Saturday July 21 12:05 am

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Arts Commission seeks applicants for Cultural District designation

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Communities interested in applying for consideration must first submit an online letter of intent to apply, submitted through the IAC's online system no later than 4:30 p.m. (EDT) July 11, 2018. The deadline to submit a full application for the program is 4:30 p.m. (EDT) September 5, 2018.

"Program guidelines will be posted to the Arts Commission website in mid-June, giving communities and organizations interested in applying for the program nearly a month to submit their letter of intent," said Anna Tragesser, IAC Artist and Community Service Manager and Cultural District program manager. "We encourage interested applicants to think strategically about how to integrate the arts and cultural development into their community planning."

A cultural district is a well-recognized, labeled, mixed-use area of a community in which a high concentration of cultural assets serve as the anchor. A cultural district should enhance a community's quality of place with the potential to help attract residents, new business development, and tourism opportunities.

"Being a designated Statewide Cultural District gives us a statewide platform to share the importance of our local arts and culture as a key component for local economic development, tourism, and quality of life," said Kim Nyberg, Executive Director of the Madison Area Arts Alliance. "We knew we had a thriving Arts and Cultural District, and being recognized and designated an official Indiana Cultural District validated that belief and allowed us to develop our marketing and promotion of the District, attracting more residents, artists, and visitors who appreciate and support our local arts scene."

The Indiana Statewide Cultural District program promotes the exploration of and participation in the arts and humanities through cultural experiences that are unique to a specific community. The program helps support and encourage community quality of life and economic vitality, but also encourages exploration and formation of new partnerships beyond the arts community.

"The Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson County has been a major partner since the early District conversations began, providing support and leadership as we began building and leveraging partnerships with the creative community and organizations," Nyberg added.

Benefits of a Statewide Cultural District designation include increased tourism marketing opportunities and economic development activities that come with being part of a branded program with statewide emphasis. Acceptance into the program signifies an ongoing commitment to the development and sustainability of the cultural district.

In 2010, the Indiana Arts Commission approved designation of the first three Statewide Cultural Districts in Bloomington, Carmel, and Lafayette / West Lafayette. Since then the communities of Columbus, Madison, Nashville, and Noblesville, Indiana have joined the program.

For more information about the Statewide Cultural District program, contact Anna Tragesser at 317-232-1281 or email atragesser@iac.in.gov.

The Indiana Arts Commission is dedicated to the vision of the arts everywhere, every day, for everyone in Indiana.