By Betsy Dolan
For Rosenberg the second time was the charm.
The Texas Commission on the Arts designated the city’s downtown area as a Cultural Arts District last week in Austin. It was Rosenberg’s second attempt at the highly sought after distinction, having been passed over in their first attempt a year ago.
Twenty-two representatives from the city, the County and the Central Fort Bend Chamber made the trip to celebrate the official honor. Currently there are only 25 such designations in Texas.
“This designation formalizes what so many of us here in Rosenberg already know – that Historic Downtown Rosenberg is the heart of our community, and that it has become a magnet for business, culture, and tourism,” said Rosenberg Mayor Vincent Morales, Jr.
The ultimate goal is to transform downtown Rosenberg into a destination place for the arts. The Cultural Arts Designation means that downtown Rosenberg now has the credibility to grow their arts identity even more, said Rachelle Kanak, Historic Downtown Rosenberg Division with the Central Fort Bend Chamber.
“We want people seeing art as an option,” Kanak said. “Being a cultural arts district means access to grant money that allows us to bring in specific performers or to bring in an arts program that can benefit the entire community. We can now do things that would be hard if not impossible to do without the designation.”
The push to bring the arts to Rosenberg started about 7 years ago when a group of downtown merchants began working with the city to turn the historic downtown into a tourist destination. In 2011 Imperial Arts relocated to Rosenberg from Sugar Land, joining the CAST theater, and now offers art classes, an art gallery and a variety of options at the Imperial Theater.
Downtown Rosenberg now has three restaurants, a wine bar , specialty shops and there are rumors that a bakery is opening up with a trained chef from New York City.
“We get calls from people asking about available space, if we have empty buildings that they can move in to,” Kanak said. “As the arts community grows, the business community grows and it is a win-win for everyone.”
To celebrate the downtown area being named a cultural arts district, the downtown merchants are holding their first ever “Tour the Arts” festival Saturday, September 21 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event is free, open to the public and will offer a variety of art options including vendors, performers, painting and sculptors.