Leadership Conference

for Creating Arts and Cultural Districts in Virginia

Friday, May 15, 2009
9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m
Fredericksburg, Virginia

PRESS RELEASE: Virginia Conference for Creating Arts and Cultural Districts Will Inspire and Educate Community Leaders

For Immediate Release, April 1, 2009

Contact: Peggy J. Baggett
Executive Director
peggy.baggett@arts.virginia.gov
804/225-3132

Virginia Conference for Creating Arts and Cultural Districts Will Inspire and Educate Community Leaders

Richmond, VA – A statewide leadership conference for creating arts and cultural districts in communities across Virginia will be held on May 15, 2009 in Fredericksburg. The conference is hosted by The Arts & Cultural Council of the Rappahannock, and will take place at the newly renovated Catherine W. Jones McKann Center of the Fredericksburg Area Museum and Cultural Center.

Arts and cultural districts are special zones designed to generate businesses, attract tourists and foster civic pride by encouraging arts and cultural activities within the designated area. The conference will focus on how such zones are created and how an arts and cultural presence can serve as a catalyst for economic development and community building.

Conference attendees will learn about flourishing examples of such overlay programs and participate in a hands-on workshop to jumpstart a blueprint for establishing similar districts in their own region. Creation of arts and cultural districts has been aided by newly enacted state legislation, Virginia House Bill 1735, which empowers every community in Virginia to create an Arts and Cultural District.

Additional session speakers will share information about similar zoning programs, such as Virginia Main Street Programs, and Arts and Cultural District programs in other Virginia Communities. Presentations from the Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia Municipal League will round out examination of districts from multiple points of view. Attendees will also be given a “hands-on” toolkit containing specific information about how to begin the process.
The conference is co-sponsored by Virginia Commission for the Arts, Virginia Alliance of Local Arts Agencies, Virginia Main Street Program, Virginia Municipal League and Arts & Cultural Council of the Rappahannock.

The registration deadline is May 8, 2009. A printable registration form and brochure are available online at www.rapp-arts.org.

About The Virginia Commission for the Arts
The Virginia Commission for the Arts is the state agency that supports the arts through funding from the Virginia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Commission distributes grant awards to artists, arts and other not-for-profit organizations, educational institutions, educators and local governments, and provides technical assistance in arts management. For further information about the Commission and its programs, contact the Virginia Commission for the Arts at 804-225-3132; arts@arts.virginia.gov; http://www.arts.virginia.gov/

Virginia Alliance of Local Arts Agencies
The Virginia Alliance of Local Arts Agencies strengthens and develops local arts agencies throughout the Commonwealth by facilitating networking, communication tools, research and meetings. For more information contact the Virginia Alliance of Local Arts Agencies at 804-852-9151; tiffanyglass@gmail.com; http://www.valaa.blogspot.com/.

Virginia Main Street Program
Since 1985, the Virginia Main Street (VMS) program has been helping localities revitalize the economic vitality of downtown commercial districts using the National Main Street Center’s successful Main Street Approach™. Main Street is a comprehensive, incremental approach to revitalization built around a community’s unique heritage and attributes. For further information, contact the Virginia Main Street Program at 804-371-7030; mainstreet@dhcd.virginia.gov; http://www.dhcd.virginia.gov/.

Virginia Municipal League
The Virginia Municipal League is a statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan association of city, town and county governments established in 1905 to improve and assist local governments through legislative advocacy, research, education and other services. For further information, contact the Virginia Municipal League at 804-649-8471;
e-mail@vml.org; http://www.vml.org/.

Arts & Cultural Council of the Rappahannock
The Arts & Cultural Council of the Rappahannock serves the community of the George Washington Planning District (16) through support of the region’s arts and cultural organizations. The Arts Council helps those organizations build capacity and participate in the region’s cultural conversation; works with community and government entities to enhance educational, economic, and community-building activities; and engages the region in the cultural conversation of the state and the nation. For further information, contact the Arts & Cultural Council of the Rappahannock at 540-368-9080, by email at arts@rapp-arts.org, or on the web at http://www.rapp-arts.org/.