California Arts Council's site visit to the proposed Redding Cultural District

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.

“In California, culture is important,” said Debra Lucero, executive director of the Shasta County Arts Council. “This designation is important.”

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, 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.

Redding Cultural District Selected as Semi-Finalist in California's Pilot Cultural District Program

REDDING – Redding Cultural District has been selected as a semi-finalist for the California Cultural Districts program.

 The California Arts Council, tasked with setting up, reviewing and choosing the cultural districts, convened a panel last week in Sacramento to assess all submissions to the program.

According to Caitlin Fitzwater, director of public affairs & interim program coordinator of the California Cultural Districts program, ” It was a very competitive pool of applicants, and the panel’s evaluation of Redding Cultural District resulted in semi-finalist status being granted to the district.”

 “We are very excited to advance to the next phase of the process,” Debra Lucero, Executive Director of Shasta County Arts Council (SCAC), said.

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.

Fitzwater said the next step in the application phase is the site visit. Redding Cultural District’s assigned site visit date is June 1.

 Site visits will be scheduled for an approximate 3-4 hour window and will be conducted by California Arts Council staff. All site visits will have two components: 1) Tour of the district  2) Stakeholder meeting.

“We look forward to completing the application by June 23,” Lucero said.

 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 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.”

About Redding Cultural District

Click the button below to learn more about Redding Cultural District!

Coming soon!