The Redding community is working to put the city on California’s cultural map, in hopes that branding it as a “cultural district” could help attract tourism and boost economic development.
The concept was introduced last year by the California Arts Council, which aims to establish “cultural districts” across the state. These are areas that have a well-defined geographic area and a concentration of cultural resources and activities.
Thursday evening, two representatives from the California Arts Council, Jason Jong and Josy Miller, were at Old City Hall, where they talked with local government officials, business owners and artists, about why designating Redding as a “cultural district” held importance. Redding and Weaverville are both semifinalists of 22 other locations.
Valerie Ing Tompkins, the northern California program coordinator at Jefferson Public Radio, said she noticed that once the Cascade Theatre was
renovated, a number of restaurants, popped up around it, further boosting the city’s development.
“You can help us build on that and make this a more glorious place,” she said to Jong and Miller.
The Redding Cultural District map entails portions of downtown Redding’s attractions like the Shasta Historical Society and Cascade Theatre, and ties it into the Sacramento River Trail connecting to Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Sundial Bridge, the Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, and Lake Redding Park. In the works are perspective bike pathways.
Miller asked the crowd why Redding specifically should be granted a designation.
“There’s a lot of healing that needs to be done in this community, and the arts are, I think a way to do that,” replied Marc Dadigan, supervising
community education specialist at the Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency.
Dadigan spoke about an open mic night that the Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency and Shasta County Arts Council conduct, which gives people a platform to express themselves through music and poetry and raise awareness about mental health struggles, substance abuse disorders, and suicide.
“It’s a lot easier for people to express what’s going on in their life with the arts,” he said.
If Redding were to be designated as a California cultural district, Lucero said the city would be featured on VisitCalifornia.com, which could help the city with “major presence.”
“It’s going to give us a voice in Redding. We want people to come here,” Lucero said.
The Shasta County Arts Council has partnered with VIVA Downtown, the City of Redding, Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Shasta Historical Society and The McConnell Foundation.