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The city of Eureka is full of art and culture. Now it’s in the running with about 40 other cities to become one of the state’s 10 newly designated cultural arts districts.
In 2015 Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation allowing the California Arts Council to designate areas as cultural districts, as an effort to maximize the state’s assets. The pilot program launched this year and Eureka city staff, Eureka Main Street and the community arts organization known as The Ink People all collaborated to develop a proposal.
Eureka is already a self-proclaimed cultural arts district, but Libby Maynard, Executive Director of the Ink People says, “This is an opportunity to be designated by the state, officially, and then we would be working with the state tourism agency in order to market and bring a lot of notoriety and people to our special district.”
California classifies cultural districts as well recognized and having a high concentration of cultural facilities, creative enterprises or arts venues serving as the main anchor of attraction. So Eureka feels confident it can rank with the best of the best. The city has giant murals everywhere you look, museums, historic buildings, artist galleries and studios, various art programs and Arts Alive, which are all used as a catalysts for economic development and revitalization. Plus the city recently adopted a five-year strategic arts plan to expand the arts even more.
Applications are being reviewed this week by the California Cultural Districts Panel and will be narrowed down to 20 semifinalists, which will then receive site visits to determine the final 10. The official state cultural districts will get marketing opportunities through Visit California, a stipend and technical assistance.
“And anytime something new and exciting gets recognized in Eureka that’s public and positive, it makes the community feel better too,” added Eureka Main Street’s executive director, Charlotte McDonald.