Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law Assembly Bill 189, a measure empowering the California Arts Council to designate areas as Cultural Districts. The districts will be approved by the Council 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,” stated Assemblymember Richard Bloom, who sponsored the bill. “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 is a dynamic force in California, generating over 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 an exchange and sharing of resources, and entrepreneurial dialogue. Around 1.4 million jobs in California are directly and indirectly generated by creative industries. Creative communities throughout California would benefit greatly from official recognition as cultural districts. Almost three quarters of “leisure travel” in the United States is spent on arts and cultural experiences. Establishing cultural districts would 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.

Bloom chairs the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Natural Resources and Transportation. He represents California’s 50th Assembly District, which comprises the communities of Agoura Hills, Bel Air, Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Hollywood, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, Topanga, West Hollywood and West Los Angeles.

– Submitted by Meredith McNamee, Legislative Assistant & Communications Deputy for Representative Bloom.

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