HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) –The City of Huntsville is launching two new Arts & Entertainment Districts on Thursday, June 20 in downtown Huntsville.
The City is taking advantage of the State’s new open container legislation to develop cultural districts where street performers, block parties, concerts, live art demonstrations, art strolls, outdoor movies and more will occur in the Quigley and Meridian Arts & Entertainment Districts. This downtown entertainment will showcase the arts in Huntsville while supporting restaurants and bars as they participate in the new district by serving drinks “to-go.”
The districts will begin with a 90-day ‘soft rollout’ on Thursday and Friday evenings from 5 – 10 p.m. During that time, patrons may purchase a beverage at one of the participating bars and restaurants and stroll downtown to experience the entertainment.
“When we first looked at the Entertainment District legislation, we recognized it was basically an open container law, and we knew that wasn’t exactly what we wanted,” said Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle. “We assembled a stakeholder group of citizens, businesses, city employees and downtown interests and asked for their input. They decided the City should animate downtown with arts and cultural activities. Strolling with a beverage was just an extra plus.”
To set the stage for a successful cultural launch, Mayor Battle turned to The Arts Council for assistance in helping to develop programming for the Quigley District.
Allison Dillon-Jauken, Director of The Arts Council, said her group was pleased to help.
“The new arts programming is a natural fit with events already happening in downtown Huntsville during the summer months,” said Dillon-Jauken.
For example, the Sidewalk Arts Stroll will feature area artists once a month in Constitution Village on June 20, July 18 and August 15. The Historic Huntsville Foundation is bringing back the popular “Movies In the Park” series and asking patrons to cast their vote on their preference of films at www.historichuntsville.org. The Greene Street Market, hosted each Thursday on the corner of Eustis and Greene streets, welcomes the public to visit downtown and purchase fresh products from local farms, bakers, gardens and more.
When the district opens for the first time this Thursday, The Arts Council will kick off weekly Art2 programming with free, public performances around the square and in Big Spring East. Highlights of Art2 programming through July 5 include:
- Thursday, June 20th - Performances by saxophonist Reginald Jackson, the Rocket City Jugglers, street magician Dr. Osborn, ukulele singer/songwriter Wanda June, acoustic musician Scott Morgan, and the flute/guitar duo Toot & Twang on the square, and the Huntsville Drumline in Big Spring Park East.
- Friday, June 21st - Performances by Gavin Boost and Geoff & Bryan Acoustic Duo on the square; saxophonist Alex Banks, II, followed by Live By Satellite in concert in Big Spring Park East.
- Thursday, June 27th - ArtsAlive Block Party on Eustis Street off the square featuring The Arts Council’s 2013 Homegrown Talent Final Round and The 911 Reporters, performance on the square by the North Alabama Flute Choir, and live art demonstrations by the North Alabama Wood Crafters and Green Pea Press.
- Friday, June 28th - Performances by Winslow Davis and Audio Radiance on the square and additional programming in Big Spring Park East.
- Thursday, July 4th - No programming due to Independence Day.
- Friday, July 5th - Performances by Wanda June and Chris Wade on the square; Splitting Atoms concert in Big Spring Park East.
The Arts Council’s Art2 programming is made possible with support from Big Spring Partners, Committee of 100, The Downtown 47, Historic Huntsville Foundation, and the City of Huntsville and its Department of Parks & Recreation.
More information on the Arts & Entertainment Districts may be found on the City of Huntsville web site at www.huntsvilleal.gov/artsentertainmentdistrict/. There is a map of the districts, and answers to Most Frequently Asked Questions. Comments about the districts are welcome on www.imaginehuntsville.com/and by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.