The Creative Economy and Rural Communities

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, April 6, 2023

By Wayne Andrews

The creative economy is a rapidly growing sector of the economy that includes a wide range of industries, such as arts, culture, design, entertainment, fashion, and media. The creative economy is often seen as being concentrated in urban areas, but it is also having a significant impact on rural communities.

There are a number of reasons why the creative economy is growing in rural communities. One reason is that rural communities are often home to a rich cultural heritage that can be leveraged to attract tourists and businesses. Another reason is that rural communities are often relatively affordable, which makes them attractive to creative professionals who are looking for a lower cost of living.

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The creative economy is having a number of positive impacts on rural communities. One impact is that it is creating jobs. The creative economy is a labor-intensive sector, and it is creating jobs in a variety of fields, such as arts and culture, design, and technology. Another impact is that it is attracting new residents. The creative economy is making rural communities more attractive to young people and families, which is helping to revitalize rural economies.

The creative economy is also having a positive impact on the quality of life in rural communities. The arts and culture sector is providing opportunities for residents to participate in creative activities, which can help to improve mental and physical health. The creative economy is also helping to build a sense of community and pride among residents.

There are numerous initiatives within Mississippi to build on our state’s creative voices. The Catalyzing Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CEED) Initiative works with UM students and faculty to build actionable partnerships with Mississippi communities. These partnerships will increase entrepreneurship and promote economic development in rural Mississippi communities. 

The Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation and University of Mississippi are working with Innovate Mississippi to launch a Co-Builders program. The idea behind the program is for regional groups to connect with startups providing mentoring and challenge pitches to nominate develop a local representative whose idea is launch ready in 3 months. The program includes funding at different stages to assist the business in building toward their launch.  Information about this program can be found at

For those seeking a place to start the Chamber and Yoknapatawpha Arts Council offer the Big Bad Business Series which is free monthly workshops on topics ranging from setting up an online store to pitching a business idea.  

The program offers seed funding through the Community Supported Artist programs which helps creative take steps to launch their ideas. You will see several of these projects in the Arts Council’s Double Decker booth highlighting the contributions artist, actors, makers, and culinary entrepreneurs add to the community. Information about these programs can be found at

Wayne Andrews is director of Yoknapatawpha Art Council. Write to him at