Creating an Arts Destination: The Community Development Process in Waynesville, North Carolina

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Title: Creating an Arts Destination: The Community Development Process in Waynesville, North Carolina
Author: Marvill, Catherine Leigh
Advisors: Dr. Candace Goode Vick, Committee Member
Dr. Karla Henderson, Committee Chair
Dr. Gene Brothers, Committee Member
Abstract: Rural towns throughout America often embark on community development as a means of social and economic renewal. Many of these towns use tourism as a tool for community development. The purpose of this investigation was to understand how a community develops into an arts destination. With its Appalachian heritage and traditional mountain culture, tourism was a natural avenue for community leaders in Waynesville, North Carolina to initiate. The investigation included a case study methodology and relied on multiple sources of evidence including direct observations, personal and focus group interviews, and historical documents and records. Guided by grounded theory, seven critical elements of community development emerged from the data. The seven critical elements were: downtown revitalization, heritage incorporation, tourism development, public-private partnerships, collaborative leadership, community buy-in, and the value of arts. Citizen participation encompassed all elements and was critical to the success of Waynesville's community development. Community development in Waynesville resulted in both a stronger and more diverse economy and created a sense of cohesiveness and pride in its citizens. The results reinforced community development and tourism development literature and provided insight into the emerging research that introduces the role of art in tourism development. Findings from the study support the value of integrating culture and arts into community and tourism development initiatives. Through telling this story other rural communities and small towns can learn from Waynesville's holistic and citizen-based approach to community development.
Date: 2006-08-07
Degree: MS
Discipline: Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management

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