The designation, which is granted by the Texas Commission on the Arts to urban zones harnessing cultural resources to help generate businesses, attract tourists and foster civic pride, will help the city market and promote downtown events and aid in increasing the area’s property values, said Sandy Farris, executive director of the Downtown Bryan Association.
One of downtown’s cultural venues, the SEAD Gallery, was established by IAC community fellows Cassidy Barton, Jose Quintana and other executive staff members at Advent GX, a company that helps communities develop tourism and economic development strategies.
“Barton and Quintana’s work with the gallery, which is building a creative learning community in Bryan, greatly contributed to the application’s success,” said Carol LaFayette, director of the IAC.
The gallery, located in Bryan’s Federal Building, hosts exhibits, workshops and summer youth camps featuring work and activities that exist at the intersection of art, science, engineering and design.
The merging of art and science in education is a primary focus of the IAC. LaFayette is leading the nationwide STEM-to-STEAM movement to add the arts, the “A” to science, technology, engineering and math, “STEM,” education.
Bryan’s successful bid was also helped by a letter advocating the TCA designation signed by IAC faculty fellows, composed of an interdisciplinary group of faculty from the College of Architecture, as well as federal, state and local officeholders, leaders of arts organizations and local businesses.