State Senate OKs Wickford Art District Bill

Will the General Assembly allow Wickford to become a tax-free art district?

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.

seed and soil May 31, 2012 at 11:23 AM
Well done Senator Sheehan and Ehrhardt!! Nice to see support for locally owned and operated small businesses....the life blood of our nation.
tappedout June 13, 2012 at 11:12 PM
I am in agreement that this is a good idea and a long time coming to the forefront. The unfortunate part is that this idea was proposed by constituents of the honorable rep. at least 2 years ago and nothing was brought forward. In an election year it appears to be a nice vanilla issue that the rep can spin to his advantage, just like the EDC & finance committee spin. RI politics as usual, what's new?


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