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Rural entrepreneurship

Rising Sun receives grant money
to pursue business development

By Konnie McCollum
Staff Writer

RISING SUN, Ind. (March 2007) – Rising Sun, Ind. was among a handful of communities awarded a state grant in January to help promote entrepreneurial efforts.
Indiana Lieutenant Gov. Becky Skillman and the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs in January awarded 23 communities throughout the state with Rural Entrepreneurial Support and Workforce and Educational Development Grants that totaled $2.7 million.
The new Rural Capacity Grants were created to help develop creative ways to build capacity in workforce development and rural entrepreneurship. These grants help fulfill the priorities in the Rural Indiana Strategy for Excellence, or RISE 2020.
Sherry Timms, executive director of Rising Sun-Ohio County Convention Tourism & Visitors Commission, said her community was only one of seven communities to get the entire $150,000 grant.
Timms said Rising Sun Tourism and the Rising Sun Regional Foundation each provided $18,750 in a cash match. Rising Sun will use the grant money for a project to improve artist-entrepreneur success rates, increase cultural opportunities for residents and visitors and strengthen Rising Sun’s position as a desirable tourist destination.
She said for communities that do not have an industrial base as an economic developer, the arts have become a focus for possible further economic development. Rising Sun, with its Pendleton Art Center and other art venues, has already become known for its arts culture. “We want Rising Sun to become an arts destination,” said Timms.
She said the project hopes to increase tourism and stimulate economic growth.
The community hopes to do that by offering arts education in visual, performance, music and writing and by developing incubator businesses in arts.
Timms said a collaborative project with Historic Downtown Main Street Program, Rising Sun Tourism and Rising Sun First plans to use the grant money to develop existing tourism venues to help develop artists to teach workshops and to offer workshops on rural entrepreneurship to artists.
Timms said one goal of the project is to build a solid foundation to support the success of artists in the rural economy by using the Rising Sun Economic Education Power Tools Kit, a program she hopes other rural communities will be able to adopt and implement.
As part of the program, artists will attend workshops to learn the necessary skills for financial management, marketing, distribution, human resources, product development and retail tactics.
Those artists will be taught to design, teach and market workshops that will share their talents. They will be able to earn income through teaching, will provide the region with additional cultural education and increase tourism revenues by hosting visitors to the region who participate in their courses.
Timms said the project hopes to encourage not only local artists to participate in workshops, but also hopes to attract national and international arts professionals for inclusion in the workshops as well.
One example of such a workshop being planned is for a director of a Paris, France, opera to visit Rising Sun and offer a workshop on French Literature and opera for university professors.
Other possible workshops involve Broadway directors offering a lecture series and a seminar by an international harpist.
“We want to try to mesh the workshops with community events, such as a workshop on flat picking by two famous bluegrass musicians during a festival, or a workshop on quilting in correlation with a quilt celebration and community quilting bee,” said Timms.
Although the grant won’t support every idea, it does get things rolling she said.
There are numerous projects in the planning stages, including a possible summer art program for teens and an arts curriculum that involves local artisan residents working in conjunction with the local school system.

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