May 13, 2014

18 Businesses Form Arts District—WILLI ARTS & EATS

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On Monday, The group plans to work with the emerging arts district in the streets of Willimantic and the expanding Eastern University Arts Program to produce an attraction which will draw many more people downtown. Marketing, cooperation, promotion, and planning will be the keys to success.

The group is a subcommittee of the Windham Theatre Guild and will be chaired by Victor Funderburk. Says Mr. Funderburk,”All over the nation towns are finding an economic way back by developing arts districts in their downtowns. The critical catalytic step is the actual creation of a defined arts district by artists who pull together with community organizations, government, foundations, and developers to promote and create an attractive arts district. Combined with recreational activities that surround Willimantic, the downtown becomes a place for a day of recreation, arts activities, museums, and diverse eating opportunities”.

The new members of the WAE discussed stories of the formalization of arts districts in Pawtucket, Rhode Island and the Wynwood District in Miami, Florida as examples of how to create a popular Arts District. Also discussed was rapid growth as there are many arts and eateries downtown who they hope will join the WAE effort.

The Windham Theatre Guild is part of the Placemaking effort that is being made by the State of Connecticut Department of Economic Development Office of the Arts as part of what has become a downtown movement across the nation.

Volunteers from the members of the organization and interested community members can serve on committees. Interested persons can contact the Windham Theatre Guild at 860-423-2245.

Says Funderburk, “As a town, we do not want to miss this opportunity for funding, support, and jobs as the wave of Placemaking sweeps across the nation.”