“We are incredibly thankful and so excited for this designation. It is a game-changer for the City of Redding in terms of cultural tourism” Lucero said. “It literally puts us on a state platform in a very visible manner and brings our community together around a concept to improve our downtown.”
According to Caitlin Fitzwater, director of public affairs & interim program coordinator of the California Cultural Districts program, “It was a six-month long process that included 43 original applicants with 22 semi-finalists and 14 actual designated districts.
The California Arts Council was tasked with setting up, reviewing and choosing the cultural districts. “It was a very competitive pool of applicants,” Fitzwater said, adding the next applicant period will be in 2019. Each applicant will receive $5,000 annually to participate in the pilot two-year program although the designation lasts for five years.
The 14 districts recommended for state designation represent a broad diversity of California – geographically, culturally, and artistically – as set forth by the program goals and values.
Some statistics for the 14 recommended districts include: – 7 urban districts, 4 rural districts, and 3 suburban districts – 1 cultural production district, 4 cultural heritage districts, and 9 cultural production and consumption districts. Districts from the following state tourism regions:
According to Lucero, SCAC is the lead agency in a six-partner team which includes VIVA Downtown, the City of Redding, Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Shasta Historic Society, and The McConnell Foundation. She said, however, many individuals and organizations contributed to the initial letter of interest – ranging from citizens to nonprofit organizations to business entities.
“We’ve been working on this concept and process for several months,” Lucero said. “Josh Cuthbertson, an architectural designer with Trilogy designed the map, others contributed to the document and still others assisted with the cultural mapping project (still in process) and others helped with proposed bikeways, paths, and connections to downtown.”
The first phase involved letters of participation, an overall historic, cultural and developmental assessment in the form of a 10-page letter of interest and supporting documents. The next step in the application phase was the site visit on June 1 and finally, there was a final submission of map, fact sheet and brief district description.
While Lucero said there is no cost to the program and currently no funding in place by the state, the designation will assist Redding in branding its assets and putting it on the cultural map of California.
“Tourism is an economic driver in our town and this designation will highlight Redding Cultural District in ways we currently can’t possibly fund on our own. Simply having a major presence on the VisitCalifornia.com website will be a plus,” Lucero said.
“It is also a way for our local community to rally behind a concept that highlights some of the best of what our community has to offer and package it in a way that appeals to those traveling I-5.”
It is expected that the pilot cohort of certified cultural districts receive an array of benefits that will include the following:
Our Vision & Partners
Redding has several well-developed, world-class segments of the district and connecting trails (existing and being built) but is in need of a stakeholder-branding-marketing and re-development movement to connect our world-class assets at the river to the downtown core where historical and cultural assets exist.
The McConnell Foundation, largely responsible for the construction of the world-famous Sundial Bridge and Turtle Bay Exploration Park, has turned its attention to Redding’s Downtown. We believe a California Cultural District designation, along with Redding’s new Downtown Specific Plan and recently adopted Downtown Transportation Plan will spur the necessary interest and investment among stakeholders, elected officials, government, business, and nonprofits.
The designation will enable us to connect our arts, culture and historical assets under one umbrella to create a sustainable cultural district – one that encompasses the bend of the Sacramento River to Downtown Redding in a cohesive manner.
Consultants for the new Downtown Specific Plan have identified physical and experiential constraints to downtown development, i.e., ” …. small sizing of parcels in Downtown (making) them difficult for development … existence of large impermeable parking surfaces, lack of shading, and lack of wayfinding to destinations (impacting) pedestrian navigation of Downtown and … not (encouraging) enjoyment of Downtown.” The consultants are recommending in their preliminary document to ” … (enhance) the streetscape, cultural resources, offering more uses that make it a destination at night for people of all ages.”
Our timing to create a Redding Cultural District could not be better and a state designation would carry the necessary weight to attract a variety of partners.
Shasta County Arts Council– an Arts & Culture Agency and Lead Partner – located in the district. Shasta County Arts Council (SCAC) is a 36-year State/Local Partner to the California Arts Council. Our mission is to: Invigorate the Arts through Education, Support and Practice. Our activities are varied and cross many disciplines – from dance, music, theatre and live performance to film, literature, multimedia, and 2- and 3-dimensional visual arts. We serve as an incubator to projects that cross these disciplines and are a primary low-cost venue for recitals, lectures, movies, live performance, theater, classical music, classes and digital media arts activities. We are also very active with local high schools and middle schools in the visual arts category.
We collaborate with the City of Redding, to house SCAC in the city’s 1907 Old City Hall on the National Register of Historic Places. SCAC administrated, hosted or organized nearly 300 classes, events, exhibits, and live performances in our space. Each year, we install and exhibit the work of regional artists on a rotating basis with 7 shows per year including the annual Juried High School & Middle School Art Competitions. Redding provides in-kind support (rent-free use of the 8,000-square-foot Old City Hall – ADA compliant – including a renovated ballroom, classroom, gallery, office space and TV studio – and maintenance, utilities and repair worth $120,500 annually). SCAC anchors northern downtown, which is in resurgence mode, providing a vibrant arts, culture and media center.
SCAC is the lead organization in a 6-county arts and culture alliance known as the True North Arts & Culture Alliance – recently recognized as a Regional Network by the California Arts Council. This group consists of six arts councils: Butte, Modoc, Tehama, Shasta, Trinity & Siskiyou; and CSU, Chico, other venues and organizations throughout the region. It represents nearly 18,000 square miles (larger than 9 U.S. states yet has only 500,000 people). We envision the Redding Cultural District as a connector to our True North region.
VIVA Downtown– a Main Street Organization – located in the district. Viva is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the cultural, social and economic development of Downtown Redding, California. Viva Downtown is an officially recognized National Main Street Organization and a member of the California Main Street Alliance. The Main Street Model relies on personal, group, business, and local government participation. Viva follows the recognized Main Street Four-Point Approach and has standing Design, Economic Vitality, Promotion and Organization Committees.Viva’s volunteer Board has successfully advocated for civic improvements over the past 20 years. Viva hosts popular public events encourages Downtown Redding as a consumer destination and provides information to the general public. Viva is a founding member of the Downtown Collaborative. In 2015 and 2016, Viva worked closely with the City of Redding to develop and complete a Downtown Transportation Plan and to make major updates to the City of Redding Downtown Specific Plan.
Viva’s Main Street structure provides 275 annual volunteer positions, along with professional groups and downtown businesses. Viva is dedicated to partnerships that encourage positive development and assists downtown collaborative groups to stage multiple events, share information, enhance economic activity, and make plans for an energetic Downtown Redding.
City of Redding – Government Partner – not in the district. A comprehensive parking and transportation study was completed in 2016 and a complete revision of the Downtown Specific Plan is being conducted now by Placeworks, a Berkeley-based company that assists with jurisdictional planning. These two large-scale planning projects are setting the stage for a successful cultural district in Redding. The City is actively engaged in road dieting to promote pedestrian and bicycle right of ways; and involved in projects that promote live/work space in Downtown like the K2 Project which just received a $20 million state grant to create live/work space and affordable apartments and market condominiums in Downtown.
The McConnell Foundation– Private Independent Foundation – not in the district. Formed in 1964 by Carl and Leah McConnell to share the benefits of their lifelong accomplishments. The Foundation began actively giving grants in 1988. Prior to 1988 the McConnell’s regularly gifted small amounts of their personal money to such groups as the Guide Dogs for the Blind and the YMCA.
In 1985, the year of Carl’s death, the Foundation received an endowment of $1 million. For the next few years, Mrs. McConnell contributed several million dollars to the Foundation. The scope of giving was significantly increased in 1989 when Mrs. McConnell contributed her interest in a trust to the Foundation. The trust was valued at more than $40 million from the sale of Farmers Insurance stock. In 1995, the Foundation was the primary beneficiary of Mrs. McConnell’s estate upon her death, and its assets increased to around $250 million. Today, the Foundation’s assets are approximately $400 million. Through the generosity of Carl and Leah McConnell, The McConnell Foundation is a philanthropic organization positioned to help build better communities today and for future generations.
Shasta Historical Society – a Historical/Heritage organization, located in the district. The Shasta Historical Society encourages and inspires the exploration of Shasta County history through programs, publications, collections, and research services. As an educational and research institution, the Shasta Historical Society communicates and preserves our shared local history. In an effort to help revitalize downtown, the Society has made the downtown area and the preservation and integration of historic structures a focus, initiating a project to thoroughly survey the downtown area and record information about the historic structures and structural elements. Few buildings from the significant periods of development in Redding’s history remain. The loss of these physical buildings has resulted in a loss of historic context in Redding. The Society’s work to identify and contextualize the buildings and elements in the downtown aligns well with a formal cultural district and the Society will be able to continue to promote the value of the history of the region and continue our work to become a hub for Northern California historical organizations.
Turtle Bay Exploration Park –a fun, non-profit 300-acre gathering place featuring the Sundial Bridge, a museum, forestry & wildlife center, arboretum and botanical gardens, located in the district. At the gateway to the Sacramento River Trails, Turtle Bay celebrates far Northern California as part of the world we share. With a mission to inspire wonder, exploration, and appreciation, we envision Turtle Bay Exploration Park as a vibrant gathering place where our community is strengthened through education, cultural engagement and economic growth.