Bristol arts commission one step forward to being established

Published on Tuesday, 23 January 2018 22:01
Written by Lorenzo Burgio


BRISTOL - A future city commission could soon support arts, culture and tourism.

The Task Force on Arts and Culture is creating a plan and making recommendations on how that commission can support arts, culture and tourism citywide, explained Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu.

The proposed commission has not yet been officially named, but will be a permanent city commission.

The task force has met twice and consists of about 30 people, who are mostly members of the public, explained City Councilor Greg Hahn, task force chair.

“The cross sections of people who have wanted to take part in the task force are amazing,” Hahn said. “We’re getting a lot of really good information. It’s going extremely well.”

The recommendations will include the commission’s goals and visions that the task force is now working to refine, Hahn said. To do so, task force members are identifying what Bristol does well regarding arts, culture and tourism, what it could improve on, and how the commission could help increase tourism, he added.

“We are also poised to have a new theater up and running in the next couple of years at the Memorial Boulevard, which will give the city a brand new venue to showcase local groups and attract other shows to improve our quality of life,” Zoppo-Sassu said.

There will not be a connection between the commission and the Memorial Boulevard Theater, Hahn explained, but it is one of the many art-related entities in the city that could support arts, culture and tourism.

“In the long run, we will want to take advantage of the theater that is going to be created, but we will not interrupt what the building committee is doing,” he said, citing many other art-related entities in the city.

The task force was created in November 2017 by Zoppo-Sassu and Hahn. The next task force meeting is on Jan. 25, where it will continue making recommendations.

The task force will need to present recommendations to the ordinance committee, Hahn said. He hopes to do that by mid-March.

“The ordinance committee would then create a commission that the [City Council] would vote yes or no on, and we would empanel a set of commissioners to do the work,” Zoppo-Sassu said. “It is my intention to attach the existing community promotions fund to this group to add some transparency and accountability to that line item.”

“From there, we could fund small grants to arts organizations, and showcase all levels of art, whether it’s visual arts, performing arts, museums or other special events and potentially get groups working together,” she added.

Lorenzo Burgio can be reached at 860-801-5088 or by email at

Posted in The Bristol Press, Arts, Bristol on Tuesday, 23 January 2018 22:01. Updated: Tuesday, 23 January 2018 22:03.