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Celebration launches cultural district along Cottage Street in Easthampton

The state council on March 29 named the Easthampton street one of the state’s 16 cultural districts. These are compact, walkable areas full of cultural attractions such as galleries, shops and nightlife spots.

“This is fantastic to get to have a community event to launch the official designation,” City Planner Jessica Allan said Thursday. “I think it’s been pretty clear that there is a lot of cultural activity here, but hopefully with the designation people will not just think of it as a commuter route, but will get out of their cars and walk the district and experience the fabulous cultural offerings.”

The public event begins at 4 p.m. in front of KW Home and in the municipal parking lot across the street. Cultural Council Executive Director Anita Walker and Mayor Michael A. Tautznik will do the official ribbon-cutting.

Luthier’s Co-op will provide music, Christine’s Bean Sprout Juice Bar and Cafe will sell a special “Culture” yogurt smoothie and White Square Books will feature historical Easthampton maps. The event also coincides with the opening of the farmers market from 2 to 6 p.m. in the Municipal Building parking lot, featuring a balloon artist and face painting.

Allan said she hopes this cultural designation is the “first step” and the city will be able to secure the designation for other city streets, including Main and Union streets.

As part of the city’s mission to make Cottage Street and the rest of the downtown more of a cultural attraction, Easthampton City Arts Plus has put out a call to artists to design two sculptural bike racks to be placed on Cottage and Union streets.

Any state resident 18 or over can submit a original design for a permanent sculpture that people can secure their bicycles to. An ECA+ subcommittee will choose one design for each street based on aesthetics, functionality, originality, safety and durability. Each winning designer will receive a $2,500 honorarium.

For more information about the celebration or the call to artists, visit www.easthamptoncityarts.com.

Rebecca Everett can be reached at reverett@gazettenet.com.

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