Chadron Receives Creative District Certification, Awarded Grant


Chadron’s Open Frontier District was recently named a certified Nebraska Creative District and was awarded a $10,000 Nebraska Arts Council Certification Grant. The Nebraska Creative District Program utilizes the arts as an economic driver to support communities in Nebraska by telling their stories and elevating the value of the arts.

Morgan Fawver rides his bike through Chadron’s Art Alley, part of the newly certified Open Frontier Creative District. Photo courtesy of Brandon Davenport.

The Open Frontier Creative District showcases a historically rich and under-discovered area with additional untapped potential. A committee of representatives from the county, city college, the Chadron Arts Center and the Museum of the Fur Trade collaborated on the application for certification.

“The footprint of the newly-created district encompasses a combination of visual and performing arts, cultural and architectural significance, along with culinary arts and other creative businesses,” said Discover Northwest Nebraska Director Kerri Rempp. “The committee focused on the city’s ties to fur trading and homesteading pioneers and the area’s continued potential for growth in arts and culture activities during the application process.”

The district encompasses Chadron State College, War Memorial Park and the high school campus, frontage along Main Street, the entire Downtown Historical District, Art Alley, the Chadron Public Library and the Chadron Arts Center.

Map outlining the New Creative District

“There are already more arts and culture activities taking place within the footprint than many people likely realize. One of the goals of the committee is to highlight just how much Chadron has to offer in the arts and culture segment,” Rempp said.

A five-year strategic plan establishes a number of goals and potential activities, some of which are already in various stages of planning or completion. Among them is fostering the success of the Chadron Open Art cooperative gallery, encouraging innovation in the city’s annual events to include more arts offerings, increasing intergenerational engagement in the arts and improving indoor and outdoor spaces for the arts.

The $10,000 certification grant will be divided among three entities to make progress on those goals.

The recipients will be:
 $500 to Chadron Open Art to obtain non-profit status to further its efforts to promote local and regional
 $1,000 to Art Alley for overhead lighting to improve visibility and safety in the alley.
 $8,500 to Chadron Arts Center to assist with the cost of building repairs to protect the building from damage and allow performance groups, art shows, weddings and other events continued access to the space.

The official certification also allows the City of Chadron, as district administrator, to apply for
additional grant funding of up to $100,000.

“The committee will continue to meet throughout the year to determine progress toward and opportunities for our goals,” Rempp said.

In the meantime, check out the Open Frontier Creative district website at to learn about all there is to see and do. 

In 2020, the Nebraska State legislature passed a bill to create the Creative Districts program. The program works to promote and support economic development and placemaking opportunities in communities dedicated to growing their arts-related economic sectors. 

Nebraska Creative Districts must submit a letter of interest, an Eligibility Assessment, and a Strategic Plan as part of the approval process.  Goals can include attracting artists and creative enterprises, encouraging business and job development, establishing the district as a tourist destination, preserving and reusing historic buildings, and promoting the district’s cultural and historical heritage.  

For more information about the Creative District program, please visit the Nebraska Arts Council website at or call the office at 402-595-2122.