Scanning the States
Tennessee Arts Commission Hosts
Second Cultural Heritage Tourism Conference
Cultural Crossroads…Heritage Tourism and the Arts 2
More than 150 Tennessee professionals in the arts, tourism, hospitality and economic development gathered in October 2006 at a cultural tourism conference presented by the Tennessee Arts Commission, in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. Held at the International Storytelling Center in Historic Jonesborough, Tennessee, “Cultural Crossroads….Heritage Tourism & the Arts 2” explored ways in which the arts and cultural heritage can be used to attract visitors to Tennessee communities.
The two-day conference featured storytelling and music to illustrate cultural tourism concepts. In-depth sessions were offered on funding, model projects, partnerships, marketing, the Internet, cultural trails, agritourism, community assessments, strategic planning and African-American heritage tourism. The Commission also provided free professional consultations to attendees on their Web sites and marketing materials.
Jonesborough is home to the National Storytelling Festival, a 34-year-old festival held under colorful circus tents scattered throughout the historic town. The festival now attracts over 10,000 visitors, and Jonesborough is recognized worldwide as the birthplace of the revival of storytelling. “We viewed this as an opportunity to promote some of the many cultural treasures we have in this state, and what better place to spotlight our heritage than the historic town of Jonesborough,” said Rich Boyd, executive director of the Tennessee Arts Commission.
Minton Sparks, a wildly original spoken-word artist and master storyteller, was featured as the “Heritage Headliner” and performed at the opening plenary session. Sparks was a natural choice for the conference, according to Boyd. “She uses elements of storytelling, music, poetry, and drama, but what makes her a true original is her use of southern cultural elements and her edgy delivery on stage. She draws upon the characters and traditions of the South, as they serve as her inspiration for her sometimes off-beat and humorous stories,” said Boyd.
In addition, a free concert was presented to the conference attendees and the general public at the new Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Greeneville. Three traditional music acts performed for more than 500 people in the facility, built through a visionary public-private partnership. According to philanthropist Scott Niswonger, the center is “an obvious recruiting tool for economic development, while at the same time offering enrichment in the arts for the entire region.”
The key element in attracting tourists is the authenticity of cultural resources, and most people agree that Tennessee has the “real thing” to offer visitors. “Cultural Crossroads…Heritage Tourism and the Arts2” focused on how to best identify those resources and explored ways to effectively promote them to cultural tourists.
For more information on the conference, contact Leigh Green, Director of Community Arts Development for the Tennessee Arts Commission, at
(615) 532-9796 or email@example.com.
Washington State Unveils Nature Tourism Web Site
A new web site, A Community Guide to Nature Tourism, has been developed by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. The site is designed to help communities investigate, develop or manage, and market wildlife viewing sites (on public or private land). A five-step process assists communities in developing nature tourism sites in their community. The site also provides an overview of the benefits of nature tourism and demographics on visitors who are nature tourists.
The site is found at: http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/tourism/index.htm.
Free Podcast Tours Give Visitors an Insider’s
Look at Philadelphia
New Downloadable Audio Tours Offer A New Way
For Visitors To Explore The City
A new series of free, dynamically mapped and completely customizable sound-seeing tours of Philadelphia is available from www.soundaboutphilly.com.
An initiative of The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC), the SoundAboutPhilly tours concentrate on lesser-known city experiences and combine interesting tales, fun facts and lively music to tell the area’s story.
“Throughout its history, the Pew Trusts has taken leadership roles in developing ways to showcase and interpret America’s history,” said Don Kimelman, The Pew Charitable Trusts’ managing director for Information and Civic Initiatives. “Philadelphia’s neighborhoods abound with historical and cultural treasures. SoundAboutPhilly brings to life that rich history, as well as the city’s vibrant present, in a unique and engaging way for residents and visitors alike.”
Tour Topics and Tone:
Four of the first tours are: “History Unplugged,” 300 years of non-textbook American history; “Flavorhoods,” a look at dining in different ethnic neighborhoods; “My Philly,” recommendations straight from the mouths of local Philadelphians; and “Once Upon A Nation,” the undertold stories of Colonial Philadelphians. Each tour introduces listeners to the sounds, history and culture of Philadelphia. Even if they’re not in town, potential visitors can soak up Philly while walking the dog or driving to work. They’ll learn which Old City boutique hosts bridal showers, what not to say when ordering at a favorite Port Richmond pizza joint and which room in City Tavern was destroyed by a rowdy bunch of Founding Fathers.
The remaining tours, to be unveiled about once a month after the launch, will feature the African American experience in Philadelphia, the inside scoop on classic Philly spots and a look at the city’s religious history.
“The beauty of these tours is that they are flexible and customizable, enabling visitors and residents to let their interests drive their Philadelphia experience,” says Meryl Levitz, president and CEO, GPTMC. “People can listen to each 10-segment tour in its entirety, or pick certain sections from each of the podcasts to create their own Philadelphia adventure.”
SoundAboutPhilly’s dynamic mapping capabilities are another unique feature of the project. The Web site integrates the audio with Google Maps to help people customize a map to match their selected tour, print it out and take it with them as they explore the city.
Listeners can listen to any tour directly on soundaboutphilly.com, download a tour or specific segments to their iTunes or other audio players or sign up for an RSS feed to receive a new tour each time one is uploaded to the Web site. And, as Philadelphia becomes an increasingly wireless city, the audio tours will be accessible to anyone with a wireless Internet connection in Philadelphia.
New York State Heritage Area System to Celebrate
The year 2007 marks the 25th anniversary of the New York State Heritage Area Program. Originally established by New York State legislation in 1982 as the New York State Urban Cultural Park System, the program was renamed in 1994 as the NYS Heritage Area Program and expanded to include large regional heritage areas. Today the Heritage Area System includes nineteen heritage areas, encompassing over 425 municipalities in 27 counties. The program remains one of the oldest and largest heritage area programs in the country. Watch for an article in the next newsletter that describes more about the New York State Heritage Area Program.
The New York State Heritage Areas website:
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