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Stronger Together Through Art: Weekly Message from Maggie Campbell, President and CEO of DAMC

If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us one thing, it has taught us to focus on things that can truly fortify communities: rallying around our local businesses, helping our kids learn, encouraging healthy lifestyles, sharing kindness with one another, and nurturing a creative spirit.

For the last four months, we’ve been focusing how to best nurture that creative spirit in Downtown Arlington. This week, we’ve taken a big step forward. 

As you may recall, thanks to a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and additional support from the City of Arlington and UT Arlington, Downtown Arlington has been working to develop a shared arts feasibility study. The overarching goals of this comprehensive study are to identify long-term opportunities to advance the arts in Arlington while also helping to address immediate needs related to the economic impact of COVID-19.

Led by the DAMC Cultural Arts Committee and guided by Webb Mgmt., we’re thrilled to say that the shared arts feasibility study is near completion. This week, we’ve been sharing the resulting recommendations with city leaders and the arts community. 

Here’s a sneak peek for you:

  1. Envision Downtown Arlington as an Arts & Media Village. With the concentration of arts and media entities, programs and facilities already here, the study recommends ways to activate the potential in Downtown to become a true Arts & Media Village. This can be accomplished by building new partnerships with UTA, the private sector, the public sector and the arts sector in both traditional arts and all forms of media content creation and distribution. By nurturing the resources already in place as its foundation, the study’s research supports the conclusion that Downtown could reach a level of a nationally and internationally recognized home for the creation, production and consumption of art with a strong focus on diversity and inclusion.
  2. Build an anchor for the Arts & Media Village. When it is economically feasible, the study recommends pursuing public-private partnerships to build a new large and flexible venue for performance, exhibition, media production and community gathering. The working title for this project is "The Well", which not only evokes a place that nourishes and brings the community together but references the history of Arlington (ala “Mineral Well”).
  3. Develop and implement a public art plan, which will bring more 2-D and 3-D art to Downtown Arlington, thus supporting local artists and enhancing the City as a destination for regional residents and tourists. The plan will also identify a transparent governance mechanism for funding and to guide programming. 
  4. Pursue physical and operational improvements for existing Downtown and university arts and media facilities that improve and encourage community access and engagement.
  5. Provide assistance now to artists and Downtown arts organizations as they seek new skills and resources for streaming, marketing, data collection, education and outreach. 

The DAMC Cultural Arts Committee and our partners are particularly enthusiastic about the responsive nature of these recommendations. First, they are all in keeping with the cultural, economic and community development priorities of the City of Arlington and the Downtown Master Plan. Second, each one can be advanced independently and over timelines that suit our community’s bandwidth and priorities. Finally, the recommendations not only embrace and strengthen the organizations, facilities, partnerships and identity already in place in Downtown but light the way forward. 

In addition to the Webb Mgmt team, thank you to the City of Arlington, UTA, and our Cultural Arts Committee for your commitment to this exhaustive and important project. I also can’t overstate my gratitude to the artists, arts leaders and community members who have helped inform the process by sharing their opinions, enthusiasm and insights. 

Claim Your Free Sponsor Shout Out During the Annual Meeting  

Tom Cravens in a Willie Nelson wig.

Do we have your attention? If your business or organization is located in Downtown Arlington, your fans and followers are already talking about On the Road Again, the all-new Downtown Arlington 2020 Annual Meeting on Facebook Live Thursday, September 10 from 5:30-7pm. Our variety show-style virtual celebration has it all: music, award presentations, great storytelling, bloopers, and a heartfelt tribute to the people who make Downtown Arlington the heart of our community. And it's free! 

We’d love to include a shout out to your business or organization during this live stream event. There are two ways you can participate: host an Annual Meeting Watch Party for your customers or patrons during the event on Sept. 10 or offer an Annual Meeting special. That’s it! Simply create and promote your watch party or special on Facebook and send/tag us the details of your promotion. Be sure to alert us of your promotional details by Sept. 6 to be guaranteed a shout out during the event. 

Turn the Annual Meeting into the Happiest Hour of your Day  

Before you prop up your feet and click on our Facebook Live link at 5:30 p.m., be sure you’re stocked up on your favorite hometown dishes, appetizers, drinks and desserts from one (or more!) of our eclectic mix of bars, restaurants, cafes and pubs. Visit Downtown Delivers for inspiration and links to order items to-go, for curbside pick-up, or delivery. Remember: if you keep rallying for them, they will rally for you!

News Briefs  

Go Outside and Play: Thank you to the City of Arlington and Dallas Morning News for buzzing about Downtown Outdoors, our new platform for discovering and experiencing the great outdoors in the heart of the city.

We hope you’re loving our illustrations inspired by the iconic U.S. National Parks poster series and our “Take a Walk” infographics that suggest perfect routes for viewing Downtown’s Stars of Texas and growing number of murals.

Watch our social media and blog for more to come!

Mav Up and Mask Up in Downtown: It’s Maverick Stampede move-in week at the University of Texas at Arlington, and we’re excited to welcome back the Maverick community With the completion of the Abram St. revitalization, plenty of student-friendly hang-outs, our decidedly more outdoor-oriented vibe, and COVID-19 precautions firmly in place, Downtown is coming into its own as Arlington’s college town district.