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Creative Silicon Valley

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Connie Martinez, the new CEO of Silicon Valley Creates (SVCreates) -- a merger of Arts Council Silicon Valley and 1stACT Silicon Valley, says that while the arts are highly valued, it is the large A--the elitist A-- that entrepreneurs living in the Valley reject. It simply doesn't fit with who they are or what they believe in.

On the other hand, she says, the small "a" is an essential part of the web, and as such, the spark of creativity that Martinez wants to insure is embedded in the culture of the community.

While the Arts Council and 1stAct were successful in many ways, SV Creates is a powerful new regional nonprofit whose "mission is to ignite investment and engagement in the arts and creativity," and as such it has embraced an aggressive agenda, specifically:

"Areas at the core of Silicon Valley's distinctive culture: participatory arts, cultural heritage, children's creativity, placemaking, and innovative ideas, partnerships, and art forms."

The creation of this place called "Silicon Valley" is legendary, as it has become well known for its magical prowess transforming the world. It is home to many of the world's most innovative technology corporations including HP, SGI, Advanced Micro Systems, Apple Inc., Cisco Systems, eBay, Face book, Google, Intel, Yahoo and thousands of small startups.

Its success in turning out products and services marrying art, design and technology is unparalleled. Yet, to insure the economic success of the region, the larger community needs to have the art and cultural infrastructure of a leading edge region. In this way, Silicon Valley is not just a place with more IPOs and tech-related inventions, but the creative hub of the world's new economy, a truly creative community.

A creative community is one, simply, that recognizes the vital role that art and culture play in enhancing economic development, and ultimately, redefining a community, one that exploits the vital links between art, culture and commerce. In the process, a creative community consciously invests in the human and financial resources to prepare its citizens-and importantly its young people-to meet the challenges of the rapidly evolving post-industrial, knowledge economy and society.

SVCreates truly understands that you cannot have creative communities without creative people, and you cannot have creative people without creative communities. Every effort therefore, as Martinez--who has been around the Valley long enough to know what works and what doesn't-- says: "Relevance trumps excellence." The menu they have developed will bring quality and relevant programs to thousands of kids today.

Not that transforming the school system is not important--and technology itself will help--but SVCreates will reach young people in Boys and Girls Clubs, through the YMCA, community centers, and museums everywhere, as well as working with the schools, to bring creative experiences to the kids that will make the difference between success and survival in the creative age.

Together with over 54 partners, SVCreates will touch the whole community.