Quietly, behind-the-scenes, Arts-Partners is generating enthusiasm about establishing an arts district in downtown Peoria. We're encouraging members of the Heart of Peoria Commission to gain our city leaders' support in establishing an arts district because arts and creativity are essential to our community's cultural development. We especially believe an arts district would foster economic growth, which is imperative to Peoria's success. And certainly, because the City of Peoria has a long and rich history of cultural and artistic achievement, ArtsPartners believes Peoria needs to continue that tradition of serving and valuing the arts.
Woody Dumas, former mayor of Baton Rouge, once said, "The arts are the best insurance policy a city take on itself." So believes ArtsPartners.
That's why ArtsPartners is hoping that one day in the not-too-distant future:
- The city will officially designate an arts district, defined roughly west to east from Fulton Street to the river and north to south from roughly Hamilton Boulevard to State Street-or perhaps as far south as Edmund Street.
- Within this arts district, new construction or renovations designed to house art studios or businesses in the arts would be entitled to a sales tax rebate on all materials purchased and used for the project.
- Within this arts district, sales tax would be abated for any sales of artwork created and sold within the district.
- Within the arts district, consistent decorative street signage and lighting would be purchased that give the district identity.
- The master design for the decorative street signage and lighting in the arts district would be agreed upon by the owners of property within the arts district and approved by the Zoning Commission and the Peoria City Council.
More than any organization in our community, ArtsPartners is acutely aware that the arts are a multi-million-dollar industry locally. When the collective arts budgets are totaled, along with the number of people who are employed in the arts and the number of residents and tourists who attend arts events, performances, and exhibits, we know the arts are big business here. More than any other message we drive home, ArtsPartners believes that to establish an arts district downtown would make big business here even bigger. AA!