LT. GOVERNOR BYSIEWICZ & THE CONNECTICUT OFFICE OF THE ARTS DESIGNATE BRISTOL AS A “CULTURAL DISTRICT”
(BRISTOL, CT) – Today, Lt. Governor Bysiewicz and the Department of Economic and Community Development’s Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA) announced it has approved Bristol’s application to create a Cultural District in town.
Cultural Districts are walkable areas of a city or town that feature numerous cultural facilities, activities and/or assets. These vibrant areas draw visitors from other towns and states and serve as a hub for residents to congregate and interact. Cultural districts:
● Promote and encourage artists, entrepreneurs, and creative businesses
● Promote tourism and increase visitation
● Improve the quality of life for residents
● Strengthen distinctive character of communities
● Drive economic growth and expand the tax base
● Highlight local culture and history
A requirement of the program is the city or town must establish a Cultural District Commission that manages all aspects of the district.
“The City of Bristol is full of deep history, filled with incredible museums, public parks, amazing outlets for artists to produce and create, and great cafes and restaurants to sit down and eat some great food,” said Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz. “Residents of Bristol and the larger Connecticut community, and beyond, can come gather here in this area to learn together, to create together and to grow together.”
“Bristol’s Cultural District is unique in that a visitor travels through a varied landscape from quaint historic homes, under a railroad underpass brought to life by a beautiful mural, through a bustling business district and down Bristol’s unique Memorial Drive. You can visit a clock or carousel museum, taste some amazing hand-crafted small-batch beer, have a picnic in one of many parks, and grab an empanada, ice cream or burger. My advice, don’t underestimate the amazing cultural resources that Bristol has to offer! The Office of the Arts and the Department of Economic and Community Development is proud to welcome them as a State Cultural District,” said Liz Shapiro, DECD’s Director of Arts, Preservation and Museums.
Bristol Mayor Jeffrey Caggiano stated, “We are very pleased to receive one of the first designations. Bristol is undergoing dramatic downtown revitalization and we are proud that we have a good story to tell with our historical, arts and cultural presence. We do feel this will create an economic boost downtown and accelerate the great progress we are seeing in and around this district. Many thanks to our staff and our Arts and Culture Commission for making the case to the state and for spearheading this project.”
The Bristol Cultural District provides entertainment for the entire family, from beautiful city parks to museums, public art displays and delicious local eateries. District parks include the Veterans Memorial Boulevard which features over a dozen historic monuments and tributes, Federal Hill Green, and Brackett Park. The Historical Society, Bristol Public Library, and the newly open Bristol Arts and Innovation Magnet School, which hosts the Rockwell Community Theater, are also located within the district.
The district features several museums, including the American Clock and Watch Museum, Memorial Military Museum, Imagine Nation Museum, Museum of Fire History and the New England Carousel Museum. Vibrant art displays are also prominent in the cultural district including a newly unveiled Martin Luther King Jr. Mural on Riverside Avenue, traffic box art, PanAm Bridge Mural, and the Main Street Mural. In addition, the cultural district is host of many family-friendly community events such as the Farmer’s Market, Mum Festival and Parade, and Veterans celebrations throughout the year as well as popular small businesses and eateries like T-Salon Café, Bristol Music Center, and Main Street Pint & Plate.
Chair of the City’s Arts and Culture Commission Walter Lewandoski believes, “Earning this designation speaks volumes as to the direction in which Bristol is moving. Our increasingly diverse and sophisticated population is craving a wider selection of artistic and culturally specific experiences. The Cultural District will now help fill that void and serve as a springboard to advance our commission mindset that an increased Arts and Culture presence is needed, is wanted and will enhance the creative quality of life in Bristol.”
For Immediate Release: Wednesday, September 28th, 2022
Contact: Chelsea Neelon