On Tuesday, Christiansburg held the first meeting for the new Art Council at the Ignite Academy in Downtown Christiansburg. The council was organized by Marty Gordon to help create an atmosphere for artists and those interested in various art forms.
About 20 members of the community, including Mayor Michael Barber, attended the meeting. One of the purposes of the meeting was to organize what the objectives and goals of the council will be.
After discussing ideas, it was decided that the council would focus on eight purposes: grow tourism in the area, promote arts in all forms, create a community of artistic discussion, increase involvement in the arts, advocate for public art, provides spaces for art and encourage arts to be involved in all areas of the arts.
“I think Christiansburg Art Council can go a long way in stimulating art involvement across the board,” Gordon said. “Also, [the council] will provide another way to revitalize a community that has seen a empty storefronts and a decrease in businesses in certain areas.”
One of the ideas from the group was to have landlords of the various empty storefronts become active in the council to create artistic spaces and businesses. Mayor Barber mentioned that he would like to see a sidewalk arts festival in the future to help draw in people from other places as well as bring more activity to Downtown Christiansburg.
The council discussed how Blacksburg currently has formed their arts district and what can be learned from that experience. Currently, Christiansburg is planning on having an arts district ready by the year 2022.
“Art is such a great way to get more people involved in the community, while maybe providing something else that could attract visitors to the area,” Gordon said. “It has been very successful in nearby Blacksburg and I think it can also be successful here.”
Blacksburg has slowly been becoming one of southwest Virginia’s premier arts and culture district. The arts community in the area has been steadily growing with the New River Heritage Coalition, the Blacksburg Partnership Collaboration for the Arts, and other various ways that create an artistic community.
Gordon and members of the new art council are hoping to start projects that will propel Christiansburg to the same status.
“Right now if you sit around a table, how many can say that Christiansburg is known for its arts?” Gordon asked the council. “This [council] will help us take the next step in the ladder. I think this will help what we have now and what is to come.”
The next meeting of the arts council is not yet determined, but will be posted on the town website at christiansburg.org.