Zionsville to become a “Cultural District”?


In the upcoming February 4 Town Council meeting, a group of Zionsville local citizens with diverse experience from the arts, library, school, small business, and government will present a resolution to have downtown Zionsville be recognized as an official “Cultural District”.

The group’s goal in seeking this new designation is to “Promote Zionsville’s diverse art, culture, history, and community assets to residents, visitors, and potential employers in order to enhance interest in Zionsville, increase tourism, and stimulate economic development,” according to its resolution.

Sullivan Munce Cultural Center Executive Director and Co-President of the Zionsville Cultural District Board, Cynthia Young, is excited about the project.

“We are hoping to get the town council’s blessing so we can then submit a proposal to the Indiana Arts Commission during their next round of applications,” Young said.

If approved by the Town Council, the application would be submitted to the state and, hopefully, be accepted within the next two years.

The group formed last August when discussions began with the Indiana Arts Commission about establishing the downtown business area, and a few satellite locations around town, as a “Cultural District”. Since that time, the group has been working with the Sara Peterson Consulting group from Bloomington to move the project forward. The new Welcome Center, made possible from a $6,000 re-appropriation from the Food & Beverage fund, is one visible deliverable of this team of individuals working together to help promote their town.

“It’s been great to see individuals in town coming together. There have been so many pop up groups through the years. It’s not as strong as when people come together,” Young said.

Other ideas include a marketing plan to educate and build excitement for the town, working with tour planners to increase tourism in the area, and an opportunity to apply for highway signage. One specific way this group hopes to impact Zionsville is by revamping the Lincoln Park concert series, possibly adding a kid’s concert. Also, partnering with local oganizations, such as Zionsville Community Schools, is another idea to engage and educate locals and visitors.

The Winter Guard competition this Saturday at Zionville High School is one example where visitors from over 60 schools might also be interested in exploring downtown. The cultural district board could provide information at this event to help educate out of town guests during their stay and provide tours. Other local events that would likely involve the cultural district board are Fashion Week in February and Youth Art Month in March.

According to Julie Cole, Executive Director of the Zionsville Chamber of Commerce, “Any meaningful effort that brings positive attention to Zionsville should be supported. Once Zionsville receives the designation from the Indiana Arts Commission our community will benefit from the technical resources, increased tourism marketing and programming assistance that accompany this recognition.”


Zionsville Cultural District Board

Cynthia Young – co-president

Carol Marquiss – co-president

Gayle Cox

Sarah Zack

Marianne Doyle

Kathy Scales-Brown

Ann Pagano

Candace Ulmer

Steve Mundy

Lynn Manning

Nikki Blaine




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