photo by: Nikkie Marie Smith http://fineartamerica.com
As of September 11, 2014, Downtown Bryan is officially recognized and listed as a Cultural District within the great state of Texas. What does this mean exactly? It means that a visit to Downtown Bryan will make you infinitely more cultured than your peers, of course! While that may be pushing the envelope a little bit, it is important to point out that the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) now recognizes Downtown Bryan as one of twenty-six designated Cultural Districts in Texas. Downtown Austin, the Dallas Arts District, Houston Theater District, and now historic Downtown Bryan!
This new-found title solidifies what many of the people who have experienced a weekend in DB already knew: Downtown Bryan is an amazing place. To be recognized as a Cultural District, a nominated zone must show itself to be a focal point for business and cultural development, with an emphasis placed on cultural assets such as museums, theaters, art galleries, and events that support and showcase the arts. You can check out the official article regarding the TCA’s decision here.
It is all too often that I hear cohorts of mine complaining about the lack of a “scene” in the Bryan/College Station area. To that, I say, “HA! YOU FOOL!” There is always, and I do mean always, something worth your attention to be found on the quaint streets of Bryan’s downtown district.
Art galleries, theaters, venues, museums, bars, coffee, pastries, live music/comedy/poetry, booze, delicately lit streets reminiscent of a 1950s noire film, dark alleys dotted in street art, ice cream, comfortable benches, convenient parking, wonderful people here and there and there and here, and, of course, the Grand Stafford Theater. If you’re struggling to find a scene in BCS, you just aren’t trying hard enough.
This weekend, the 27th and 28th, Downtown Bryan will play host to the 8th annual Texas Reds Steak & Grape Festival. Throughout the newly defined cultural district, there will be 50+ bands (local and regional) across six stages, shops and vendors, Texas wineries and craft beers, artists, craftspeople, and a high probability that you will experience something new — and never forget where you were when it happened!
Texas Reds is just one of the many festivities that frequents Downtown Bryan. If you still aren’t convinced that the DB is the place to be, let me enlighten you on a little event called First Friday, straight from downtownbryan.com (yeah, there’s a website):
“First Friday is a monthly event held on the first Friday of each month. The event is hosted and coordinated by the Downtown Bryan Association (DBA). It is a fantastic opportunity to come out and enjoy a variety of arts & culture related activities and demonstrations. First Friday is a free event open to the public.”
But it’s so much more than that! There’s artists, there’s street performers, there’s food trucks with delicacies that your palette will forever thank you for, there’s live music, there’s crazy people wearing crazy stuff, and you can attend for FREE.
In conclusion, it was an obvious decision on the part of the Texas Commission on the Arts to classify Historic Downtown Bryan as a legitimate Cultural District. I’ve barely scratched the surface of how many facets of cultural expression and support for the arts goes down on the streets around here. Don’t take my word for it though, come out and see for yourself.
Texas Reds Steak & Grape Festival Sept. 27th-28th: http://texasredsfestival.com
First Friday Oct. 3: http://www.downtownbryan.com/play/1stfriday/
By Dylan Huddleston
Be sure to check out and follow my weekly Spotify playlist “The Weekly Dyl.” 13 tracks a week for your listening pleasure: The Weekly Dyl 9/24/2014