Master Plan for Gwinnett County Arts and Creative Economy
ArtWorks Gwinnett is a public-private partnership in Gwinnett County, GA that aims to grow the county’s arts, culture, and creative sectors. At the time of this planning effort, the entity lacked a formal place in the county’s cultural planning space, and aimed to gain political and community-wide momentum to make a broader impact across Gwinnett.
As the Northwest neighbor of the City of Atlanta, Gwinnett County is known for its uniquely diverse demographics, vibrant main streets, and strong quality of life. A county that was 90%+ white in the late 1990’s has shifted, now only 33% white with Black, Asian, and Hispanic populations coming to call the county home. Gwinnett’s cultural identity and corresponding policies had been slow to adapt to these swiftly changing circumstances, necessitating a cultural planning effort to create a new cultural identity for Gwinnett.
To help Gwinnett County better understand the existing conditions of their arts, culture, and creative economy and workforce, Fourth Economy supported a variety of analyses into countywide sector impact, employment volume and demographics, wages, and more. This data was compared to neighboring communities, and analytical insights were used to drive a stronger understanding of the county’s needs assessment for policy and funding support. Fourth Economy also led interviews and engagements with municipal and economic development leaders to add broader context to these insights. The team authored an asset inventory and map of Gwinnett’s arts, culture, and creative assets to help stakeholders understand the geographic and categorical breakdown of local assets and gaps in assets. This map helped lead to the creation of recommendations for policies, such as countywide percent-for-art, that can help build arts and culture experiences more organically and equitably across Gwinnett.
An in-depth analysis of arts, culture, and creative sector impact and employee demographics served as a baseline for understanding Gwinnett compared to surrounding communities. From there, a robust asset inventory provided a visual into Gwinnett’s cultural clusters and deserts. The insight that the 25% of people who live in incorporated municipalities have significantly better access to cultural experiences helped the Fourth Economy team make a strong recommendation to the county on how to ensure that all areas of the county have codified policy to incentivize arts and culture, ample funding for local investment, and a countywide identity to benefit from in building and marketing attractions for resident and tourists alike.
Gwinnett County, GA