Sabrina Pratt, SVPratt Creative Strategies – Las Cruces Arts and Cultural District Plan (New Mexico, USA)

MainStreet Recognition 2 12 20
The team receiving certificates in recognition of the Creative Tourism Network Award from New Mexico Mainstreet on February 12, 2020. Pictured are Sabrina Pratt and Irene Oliver-Lewis of SVPratt Creative Strategies; David Chavez, Chairman of the Las Cruces Arts and Cultural District Coordinating Council; Greg Smith, Executive Director of the Doña Ana Arts Council; and Daniel Gutierrez, Director of New Mexico Mainstreet.

Founded by the Creative Tourism Network®, the Creative Tourism Awards select every year the initiatives, companies, and destinations worldwide that are betting on creative tourism to create a virtuous circle around their authentic heritage, creativity, and human values.
Las Cruces Arts and Cultural District Plan (New-Mexico, USA), was rewarded among hundreds of proposals, as Best Strategy for Creative Tourism Development (ex-aequo), for the originality and the authenticity of their project.
We have met Sabrina Pratt, from SVPratt Creative Strategies, part of Las Cruces Arts and Cultural District Plan, to know further about their creative strategy!

The purpose of the Arts and Cultural District Plan is to create sustainability for Las Cruces’ downtown core and original townsite as a place to live, work, shop, and spend leisure time.

– How would you introduce your project? 

The Las Cruces Arts and Cultural District Plan creates an Arts and Cultural District (ACD) that establishes Las Cruces as a compelling focal point of the border region in southern New Mexico. The ACD brings New Mexico’s second largest city into prominence as fun and educational to visit repeatedly because it is a lively place with many things to see and do. This authentic cultural destination is located in southern New Mexico and has influences from the Mesilla Valley and the state of New Mexico, plus nearby West Texas and Mexico. The ACD features art, culture, heritage, and entertainment with a broad definition of culture that brings in science, sports, food, and drink. The purpose of the ACD Plan is to create sustainability for Las Cruces’ downtown core and original townsite as a place to live, work, shop, and spend leisure time.

– What does your creative tourism offer consist of? 

An Eco-system of Experiences Promoting a Day in the District

– How do you involve the local communities?

The plan was developed with a steering committee of business owners, local government representatives, and neighborhood residents. There were public meetings and interviews of stakeholders. The Action Plan at the center of the document identifies most if not all, possible partners for implementation, including those who are committed as leaders. The Eco-system of Experiences as an entry point to the ACD has the advantage of offering something new to do each time a visitor returns to the district. It connects visitors with the community and promotes introductions to the area businesses. It makes the visitors feel valued as the local culture is shared with them and they have the opportunity to get to know a local experience guide. Experiences have the potential to keep the visitor in the district for many hours, with opportunities to contribute to the creative economy. For the local community, this approach means that there are many opportunities for participation as part of the network of experience guides. The creative economy is built by keeping the visitors in the ACD area. The Eco-system of Experiences encourages them to walk from place to place, stopping in businesses as they go from one experience to the next.

– What makes your project unique?

The Eco-system of Experiences is part of a strategic plan to develop an arts and cultural district that will transform the original 1849 townsite that had been abandoned by businesses after 1967 urban renewal. When the plan has been fully implemented, visitors will get a sense of what makes the community unique through a strategy that will bring locals together with visitors in the historic downtown and the Mesquite Historic District.

– Which are your target markets?

The target market is the regional, national, or international traveler who is interested in knowing the authentic history and culture of Las Cruces and southern New Mexico. The regional market is Mexico, El Paso and other parts of west Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado.

– What is your definition of creative tourism? 

Creative tourism experiences have a hands-on aspect, give insights into and , and are designed and offered by or in collaboration with the creative community.

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