The Rhode Island State Senate has passed legislation . In other communities, artists and galleries in these art districts are exempt from the state sales tax on goods and works produced and sold in the designated district.
The measure has the backing of locals who believe it will be a boon to the historic village. Senator James Sheehan (D- North Kingstown, Narragansett) introduced the legislation earlier this legislative season.
"Wickford thrives on the arts, and artists and artisans bring life and vibrancy and visitors to our community; visitors who may come looking for art but who find many other shops and stores that benefit from the influx of these consumers," said Sheehan. "Helping and supporting and promoting an active artistic community benefits the entire community, culturally and economically."
An identical bill has been introduced into the House by Rep. Laurence Ehrhardt (R- North Kingstown) and is currently before the House Committee on Finance.
The art district would include the historic village and areas along Route 102 (Ten Rod Road) as well as the Rodman Mill Pond area. Similar districts have been established in other communities such as Westerly, Providence, Pawtucket, Newport, Warwick and Warren.
Wickford Village is home to multiple galleries and artists, as well as the well-known Wickford Art Festival – which is set to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year.