Woodlands brings persistence, new ideas to quest for arts district
The Woodlands Township Economic Development Committee may still have a plan to achieve an arts district designation in certain areas of The Woodlands.
The committee had initially weighed the merits of securing a state-recognized district, but has since dropped that pursuit citing an intensive application process and strict regulations. Those regulations require affordable housing and studio space in the selected area in order to have an official designation.
Instead, township officials are forging ahead internally to create and brand their own informal arts district.
John Powers, the township’s assistant general manager for community services, presented the economic committee with a map outlining an arts area that could include places such as the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, The Woodlands Waterway and the Glade Cultural Center in addition to other art installations, events and festivals.
With the map as a starting point, committee members and township directors Ann Snyder and Carol Stromatt talked at the Monday morning committee meeting about what it would look like to create a district.
“I feel strongly about the importance of the cultural arts in our community. I think it’s a draw for us not only as residents, but a draw for visitors and corporate (entities). It has such great potential,” Snyder said.
Nick Wolda, the president of The Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, helped discuss the prospects of branding the area with a special name and hiring a graphic designer to develop signage to establish the arts-designated area.
Elizabeth Eddins, assistant director at The Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, weighed in on the process.
“Once those things are in motion, you could go and pursue that state designation. The ball would start rolling and you find a lot more community support as you expand it and make it better,” Eddins said.
While the committee decided to hold off on selecting a name or definite area for the district, Snyder and Stromatt voted to present the concept to the board at the next Township meeting Thursday, Oct. 18. The third committee member, Township Director John McMullan, was absent from the meeting.
Pending the board’s approval and the appropriation of funding, the economic committee plans to reconvene for another meeting Monday, Oct. 22, to talk about the naming and branding of the possible district.
Snyder told the group that she hoped they develop something great.
“What has always been exciting about The Woodlands is that so many things we have done have not been the average or the norm; it’s been something different,” Snyder said.