Texas Commission on the Arts Designates New Cultural Districts
The Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) has approved the designation of three new cultural districts. Cultural districts are special zones that harness the power of cultural resources to stimulate economic development and community revitalization. These districts can be focal points for generating business, attracting tourists, stimulating cultural development and fostering civic pride. The new cultural districts are the Downtown Beaumont Cultural Arts District, the Original Denton District, and the Arts! Longview Cultural District. This designation brings the total number of cultural districts in Texas to 43.
The Texas Commission on the Arts is the only body able to officially designate cultural districts on behalf of the State. Cultural districts are marketable tourism assets that highlight the distinct identity of a community and encourage in-state, out-of-state, and international visitors. Cultural district development helps a community boost its economy while realizing other cultural and civic benefits. The outcomes of cultural districts extend beyond the arts and benefit all members of a community. Official designation allows cultural districts and qualifying resident arts organizations to be eligible to apply for significant Cultural District Project funding through TCA.
The Downtown Beaumont Cultural Arts District is the site of many arts and cultural venues, including the Art Museum of Southeast Texas, the Music Studio, the Art Studio, the Julie Rogers Theatre, the Jefferson Theatre, the Downtown Event Centre, and the Civic Center. These venues are frequent hosts to exhibitions, concerts, and dance performances that attract large crowds. Events like the Neches River Festival, the Fourth of July, and the Art Museum of Southeast Texas’ Free Family Arts Day attract thousands and enhance the quality of life along the Gulf Coast.
The Original Denton District embraces and showcases Denton’s wealth of cultural assets for economic development and cultural tourism, as well as serving as an avenue for unified support for the arts and culture. The district is located in downtown Denton, where the community first began. The area encompasses the creative people, unique places, and authentic cultural resources that make Denton unusual and eccentric in the best way. Assets include over 300 artists living or working in the district, over 20 live music venues, Denton Community Theatre, museums, gallery spaces, and over 50 murals, sculptures, and other art works.
The Arts! Longview Cultural District is home to arts activities throughout the year, including the 903 Music Festival and events produced by the Longview Symphony, the East Texas Symphonic Band, the Gregg County Historical Museum, LeTourneau University’s Belcher Center, and the Longview Museum of Fine Arts. The Arts! Longview Cultural District is proud to be home to the All the Way Live Gospel Music Festival, Art Walk Longview, and the July Freedom Celebration. The district contains museums, parks, historical sites, restaurants, lodging and visitor amenities driven by two decades of revitalization and both public and private investment.
“We are pleased to highlight the wonderful work these districts are already doing to attract visitors to their communities, and to enhance the quality of life in our great state,” said Gary Gibbs, executive director of TCA. “Each approved cultural district provided extensive information on their qualifications, and was considered through a highly rigorous review process. We congratulate them on this achievement.” Each of the cultural districts is the first official cultural district in their city. For complete information on the Cultural Districts Designation Program, please visit http://www.arts.texas.gov/initiatives/cultural-districts/.
Each new cultural district will host an event in October, where TCA representatives will provide a proclamation marking the official designation. The Arts! Longview Cultural District will be designated on Thursday, October 10, as part of the ArtWalk Longview event. On Thursday, October 17, the Original Denton District’s designation will be held at the Patterson-Appleton Arts Center. The Downtown Beaumont Cultural Arts District will be designated on Saturday, October 26.
About the Texas Commission on the Arts
The mission of the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) is to advance our state economically and culturally by investing in a creative Texas. TCA supports a diverse and innovative arts community in Texas, throughout the nation and internationally by providing resources to enhance economic development, arts education, cultural tourism and artist sustainability initiatives. For more information on TCA and its programs, please visit www.arts.texas.gov.