Redding Creating a New Cultural District Boost Arts, Tourism, and Overall Economic Expansion

Travel spending in California had a direct impact on 1,064,000 jobs, with earnings of almost $41.3 billion. With so many cultural centers in the state, it’s easy to see why people flock to California. But Redding has only just started its journey to becoming a new cultural district within California.

The concept was initially brought up last year by the California Arts Council, which helps establish cultural districts all across the state. The Council defines these areas as having “a well-defined geographic area and a concentration of cultural resources and activities.”

The project has seen quite a bit of progress since its inception. Now, the Redding Cultural District map showcases multiple areas in downtown Redding, including attractions such as the Shasta Historical Society and Cascade Theatre. According to Valerie Ing-Tompkins, Northern California program coordinator at Jefferson Public Radio, the Cascade Theatre was a big part of the progress made on this project.

Ing-Tompkins told Record Searchlight that once the Cascade Theatre was renovated, a number of restaurants applied for business licenses and appeared around it, which helped increase the city’s economic development.

But the cultural district map doesn’t stop at the theatre. In addition, it points out the Sacramento River Trail connecting to Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Sundial Bridge, the Arboretum and Botanical Gardens, and Lake Redding Park. Bike paths through many of these areas are also in development.

While concerns have been voiced about the cost of living and the cost of many renovations around Redding, the vast majority of people are in support of the new project.

When asked why the city should be granted the title of cultural district, Marc Dadigan, supervising community education specialist at the Shasta County Health and Human Services Agency, spoke up.

“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,” he said.

Turns out economic development and the arts really can work hand in hand. The Shasta County Arts Council has partnered with several organizations, including the Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Shasta Historical Society, and The McConnell Foundation in order to make this happen.

The California Arts Council will declare the official cultural districts this summer, in July.