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Gov. Jerry Brown last week signed into law Assembly Bill 189, a measure empowering the California Arts Council to designate areas as “Cultural Districts.”
The council will approve the districts through a competitive application process. The council will be required to provide technical and promotional support to the districts, as well as collaborate with public agencies and private entities to maximize the benefits to the local and state economy.
“Whether it be the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, the Tower District of Fresno, or the artistic enclaves of the North Coast, California is internationally recognized for its abundance of creative and cultural businesses, organizations and events,” Assemblyman Richard Bloom said. “Designating areas with vibrant creative communities as Cultural Districts will not only celebrate California’s diverse cultural landscape, but will also help to draw economic development and tourism to local economies.”
The creative economy in California generates more than 7 percent of the state’s economic activity. Studies have shown that creative economy jobs and commerce tend to cluster into particular regions.
Businesses within these creative clusters benefit from exchanging and sharing resources, and entrepreneurial dialogue. Approximately 1.4 million jobs in California are directly and indirectly generated by creative industries.
Almost three quarters of “leisure travel” in the United States is spent on arts and cultural experiences. Establishing cultural districts will help local economies attract this sector of the tourism industry.
Arts and cultural districts in other states have spurred new business, increased community interaction, attracted more tourism, and increased government revenue based on the economic growth.
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