Monday afternoon the Southeast Texas Arts Council received permission from the Jefferson County Commissioner’s Court to apply for a designation for a “cultural arts district” from the Texas Commission on the Arts. SETAC’s Executive Director Sue Bard has been at the forefront of this venture.
“We had so many assets that it’s hard to ignore,” said Bard. “As I looked at what the state was looking for, in the type of downtown or cultural district, Beaumont has almost all of it.”
The proposed district will stretch from North St. down to Franklin Street, encompassing the area in-between Main Street and S MLK Jr. Parkway. The area is home to, two theaters, six museums, and several art galleries. It will also include all of Riverfront Park. Judge Jeff Branick says that while he doesn’t believe the Texas legislature will grant any money for the proposed district this year, the designation is important.
“I think we ought to place ourselves in the running for those grants,” said Judge Branick. “And place ourselves in the position, where we can attract tourists from outside the area that will bring business into are restaurants and hotels and museums.”
Greg Busceme, the Director at the Art Studio on Franklin Street, says that this designation is a long time coming.
“They have just been pressing this issue for a long time,” Busceme. “So this is a great opportunity to try and reap the reward that we’ve been doing in downtown over these years.”