The 41/40 Arts & Cultural District emerges out of Terre Haute's cultural core at the Crossroads of America serving as both a geographic center and a cultural center. Radiating out from the center are museums, festivals, education, and creative professionals.
Creative jobs in the zip codes surrounding the 41/40 Arts and Cultural District in 2019. (Source)
Creative industry earnings in the zip codes surrounding the 41/40 Arts and Cultural District in 2019. (Source)
Cultural nonprofit revenues in the zip codes surrounding the in the zip codes surrounding the 41/40 Arts and Cultural District in 2019. (Source)
- Community Wellbeing
- Investment and Revitalization
- Local Pride and Connectedness
- Tourism Economic Impact
- Workforce Retention and Attraction
Early 2019 the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce and its board of directors committed to a community planning process. The process included researching and compiling existing plans, gathering over 1,000 survey responses and conducting community forums at various locations. Through this extensive research process, the community itself helped clarify the goals and priorities. While complex, these priorities are achievable with a collaborative approach. Six pillars were identified:
- quality of life,
- talent attraction and retention,
- economic development,
- and tourism.
Committees were formed to address these pillars. Leaders have been engaged to tackle sections of the community plan, the identified pillars, and integrated themes--keeping the process focused on the larger goals of halting population decline and reversing the trend of decreasing per capita personal income.
41|40 advisory members took action to be seated on several of these committees to ensure that arts and cultural had a voice as goals and objectives were formulated. To date five pillar task forces have representation from cultural district advisory members: quality of life, economic development, tourism, health & wellness, and talent attraction and retention.
41|40 advisory members believe that this engagement is vital to advancing our long term goals as a cultural district as each of the district's goals listed below match with goals/action steps within each pillar task force:
- Attract regional audiences of residents, visitors and business and encourage a vibrant mix of uses, spaces and activities.
- Protect and grow the arts and culture of the city.
- Celebrate and enhance the unique identity of the city.
- Promote creative endeavors as an economic engine for a thriving creative economy and its ability to attract and retain young professionals.
- Ensure that the district is an inclusive place for everyone.
- Nurture future cultural leaders, artists, volunteers and audiences.
In addition, we see 41|40's involvement with these community task forces line up with the Indiana Cultural District Program's short term outcomes, specifically, "More communities integrate the arts into community planning and Designees are thought leaders in cultural development." In the long term the Terre Haute Community Plan shares at least one common long term outcome with the Indiana Cultural District Program: "Increased community investment and revitalization."
For over 25 years, the Vigo County Historical Society had been looking at moving the Museum to a new location. It was in a Victorian mansion located in a residential neighborhood since 1958. In 2012, the opportunity arose to purchase a building downtown and its location on Wabash Avenue was ideal. Not only did it meet the needs of a new Museum, it gave the Society the chance to save a beautiful, old building and join other museums and galleries in what was becoming an arts and cultural area in downtown Terre Haute.
Fast forward to 2019 and the new Vigo County Historical Museum opened in what is now an official Arts & Cultural District in Indiana. We are so proud to be a part of the downtown revitalization effort. “The more the merrier” cannot be more true when describing what it takes to make such a significant change to the area. The once-thriving shopping district that dried up 50 years ago has risen to new heights as a place to go for museums, galleries, restaurants, nightlife, and hotels. As the keepers of our collective history, we are keenly aware of our past and we are extremely grateful to our community for supporting such a bright future.
Written by Todd Nation, Terre Haute City Council:
Our three year old son Theo has lived his whole life within walking distance of Terre Haute’s 41|40 Arts and Cultural District. In Theo’s young mind, downtown is where fun things happen. His mom Sarah and I talk often with Theo about what we did there last time we visited, and where we’ll go next.
At the top of Theo’s Favorites List is our Children’s Museum. The three story, ten year old facility is a regional destination for families, bringing them right to the heart of our downtown. As a fan of big machines, Theo loves the new "Under Construction" exhibit there. It has windows overlooking the two block long site of Terre Haute's new Convention Center, which is slated to open in 2021.
Our new Vigo County History Center at 929 Wabash is also a favorite of Theo's. Opened just last year in a former overall factory, the History Center has been a fantastic addition to our downtown. Some of Theo’s favorite exhibits include a ringing telephone that he rushes to answer, a real bobsled, and a replica to John Heinl’s tomb that we shine a flashlight into so we can see Heinl’s (stuffed) dog, Stiffy Green.
First Fridays downtown are special for Theo, Sarah and I. We walk to the our public library for programming that reflects that month’s First Friday theme. From there we head further up 7th street to the Swope Art Museum, which holds their exhibit openings on First Fridays. Interesting speakers, live music, art activities, snacks and seeing friends make these evenings at the Swope a hit with our family.
Other First Friday destinations include the gallery at Arts Illiana, headquarters of our Regional Arts Council. Arts Illiana stays open on First Fridays to welcome supporters and celebrate the great work for sale there. The last Crow Show at Arts Illiana made a big impression on our whole family. We watch our winter visitors fly over our home every evening during their annual visit, and we awaken each morning to their caws as they head back across the Wabash River in search of breakfast. Seeing the connection between art and his environment has heightened Theo’s awareness of both, which Sarah and I deeply appreciate.
Theo enjoys visiting these places regularly, and we also look forward to seasonal festivals, parades and other celebrations downtown. His life has been enriched by having such a wealth of community resources concentrated in our Arts and Cultural District, all within walking distance of our home.
Blues at the Crossroads started as an outdoor party for the Verve almost 20 years ago, and now has evolved into a Terre Haute tradition of a two-day music Festival. Connie Wrin opened the downtown night spot Verve in 1999 and hosted a “little party” outside in 2000—a little party with well over a thousand people in attendance. So the “party” grew into a “fest” and brings together some of the best blues musicians from around the country, attracting around 8,000 visitors to the two-day with two stages event. Past performers include: Lukas Nelson and Promise of the Real, The Leonard Washingtons, Reverend Payton's Big Damn Band, The Ragbirds, Mike Milligan and Steam Shovel, Blind Mississippi Morris, Guy Forsyth, David Mayfield Parade, and many more.
Held each year in the heart of downtown (Crossroads of America) Terre Haute, Blues at the Crossroads is a destination for blues-lovers. The two-day festival brings visitors from throughout Indiana, Illinois, and beyond, bringing tourism dollars to downtown hotels, eateries, and other businesses.
Additionally, Blues at the Crossroads became a not-for-profit in 2005 and since has been a blues fest with a heart. Proceeds from the festival have provided supplies to victims of Hurricane Katrina, monetary donations to the American Red Cross and the Terre Haute Boys and Girls Club. Collaborating with the ISU Community School of the Arts, the blues fest initiated the “Music is Key” program, providing new guitars and a year of free music lessons to at risk youth in the community. In 2019 Blues at the Crossroads and the Terre Haute YMCA partnered with a plan for the “Music is Key” program to offer youth music classes at the YMCA in 2020.
(Preface to this story: Daniel and Sarah Pigg are two young professionals in Terre Haute who opened The Sycamore Winery on land northwest of Terre Haute a few years ago. Downtown Terre Haute is beginning to see more diversity in age of business owners and with the addition of Daniel and Sarah's expansion to downtown the age diversity needle moves even further in a positive direction.)
The Sycamore Winery recently announced a major expansion with the 2020 opening of a second tasting room and event venue in the historic Ohio Building, downtown Terre Haute, in the heart of arts and cultural district. This significant investment in the community will add a custom tasting room, an additional event center, meeting rooms, private suites, overnight accommodations, and a rooftop patio.
On moving to the arts and cultural district, co-owner Daniel Pigg said, “For a growing company like ours, it’s important to locate in areas with a broad cultural offering that has the ability to draw an increasing number of tourists and visitors. The Ohio Building in downtown Terre Haute was a natural fit. We believe that we can play a pivotal role in revitalizing the downtown while opening a versatile space with uncommon accommodations at the historic Ohio Building. We intend to be an economic driver within the cultural district.
“We seized the opportunity to acquire a building with historical significance in a cultural district downtown. The downtown location will complement the cultural district and increase tourism in the area.”
The arts and cultural district and downtown community are excited to welcome this robust addition and investment to its revitalization movement. Not only will this add to the extensive list of the district's amenities, it will be a unique destination that well-complements existing anchor locations."