October’s First Friday brought record crowds to Downtown Bryan as community members, downtown supporters and members of local government came out to celebrate the official designation announcement of the Downtown Bryan Cultural District. Texas Commission on the Arts Executive Director Dr. Gary Gibbs presented the resolution to Council Member Ann Horton, Downtown Bryan Association Executive Director Sandy Farris and a gathering of community members at SEAD Gallery at the start of First Friday festivities. The award and announcement are the culmination of a 6-month-long application and evaluation process through Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA), the state agency that administers the cultural district designation program.
TCA characterizes cultural districts as “special zones that harness the power of cultural resources to stimulate economic development and community revitalization.” The Downtown Bryan Association, lead organization on the proposal, submitted the application in June in partnership with the Arts Council of Brazos Valley. Support for the project was widespread, with a variety of individuals, organizations, businesses and government entities contributing letters, signatures, and expertise as well as helping to spread the word about designation efforts.
Downtown Bryan is now one of 26 recognized cultural districts in the state of Texas. Moving forward, the designation means increased exposure, added opportunities to promote tourism and economic development and the opportunity to participate in selected program funding opportunities through TCA. Additionally, community members can expect to enjoy the continued growth of Downtown arts and culture events and programming as well as the incorporation of even more activities that showcase the unique history and heritage of Bryan, Texas.