The Texas Commission on the Arts
(TCA) has approved the designation of the Arlington Cultural District in downtown Arlington as one of only seven new cultural districts in the state.
“For generations, fine and performing artists and arts organizations have attracted residents and visitors to Downtown Arlington,” says Mayor Jeff Williams. “In the last few years, a groundswell of community support, partnerships and investment is transforming the district into a highly visible cultural magnet for our city.”
According to the TCA, cultural districts are special zones that harness the power of cultural resources to stimulate economic development and community revitalization. These districts can become focal points for generating business, attracting tourists, stimulating cultural development and fostering civic pride. Cultural district designation can also attract funding to stimulate arts-related development through tax breaks, economic incentives and financial grants for entities within the district.
It’s the prospect for creative stimulus
that excites Patti Diou, executive director of the Levitt Pavilion-Arlington and chairperson of the Arlington Cultural District Council. The Council consists of representatives from all major cultural organizations within the district as well as community members, civic leaders and artists.
“Decades of enthusiasm and support by our local community have propelled us to where we are today,” Diou says. “To have our collective efforts recognized by TAC is an incredible honor and a powerful springboard for great things to come.”
The Arlington Cultural District,
which encompasses the same area as the city’s downtown Business Improvement District, joins other new districts in Waco, downtown Plano, Texarkana, Salado, Amarillo and Rockport. TAC’s Cultural District Designation Evaluation Panel said that in Arlington, collaboration between the arts groups is very evident as are efforts to attract entrepreneurs and young people.
The panel also cited the significance of the University of Texas Arlington in the district, noting its fine arts department as an influencer for growth and creativity.
“Downtown Arlington continues to thrive and grow through a collective commitment to placemaking,” says Tony Rutigliano, president and CEO of the Downtown Arlington Management Corporation (DAMC). “That includes an on-going commitment to nurturing talent; creating functional and beautiful spaces for students, artists, residents and visitors; stimulating economic vitality; and supporting connectivity and mobility to and within the district.”
A formal ceremony to celebrate Arlington’s new cultural district
will take place this month, Rutigliano said. Also within the next few weeks, DAMC and the Arlington Cultural District Council will begin to create formal processes to avail funding opportunities and other benefits of the cultural district designation to individual artists and arts organizations.
“Established art institutions, grassroots organizations and individual artists will discover more and more opportunities for creative endeavors, collaboration and visibility in Downtown,” says Mayor Williams. “I am extremely excited about the future of the arts in our community.”