The Beet Street Blog

Tom Borrup talks about creative economy and rejuvenating communities!

with 3 comments

Listen to the podcast:

Welcome to the first podcast for this blog, featuring Tom Borrup, a leader and innovator in non-profit community and cultural work for over twenty-five years. Tom’s work explores the intersections between

culture, community building, and economic development  and he consults with foundations, nonprofits and public agencies across the U.S. in strategic planning and program evaluation. He has been especially involved with projects nurturing artists and other cultural assets in diverse urban communities, and has served on multiple boards for arts funding and leadership development. Over the course of his career, Tom has consulted with the Rockefeller, Ford, Wallace, and Andy Warhol Foundations, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. He received his B.A. in Liberal Arts from Goddard College, and continued there to receive his M.A. in Communications and Public Policy. Tom currently teaches for the Graduate Program in Arts Administration at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, and for the Institute for Arts Management at the University of Massachusetts.

When we talked with Tom, we asked him about his views on creative economy and its influence in contemporary times. He shared with us the ways in which the forces of globalization have forced communities to focus on and encourage their multicultural nature as a source of creative efforts and perspectives as well as a continual source of inspiration and learning. Our increasing knowledge of the world around us is forcing us as individuals and communities to revisit the ways in which we function and to think creatively as we adapt new ideas and new cultures into our lives. For Tom, this perspectival shift is becoming central to community survival.

Creativity is about being inquisitive and being open to new ideas as well as new ways those ideas can be put together. Artists are central to the sustenance of creativity as this is part of their natural way of working and being as individuals. Thriving communities are open and welcoming to new ideas and new people. Cultural celebrations bring people together and are a baseline ingredient for encouraging a true sense of community. Tom shares with us several examples from his work over the years as well as how different arts organizations and community initiatives encourage creative communities to thrive. We hope you will learn as much as we did about participating in community based arts from Tom and look forward to seeing you all at our own Finding Home celebrations over the month of April!

With thanks to frenchista and pbo31 for the images!

Kirsten Broadfoot

3 Responses to 'Tom Borrup talks about creative economy and rejuvenating communities!'

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  1. […] Check out Tom talking about creative economy and rejuvenating communities! […]

  2. Hi Tom,
    Do you accept public speaking engagements? I am a cultural worker in our municipal government planning a conference for next spring and just wondered if you would consider speaking at it. What would you charge? We are located in Barrie, Ontario, Canada – just 50 minutes north of Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. We would be interested in you speaking at our conference May 5th and 6th. Please advise if this is the type of thing that you do. Thanks so very much. Onalee Groves

    Onalee Groves

    2 Dec 09 at 1:05 pm

  3. Thanks for your interest in Tom! You can find more information at


    2 Dec 09 at 1:22 pm

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