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Los Alamos to develop arts and cultural district designation

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By Carol A. Clark

SANTA FE - Los Alamos MainStreet led an effort early this year to apply for state recognition as an Arts and Cultural District. That effort has paid off.

Los Alamos, Albuquerque, Raton and Taos were selected by state officials to receive funding and assistance toward the special designation, which is likely to translate into increased tourism revenue for the local communities.

Rep. Jeannette Wallace, Assistant County Administrator Tony Mortillaro, LACDC Executive Director Kevin Holsapple, Hedy Dunn of the Historical Museum, MainStreet Director Jeremy Varela and Katy Korkos of the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce were  among the Los Alamos contingent.

County Councilor Robert Gibson spoke on behalf of the contingent at Friday’s official gathering at the La Fonda Hotel.

“Los Alamos is not famous for its fine and performing arts. It should be. The same creative energy and intensity that characterize our peoples’ technical pursuits also manifest themselves in many very interesting ways outside our think tanks,” Gibson said. “As a result, we are blessed with cultural resources far out of proportion to our size. They are recognized as major factors in our overall quality of life. Now our challenge is to get you to appreciate and share our technical creativity.”

Gibson thanked the state agencies involved in the program including the departments of cultural affairs, tourism and economic development, New Mexico Arts Commission and the New Mexico MainStreet organization for taking the initiative and working together on the program.

“We have high hopes that through this designation and the continuing assistance of these departments and programs, we will be able to achieve our local goals,” Gibson said.

Participating and endorsing organizations included in that effort are Los Alamos County, Los Alamos Arts Council, Los Alamos Historical Society, The Art Center at Fuller Lodge, Fuller Lodge/Historical Districts Advisory Board, Bradbury Science Museum and the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce.

Link to laccd.blogspot.com to view the program application, post comments and follow progress.

The four new communities join Las Vegas, N.M., and Silver City.

The program provides resources for communities to develop existing cultural and historic assets. It’s aimed at helping them attract cultural and heritage tourism and create self-sustaining artistic economies.

The designation covers a spectrum of creative assets, including architecture, painting, play-writing, photography, theater, sculpture, film and digital media, graphic arts and culinary arts.

Contact Carol A. Clark at lanews@lamonitor.com or (505) 662-4185 ext. 25. Read her newsblog at www.newsextras.wordpress.com.