Letter: Don't Discriminate – Create a Wickford Art District

One local gallery owner urges the General Assembly to create a Wickford Art District.

To the RI General Assembly:

Don't discriminate! It's only fair to create a Wickford Art District, too!
Wickford is known for its art community, as it is home to one of the oldest art festivals in the country that is recognized internationally. Why then has it been prevented from the same benefits provided to nine other RI communities that have designated tax-exempt art districts? (Providence, Pawtucket, Westerly, Woonsocket, Tiverton, Little Compton, Newport, Warwick and Warren.)

The RI General Assembly declared these areas would "promote economic development, revitalization, tourism, employment opportunities, and encourage business development by providing alternative commercial enterprises.” [RIGL §44-18-30B(6)]. In short, the legislature was giving each of these communities the tools and incentive to develop a portion of its community by helping artists to live, work and contribute to community life, and for art galleries and exhibition spaces to help contribute to the economy of the state and local community."  

On to establish a Wickford Art District and an identical bill (2012-H8202) introduced by Rep. Laurence Ehrhardt is now before the House Committee on Finance. As the General Assembly winds down its session, I would like to make a plea to please pass RI (2012-H8202) and designate a Wickford Art District too.

It's only fair!


Ellen Waxman,

Five Main Gallery

Wickford, RI

6/8/12 Concerning Making Wickford and other art communities tax free zones: To the RI Law-makers, It seems like the government is squeezing the life out of artists and demoting the arts in general. They are taking funding away from the visual and performing arts around our country in our schools, leaving fewer and fewer oasis’ in the desert they are creating. And then on top of it all they want to tax us in every way possible. When the wetlands dry up all the beautiful and exotic birds fly away to find a new home. All the beasts of the field have to move on to green pastures just to survive. In many ways artists are like these creatures, taking only what they need to survive and thrive and living off the plenteousness of the land they dwell in. When their resources are too difficult to come by and it’s hard enough to survive and it looks like the future shows no possibility of thriving, how then can we hope to keep them with us?? I say to those who hold the power in their hands to either water us or drain our water supply to have some common sense and make our artist communities tax free zones. Don’t take for granted the role that art plays in bringing healing and joy and meaning into our daily lives. Earnestly asking for your vote! Sarah Tallarico Gallery Director & Artist The Wickford Art Association


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