An element that is often missing from many destination branding efforts is the ongoing investment, innovation and product development to keep the brand fresh and distinctive. This week I came across the ImagiNative Alaska Experience, a project of the Alaska Native Heritage Center, which will consolidate the downtown Anchorage brand as a center of Native arts. The plan is to embed Native arts throughout the city by way of permanent and temporary interventions, including public art commissions, performances, art markets, small business training, a roving Native Art cart and cultural flash mobs.
Ed Bourgeois, Project Director, Alaska Native Heritage Center said, “By dispersing Native art, resources and cultural material throughout the city, a single vibrant hub is created that will serve artists and residents, attract visitors and help us achieve our mission of sharing, perpetuating and preserving the unique Alaska Native cultures, languages, traditions and values through celebration and education.”
I’m looking forward to watching the rollout of this program as the city prepares for its centennial celebrations in 2015. This is a case study involving indigenous culture and a city brand that may have implications for cultural tourism worldwide.