Redding's proposed Cultural District is outlined below in red (salmon-colored areas) and includes cultural and arts assets on the both sides of the Sacramento River and in Downtown Redding. 

Redding Cultural District Selected as Semi-Finalist in California's Pilot Cultural District Program

REDDING - Redding Cultural District has been selected as a semi-finalist for the California Cultural Districts program
The California Arts Council, tasked with setting up, reviewing and choosing the cultural districts, convened a panel last week in Sacramento to assess all submissions to the program. 

According to Caitlin Fitzwater, d irector of public affairs & i nterim program coordinator of the California Cultural Districts program, " It was a very competitive pool of applicants, and the panel's evaluation of Redding Cultural District resulted in semi-finalist status being granted to the district."
"We are very excited to advance to the next phase of the process," Debra Lucero, Executive Director of Shasta County Arts Council (SCAC), said. 

According to Lucero, SCAC is the lead agency in a six-partner team which includes VIVA Downtown, the City of Redding, Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Shasta Historic Society, and The McConnell Foundation. She said, however, many individuals and organizations contributed to the initial letter of interest - ranging from citizens to nonprofit organizations to business entities.

"We've been working on this concept and process for several months," Lucero said. "Josh Cuthbertson, an architectural designer with Trilogy designed the map, others contributed to the document and still others assisted with the cultural mapping project (still in process) and others helped with proposed bikeways, paths, and connections to downtown."

The first phase involved letters of participation, an overall historic, cultural and developmental assessment in the form of a 10-page letter of interest and supporting documents. 

Fitzwater said the next step in the application phase is the site visit. Redding Cultural District's assigned site visit date is June 1.
Site visits will be scheduled for an approximate 3-4 hour window and will be conducted by California Arts Council staff. All site visits will have two components: 1) Tour of the district  2) Stakeholder meeting.

"We  look forward to completing the application by June 23," Lucero said. 

While Lucero said there is no cost to the program and currently no funding in place by the state, the designation will assist Redding in branding its assets and putting it on the cultural map of California. 

"Tourism is an economic driver in our town and this designation will highlight Redding Cultural District in ways we currently can't possibly fund on our own. Simply having a major presence on the website will be a plus," Lucero said. 

"It is also a way for our local community to rally behind a concept that highlights some of the best of what our community has to offer and package it in a way that appeals to those traveling I-5."
22 Districts Advance to semi-finalist round

These districts will proceed to the semi-finalist round of the California Cultural Districts pilot program.
Site visits will take place between May 8 and June 2, 2017. Redding's visit will occur June 1.

Rural, Suburban and Urban Semi-Finalists in California

Balboa Park Cultural District - San Diego
Barrio Logan - San Diego
Benicia Historic Arsenal Cultural District - Benicia
Creamery District - Arcata
Downtown San Rafael Cultural District - San Rafael
Emeryville-Rotten City - Emeryville 
Eureka Arts and Culture District - Eureka
Grass Valley-Nevada City Cultural District - Grass Valley & Nevada City
Little Tokyo - Los Angeles
Oakland Black Cultural Arts and Business District - Oakland
Oceanside Cultural District - Oceanside
Redding Cultural District - Redding
San Francisco Chinatown Cultural District - San Francisco
San Pedro Cultural District - San Pedro
Santa Ana Cultural District - Santa Ana
SOMA Pilipinas (Filipino Cultural Heritage District of San Francisco) - San Francisco
Steinbeck Cultural District - Salinas
The BLVD Cultural District - Lancaster
The Calle 24 Latino Cultural District - San Francisco
Truckee Cultural District - Truckee
Visalia Arts District - Visalia
Weaverville Art & Heritage Cultural District - Weaverville
District Benefits

It is expected that the pilot cohort of certified cultural districts receive an array of benefits that will include the following:
  • Official state certification - each district will enter into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the CAC certifying state designation as a cultural district for a period of five years and granting the district the right to use the state cultural district brand in its marketing
  • Branding materials - including the state cultural district logo, as well signage and banner templates
  • Technical assistance - including at a minimum an annual convening session, as well as peer to peer and other group learning opportunities given available resources
  • Joint marketing support - leveraging resources from state tourism partners
  • A stipend - up to $5,000 per district per year, to be used to support participation in the developmental evaluation process that will lead to the refinement of the design of the cultural districts program
  • Participation in developmental evaluation - the pilot cohort will receive support from the consulting team conducting the developmental evaluation of the cultural districts program, including at a minimum one site visit per year
Our Vision & Partners

Redding has several well-developed, world-class segments of the district and connecting trails (existing and being built) but is in need of a stakeholder-branding-marketing and re-development movement to connect our world-class assets at the river to the downtown core where historical and cultural assets exist.

The McConnell Foundation, largely responsible for the construction of the world-famous Sundial Bridge and Turtle Bay Exploration Park, has turned its attention to Redding's Downtown. We believe a California Cultural District designation, along with Redding's new Downtown Specific Plan   and recently adopted  Downtown Transportation Plan  will spur the necessary interest and investment among stakeholders, elected officials, government, business and nonprofits. 

The designation will enable us to connect our arts, culture and historical assets under one umbrella to create a sustainable cultural district - one that encompasses the bend of the Sacramento River to Downtown Redding in a cohesive manner. 

Consultants for the new  Downtown Specific Plan have identified physical and experiential constraints to downtown development, i.e., " .... small sizing of parcels in Downtown (making) them difficult for development ... existence of large impermeable parking surfaces, lack of shading, and lack of wayfinding to destinations (impacting) pedestrian navigation of Downtown and ... not (encouraging) enjoyment of Downtown." The consultants are recommending in their preliminary document to " ... (enhance) the streetscape, cultural resources, offering more uses that make it a destination at night for people of all ages." 

Our timing to create a Redding Cultural District could not be better and a state designation would carry the necessary weight to attract a variety of partners. 

Shasta County Arts Council - an Arts & Culture Agency and Lead Partner - located in the district.  Shasta County Arts Council (SCAC) is a 36-year State/Local Partner to the California Arts Council. Our mission is to: Invigorate the Arts through Education, Support and Practice. Our activities are varied and cross many disciplines - from dance, music, theatre and live performance to film, literature, multimedia, and 2- and 3-dimensional visual arts. We serve as an incubator to projects that cross these disciplines and are a primary low-cost venue for recitals, lectures, movies, live performance, theater, classical music, classes and digital media arts activities. We are also very active with local high schools and middle schools in the visual arts category.

We collaborate with the City of Redding, to house SCAC in the city's 1907 Old City Hall on the National Register of Historic Places. SCAC administrated, hosted or organized nearly 300 classes, events, exhibits, and live performances in our space. Each year, we install and exhibit the work of regional artists on a rotating basis with 7 shows per year including the annual Juried High School & Middle School Art Competitions. Redding provides in-kind support (rent-free use of the 8,000-square-foot Old City Hall - ADA compliant - including a renovated ballroom, classroom, gallery, office space and TV studio - and maintenance, utilities and repair worth $120,500 annually). SCAC anchors northern downtown, which is in resurgence mode, providing a vibrant arts, culture and media center. 

SCAC is the lead organization in a 6-county arts and culture alliance known as the True North Arts & Culture Alliance - recently recognized as a Regional Network by the California Arts Council. This group consists of six arts councils: Butte, Modoc, Tehama, Shasta, Trinity & Siskiyou; and CSU, Chico, other venues and organizations throughout the region. It represents nearly 18,000 square miles (larger than 9 U.S. states yet has only 500,000 people). We envision the Redding Cultural District as a connector to our True North region. 

VIVA Downtown - a Main Street Organization - located in the district. Viva is a nonprofit organization dedicated to enhancing the cultural, social and economic development of Downtown Redding, California. Viva Downtown is an officially recognized National Main Street Organization and a member of the California Main Street Alliance. The Main Street Model relies on personal, group, business, and local government participation. Viva follows the recognized Main Street Four-Point Approach and has standing Design, Economic Vitality, Promotion and Organization Committees . Viva's volunteer Board has successfully advocated for civic improvements over the past 20 years. Viva hosts popular public events, encourages Downtown Redding as a consumer destination, and provides information to the general public. Viva is a founding member of the Downtown Collaborative. In 2015 and 2016, Viva worked closely with the City of Redding to develop and complete a Downtown Transportation Plan and to make major updates to the City of Redding Downtown Specific Plan .

Viva's Main Street structure provides 275 annual volunteer positions, along with professional groups and downtown businesses. Viva is dedicated to partnerships that encourage positive development and assists downtown collaborative groups to stage multiple events, share information, enhance economic activity, and make plans for an energetic Downtown Redding. 

City of Redding - Government Partner - not in the district. A comprehensive parking and transportation study was completed in 2016 and a complete revision of the Downtown Specific Plan is being conducted now by Placeworks , a Berkeley-based company that assists with jurisdictional planning. These two large-scale planning projects are setting the stage for a successful cultural district in Redding. The City is actively engaged in road dieting to promote pedestrian and bicycle right of ways; and involved in projects that promote live/work space in Downtown like the K2 Project w hich just received a $20 million state grant to create live/work space and affordable apartments and market condominiums in Downtown. 

The McConnell Foundation - Private Independent Foundation - not in the district. Formed in 1964 by Carl and Leah McConnell to share the benefits of their lifelong accomplishments. The Foundation began actively giving grants in 1988.  Prior to 1988 the McConnell's regularly gifted small amounts of their personal money to such groups as the Guide Dogs for the Blind and the YMCA.

In 1985, the year of Carl's death, the Foundation received an endowment of $1 million. For the next few years, Mrs. McConnell contributed several million dollars to the Foundation. The scope of giving was significantly increased in 1989 when Mrs. McConnell contributed her interest in a trust to the Foundation. The trust was valued at more than $40 million from the sale of Farmers Insurance stock.  In 1995, the Foundation was the primary beneficiary of Mrs. McConnell's estate upon her death, and its assets increased to around $250 million. Today, the Foundation's assets are approximately $400 million. Through the generosity of Carl and Leah McConnell, The McConnell Foundation is a philanthropic organization positioned to help build better communities today and for future generations.

Shasta Historical Society - a Historical/Heritage organization, located in the district. The Shasta Historical Society encourages and inspires the exploration of Shasta County history through programs, publications, collections, and research services. As an educational and research institution, the Shasta Historical Society communicates and preserves our shared local history. In an effort to help revitalize downtown, the Society has made the downtown area and the preservation and integration of historic structures a focus, initiating a project to thoroughly survey the downtown area and record information about the historic structures and structural elements. Few buildings from the significant periods of development in Redding's history remain. The loss of these physical buildings has resulted in a loss of historic context in Redding. The Society's work to identify and contextualize the buildings and elements in the downtown aligns well with a formal cultural district and the Society will be able to continue to promote the value of the history of the region and continue our work to become a hub for Northern California historical organizations.  

Turtle Bay Exploration Park - a fun, non-profit 300-acre gathering place featuring the Sundial Bridge, a museum, forestry & wildlife center, arboretum and botanical gardens, located in the district. At the gateway to the Sacramento River Trails, Turtle Bay celebrates far Northern California as part of the world we share. With a mission to inspire wonder, exploration, and appreciation, we envision Turtle Bay Exploration Park as a vibrant gathering place where our community is strengthened through education, cultural engagement and economic growth.