HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- The Arts Stroll is returning to Downtown Huntsville this summer! The popular event is moving to Constitution Hall Village with a few new perks in the mix.
Mayor Tommy Battle says his office sprang into action after hearing the Arts Stroll would not be returning to the Downtown Courthouse Square.
“We told the Arts Stroll organizers that we didn’t want to miss a season, so we worked out arrangements to relocate the event to Constitution Hall Village and to include the site in the new Arts & Entertainment District,” said Mayor Battle. “Once we added the Village, it made sense to add the Green Street Market to the district, too. Now patrons can stroll from the Square to the Market to Arts in the Village.”
Arts Stroll organizers Donna Castellano and Dianne Burch say they are excited about the new plan. They will host three summer events on June 20, July 18, and Aug. 15 for a select 60 artists. The City will close Gates Street between Franklin and Madison, allowing the artists to spread out from the Village into the street.”
“This arrangement allows us to remain a part of downtown and accommodate the growing needs of our artists,” said Castellano. “The location is close to the courthouse square and Greene Street Market. Patrons will be allowed to stroll with preferred beverages purchased at bars or restaurants as they visit venues within the district. We believe it will create a very convivial atmosphere to come downtown to “Sip, Stroll and Shop.”
To help promote the new Arts & Entertainment District, the Arts Council is developing cultural programming on the Downtown Square on Thursday and Friday evenings. Director Allison Dillon-Jauken is planning to debut the entertainment on June 20 to coincide with the first summer Arts Stroll.
“We have a wealth of visual and performing artists in our community and we will showcase their talents this summer as we partner with the City of Huntsville to further enliven our downtown with the launch of the Arts & Entertainment District,” said Dillon-Jauken. “We are developing programming that will allow downtown visitors to enjoy artists performing and working around the square, and visitors of all ages will also have the opportunity to showcase their own creative talents through interactive performances and arts activities.”
The revised proposal for Arts & Entertainment District will head to the Huntsville City Council for review and a vote in May. A public hearing last month prompted the City to expand the District’s boundaries to include Big Spring Park and to change the initial operating times to Thursdays and Fridays from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Once the Arts & Entertainment District is approved, it will be automatically reviewed by the City Council after 90 days to allow for modifications to the boundaries and times of operation.
“It is important to us that we get this right,” said Mayor Battle. “Unlike other cities, we already have a vibrant downtown with a heavy investment in residential properties, businesses and cultural amenities. The 90-day introductory period will give us a chance to make certain we have properly addressed the safety, noise, and environmental concerns. In the end we hope to have an Arts & Entertainment district that other cities will envy and all our citizens will enjoy.”