attendees the magnitude of this multifaceted sector that includes not only performing and visual arts but media, museums and even artisanal food production.

With these industries and more, the creative economy is the fourth largest employer in the region — larger than high education and construction and on par with manufacturing and food service. This makes the creative economy “important and inherent to the health of the region,” Sager said. “It needs to be developed and invested in.”

Sager went on to share the Alliance for the Creative Economy’s three priorities — freelancing, cultural tourism and regional identity.

After the quick information session on what the creative economy is and the sectors it represents, including recent employment data, the evening’s focus shifted gears to how it can successfully move forward.

Event-goers gathered into three different roundtable discussion groups on freelancing, business and regional identity, and each compiled some ideas for the future.

Center for Economic Growth president and CEO Andrew Kennedy said the purpose of these events is to give community members and opportunity to engage in this creative economy conversation, which in turn provides economic leaders with information that helps them better serve as ambassadors for the region.

Elizabeth Sobol, president of Saratoga Performing Arts Center, spoke at the meeting as well, stressing the importance of getting the word out about all the Capital Region has to offer in terms of arts, culture and natural beauty. “There’s nothing like this in North America,” said Sobol, who moved to the area in 2016.

Monday’s meeting followed similar discussions in Troy, Glens Falls and Schenectady.

As the series continues making its way around the eight-county region, two more roundtable events are scheduled for Tuesday, March 13 at Hudson Hall in Hudson and Monday, March 12 at Overit, located at 435 New Scotland Ave. in Albany. This last event was rescheduled from Feb. 7.

All events will feature private meetings with business and cultural leaders from 3 to 5 p.m. followed by public roundtable discussions from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Those interested in attending can register for the roundtables online at

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