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New Ways of Seeing

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This story appears in the November 2011 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Amy C. CosperIn some of this country's more economically blighted regions, something hopeful is happening. Graffiti-covered warehouses and abandoned buildings are giving way to artistic callings and architectural rebirth. Industrial and agricultural places not generally perceived as creative communities--places like Omaha and Chattanooga--are showing signs of cultural and economic revitalization.

Creative communities--those places and cultures that embrace and champion right-brained endeavors--have always been Meccas for successful people and businesses. San Francisco, Manhattan, Austin, Boulder--all of these are places where self-expression is not only welcome, but expected. The explosion of the "Keep [insert city name here] Weird" bumper stickers that decorate the collective bumpers (no doubt on the backs of thousands of Priuses) in these so-called creative communities is further proof that creativity is an important part of their identities. Even though the notion of "Keep Omaha Weird" stickers on the bumpers of that town's myriad Ford F-150s may seem otherworldly, the point is that interesting and creative things are happening in unexpected places. And all that momentum is having a positive impact on our economy.

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