Escondido, CA

Arts Districts: Enriching Lives, Creating Jobs



Arts and cultural districts have spurred new businesses, attracted more tourism, and established vibrant, creative cultural economies across the nation. Now California will have the opportunity to celebrate our communities and the arts by clustering existing arts and cultural amenities in officially designated cultural districts.

As a result of Assembly Bill 189 (AB 189), new legislation I co-authored earlier this session, the California Arts Council will be encouraged to designate cultural districts throughout the state. These districts can have a major economic impact on their communities and on a state’s overall economy. For example, a 2014 report from Maryland indicated that the state’s 20 Arts and Entertainment Districts supported approximately 5,144 jobs and generated more than $458 million, along with $149.2 million in output and wages during fiscal year 2013.

As a city council member, I was a strong supporter of our redevelopment area and our vibrant historic downtown. The benefits of forming a cultural arts district include streamlined processing for infrastructure improvements, arts oriented development and zoning including artists lofts, galleries, etc. and the ability to apply for grants and other designations as a cultural entity. Studies have shown millions of dollars are generated through arts districts to communities by way of increased sales tax, expanded job growth through ancillary products and services that support the arts and tourism.

California’s Arts Council is now developing our first official statewide cultural program. Since every community is unique, the character of our state should be reflected in the cultural districts we establish. It is my hope that communities in North San Diego and Southwest Riverside Counties will take advantage of this opportunity to generate enthusiasm among arts organizations, civic leaders, public institutions, the business sector and citizens to enhance our region by establishing dynamic and economically viable cultural arts districts.

For more information please visit: https:// california-cultural-districts-whats-next

Together, by taking advantage of California’s unique cultural heritage, we can enrich our communities, enhance our lives and grow our local economies.

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

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