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Art as Priority

This story by Lee Escobedo was originally published in its entirety in the Dallas Observer on September 14, 2018.

Aldo Fritz was getting his master’s degree in real estate in 2012 when he first came to Arlington to attend the University of Texas at Arlington. Like many other UTA grads, he didn't stick around once he got his degree, but zipped off for the bigger, brighter lights of Dallas, where for six years he served as a chief planner for the city. But then he did something unexpected. He came back to Arlington.

Last year, Fritz became president and CEO of the Downtown Arlington Management Corporation, a job that sees him connecting the university, the city and small businesses through community planning. One goal is to change outsiders' view that Arlington is a city of transients — students who come and go and tourists and sports fans who head there for games and theme parks then go back home. Arlington is tucked between two larger cities with museums, historic architecture and nightlife, and the plan is to show that when it comes to culture, the suburban area of nearly 400,000 people has more to offer than football, baseball and roller coasters.

This month, Fritz is going big with his strategy to alter the perception of Arlington to outsiders and residents both. Through Sept. 15, The Brewing Arts Festival will converge in downtown Arlington, a block party between the main streets of Abrams and Main, in the heart of the city. And how does Fritz plan to change the long-held perception of the middle city? By making art a priority.

“We want this festival to become a conduit and beacon for artists," Fritz says. "So artists feel comfortable to stay in the area and downtown Arlington begins an urban art movement. We can build an event people haven’t seen in Arlington before. It’s just the beginning...”

Click here to read the full story and click here to learn more about Brewing Arts.