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Texas Commission on the Arts names Near Southside an official cultural district

Posted Sept. 4, 2020

aerial view of Magnolia st during ArtsGoggle
ArtsGoggle annually hosts more than 1,000 visual artists, 50 musical performances and artistic displays of every kind.

Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) has approved Fort Worth’s Near Southside as the state’s newest cultural district.

Near Southside Arts, managed by Near Southside Inc., is one of five prestigious designations announced by TCA, Others are the Red River Cultural District in Austin, Deep Ellum Cultural District in Dallas and two districts in Houston: the Fifth Ward Cultural District and the Historic Third Ward Arts District.

This cultural district designation will open the door for new funding opportunities. Not only will Near Southside Arts and other nonprofits located in the district have the opportunity to apply for Texas Commission on the Arts grants, but the nearly 1,400-acre district will be recognized by the state as a destination for arts investments.

“We’re proud that the Near Southside is gaining recognition as a hub for creativity and growth,” Mike Brennan, Near Southside Inc. president, said. “This community is filled with dreamers, artists and risk-takers that deserve to be recognized, and we are so honored to see our thriving district receive this support and validation.”

The neighborhood encompasses Fort Worth’s medical district, design district and is the hub for local businesses and acclaimed restaurants. Near Southside Arts joins the museum district as Fort Worth’s second cultural district.

For more than two decades, the Near Southside has placed cultural investment at the center of its revitalization. The district hosts arts-centric community events, including ArtsGoggle, Open Streets, Friday on the Green and Park(ing) Day, that together attract more than 100,000 attendees from around North Texas annually.

The Near Southside is home to many of Fort Worth’s notable theaters, live music venues, recording studios, chef-led restaurants and art schools. Leaders from Amphibian Stage, Stage West, SiNaCa Studios, Studio Cufflink and various other arts organizations serve on the NSA steering committee established last year to guide the application and planning process as the district sought designation.

“To us, this designation is proof that Near Southside has our priorities right,” said Megan Henderson, director of events and communications for Near Southside Inc. “We’re proud to see our creative community and unique Near Southside culture flourish for the past 25 years and now, with the support of TCA, we know Near Southside Arts will be an important catalyst as we begin our next chapter of growth.”

To celebrate the cultural district designation, Near Southside Arts is organizing various curated events and virtual initiatives in October, appropriately named ARTober. These arts-oriented events synergistically include murals and public art unveilings, virtual concerts, digital artist residencies on Instagram and Facebook and programming at dozens of participating businesses.

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