Stronger Together through Artrepreneurship: Weekly Message from Maggie Campbell, President and CEO of DAMC

Create Arlington, Downtown’s brand-new coworking space for creatives, already feels a little like the inside of an artist’s mind. Ideas surround you. They hang on the walls, fill the air, stack up on drafting tables, and emerge before your eyes on easels. The artists themselves are as diverse as their mediums: filmmakers, painters, photographers, programmers, sculptors, and digital illustrators at every stage in their careers.

There’s nothing else like it in Arlington or, I venture to guess, anywhere in North Texas. Yet it’s exactly in the right place at the right time. 

The first recommendation of the 2020 Downtown Arlington Shared Arts Feasibility Study, which was released less than a month ago, is to “envision Downtown Arlington as an Arts & Media Village.” Made possible through funding from the Texas Commission on the Arts with additional support from the University of Texas at Arlington and the City of Arlington, the study’s research shows that Downtown has the potential to become a “nationally recognized center for traditional arts and all forms of media content creation, distribution, and consumption with a strong focus on diversity and inclusion.” This can be accomplished, according to the study, by lifting up existing entities and building new partnerships with UT Arlington and the arts, public and private sectors. 

Create Arlington, the brainchild of father-son team Mark and Christian Joeckel, is the first such enterprise to launch in Downtown since the release of the Shared Arts Feasibility Study. It’s also the epitome of a when-one-door-closes-another-one-opens story. 

For nearly a decade, Mark has been dipping, wading and diving into arts-related projects all around the city. From time to time Christian, a history major with a gift for all things tech, would join in. The creation of Arlington Proud, murals on Park Plaza, and the East Main Arts Festival all sprung from Mark’s passion for community organizing. As his activism and expertise grew, Mark began working on a business plan for a clubhouse (his word) where artists can be artists but also learn to become “artrepreneurs.”

Then COVID-19. When both Mark and Christian were laid off a few months ago, they looked at each other and said, “Now’s the time.” Mark considered numerous locations, and found the perfect spot in the extensively restored block at 306 W Main. More importantly he found landlords -- longtime Arlington advocate Kay King, her daughter Rachel Slosson and son-in-law Seann -- who truly share his vision. With support from a private investor, Create Arlington was born. 

Although Create Arlington hasn’t officially opened, the success of its soft-opening bodes well for this early adopter of Downtown’s Arts & Media Village concept. Thanks to reasonable month-to-month and daily rates, convenient location, great neighbors, and an impressive list of amenities, several of the reserved studio spaces are already filled. Plenty of room remains for artists looking to drop in for a day or dig into a project for weeks or months at a time. Visit the Create Arlington website for more details about membership plans and benefits.

While memberships are important and keep the doors open, Mark hopes that Create Arlington can be a magnet for all kinds of people looking to interact with artists and their work. Regular public gatherings, free art exhibitions, concerts, original streaming content, and an artist-in-residency program will further the greater good of nurturing creativity by building community.

In addition to nurturing community, Mark envisions Create Arlington as a place to nurture business savvy. I could see this happening organically when I visited Create Arlington earlier this week and saw artist Sam Watson at work in his studio. Sam Watson, a multi-talented sculptor, potter and painter, is Create Arlington’s first featured artist. Throughout his impressive career, he has worked with Schaefer Art Bronze Casting in Downtown plus Dallas Heritage Village Old City Park, and is past president of the Texas Sculpture Association. As he was painting, young and emerging artists were mesmerized by his unfiltered stories of making it in the art world.  

That was just one hour of one day. Imagine the cumulative effect of artists and creatives working and learning and mentoring side by side by side.

Mark and Christian share an unwavering belief in the power of the arts as a tool for economic development. Step inside Create Arlington and you’ll see why. 

For great visuals and more of the story, tune in to this segment of Culture Buzz produced by the City of Arlington:


Tailgate Like a Local   

This Fall is turning into a sports-watching season of fan-tacular proportions! Where in North Texas are you going to go to watch or celebrate the game? If you’re looking for virtual seats on the fifty, behind home plate, or on center ice, look no further than Downtown Arlington. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, we’ve got the walkability, outside seating, great flavors, plenty of hometown hospitality, and TV screens to get you close to the action while maintaining social distance. We’re also within earshot (but outside of the traffic) of Globe Life Field and AT&T Stadium!

Before you fan up, check out Downtown Delivers to find the perfect patio and Downtown Outdoors to guide you there. Click here to check out our Downtown Outdoors Patio Personality match up game! #ExploreDTArlington


Calling All Volunteers  

Ready to roll up our sleeves for Arlington? Mayor Williams and Engage Arlington are asking for our help! Volunteer at one of 85 community service projects taking place across our city during Unite Arlington weekend, Oct. 3 & Oct. 4 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. During Unite Arlington, you can participate in efforts such as park clean ups, home repairs for seniors, and school beautification. Check out the list of available projects, learn how to sign up as a volunteer, and learn about requirements and social distancing guidelines at unitearlingtontx.org.


Zoom into Arlington on Tap  

In Fall 2015, the infinitely curious journalist, author and proud Arlingtonian O.K. Carter launched a series of casual and compelling conversations called Arlington On Tap. Always held in a Downtown Arlington bar or restaurant, the series has attracted thousands of attendees over the years to hear thought-provoking tales and talks on a variety of hot local topics. 

As the presenting sponsor of Arlington on Tap, Downtown Arlington is proud to carry on that tradition even in a world of social distancing. Next week, watch for our announcement for this fall’s Arlington on Zoom speaker line-up for October and November, held as always on the second Tuesday of the month. We’ll take a break in December, then resume again in January 2021.