Arts and cultural districts can be defined in zoning in the absence of state legislation and programs guiding their certification or designation. Incentives can also be offered to promote adaptive reuse of structures for cultural facilities within designated districts.
State, regional, and local cultural district programs are supported through a variety of tax incentives that may be implemented at the city, town, county, or state levels. This includes exemptions and credits offered to creative sole proprietors and creative industries operating within a district. Examples of the types of incentives offered to established cultural districts include:
- Sales tax credits or exemptions for goods produced or sold within the district.
- Property tax credits or exemptions for qualified renovations or construction.
- Income tax credits or exemptions for artists living and working within the district.
- Preservation tax credits for historic property renovations and rehabilitation.
- Amusement/Admission tax waivers for events within the District.
- Eligibility for special loan funds.
The city of Providence, Rhode Island has pioneered innovative tax incentives for arts districts. City staffers, artists, and private developers have also worked together to reclaim underutilized space for artist spaces. Artists living in the ten designated arts districts have the sales tax waived on purchases of their original artwork and pay no state income tax on income from their art. The City's planning department also provides below-market loans and technical assistance for the acquisition of spaces for artist studios and live/work space.
See theCultural Districts
page for information on the Massachusetts Cultural Districts Designation Program.