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“This was a risk and a long shot. We knew it was,” Rico said.

Updated: Jan 18, 2021

Trinidad had historically leaned on agriculture, mining or energy to drive its economy. As people followed the oil-and-gas jobs to Texas, city officials knew they needed to look to other revenue sources. Marijuana sales brought significant sales tax to the city because of its location near the New Mexico state line. It’s also a short drive from parts of Oklahoma, Texas and Kansas. But as more states legalize recreational use, Trinidad expects that income to decline.

The city looked to creative industries for a solution.

The push began with local artists, who saw the potential of becoming a certified creative district through the Colorado Creative Industries-run program. The designation carries a $10,000 matching grant, marketing assistance, data analysis, opportunities for collaboration and access to other funding programs. City officials embraced the idea. Trinidad earned emerging status in 2012, and then became a certified creative district in 2013.

“If you can create these small ecosystems that generate creative business, they create art, they generate vibrant downtowns,” Marshall said. “That can open the door to revitalize your downtown."

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