just imagine it…

I don’t know about you, but ever since Reynolds School and Byfield School were closed nearly four years ago, driving down that stretch of High Street in Bristol has felt to me a little like driving through a patch of ghost town.  Seems a shame, given the beauty of the historic buildings on that block, with the Town Common just beyond – wouldn’t it be something to see the vibrancy restored to this part of downtown?

The Arts Room is delighted to share with you an invitation from the Roger Williams University Community Partnerships Center to a public workshop scheduled for Wednesday, February 8th at 6pm in the Reynolds School building, to develop “a shared vision for the arts in our community” with a specific focus on the potential for utilizing the vacant High Street school buildings to house a community arts corridor.  Our thanks to Arnold Robinson for forwarding us the details:

“During the fall of 2011 two groups of students from Roger Williams University worked with officials from the Town of Bristol to explore ways in which the Walley School (at the corner of High and State Streets) might be reused, with a focus on expanding the arts in Bristol and the East Bay. As part of that effort, there was a public workshop in early October at the Town Hall. The students completed their work in December, and the project Steering Committee is sorting through those results and working to identify potential new uses for Walley School, as well as the Reynolds and Byfield Schools.  At the same time we are recognizing that the arts are playing a large role in the cultural and economic life of our community. Within this context, decisions about these Town-owned buildings and coordination of arts development are vitally important to our future.

In order to plan for these buildings and identify elements of a shared vision for the arts in our community, there will be an open Vision and Planning meeting on Wednesday, February 8th at the Reynolds School building on High Street. All individuals and organizations interested and involved in arts creation, presentation, development and support are invited to attend, share information and express their opinions.

The schedule for the event will include:

·       Pizza, salad, beverages and dessert from 6pm ’til 6:30pm.

·       Sharing of information on Steering Committee and Roger Williams student work to date.

·       Brainstorming to formulate a broad, shared vision for the arts in Bristol (and East Bay as necessary), focusing on its role in the cultural, educational and economic life of the community.

·       Formulating conceptual ideas for enhancement, expansion and development of facilities for arts creation, presentation, development and support within Town-owned and other facilities.

This session would be open to the public, but we encourage all known stakeholders in the arts communities (performing, visual, arts education and other) to attend, if possible. The RI State Council for the Arts and Town and East Bay leaders are also being invited to participate. Please feel free to invite any individuals and groups who you think would be interested. The overall objective is to facilitate a session that concludes with a broad vision for the arts in Bristol, shared by the majority, into which a vibrant, refurbished Walley School might play a key role.”

We urge everyone with an interest in the arts in Bristol to attend this workshop.  This is your chance to speak up for your interests! The more people who attend and share their ideas, the more well-rounded the resulting “shared vision” can be.  If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Sue Contente at 254-3683.  If you have questions or comments, please contact Arnold Robinson, AICP, Director of the Community Partnerships Center at Roger Williams University, at 254-3307 or arobinson@rwu.edu.

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