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

 

Maintaining meaningful connections during the COVID-19 pandemic is paramount. Here are three examples of how envisioning, creating, enhancing, and celebrating connectivity in Downtown Arlington will help light the way forward.

Award-winning Abram St. Revitalization Project Nears Completion  

How about some good news?

After nearly six years of work to transform the entirety of Abram Street in Downtown Arlington, the City of Arlington recently announced the final phase of the project will be completed this month. The project’s long list of assets includes infrastructure improvements, street lighting, banners, public art, landscaping, and benches along new sidewalks leading to our beautiful new Downtown Library, Council chambers, outdoor Plaza and 101 Center.

On the heels of this announcement, the Texas Chapter of the American Public Works Association named the Abram St. project its 2020 Transportation Project of the Year in the $25M to $75M category.

The re-envisioning of Abram Street has been nothing short of transformative. Seeing has become believing and believing has become action. During these last six years, commercial developers, local entrepreneurs and small business owners have invested millions of dollars in residential projects, restaurant and retail, and storefront revitalization along and adjacent to Abram.

People will always seek ways to safely interact, conduct business, and enjoy time outdoors, even and perhaps especially during this time of COVID-19. Thanks to the new Abram Street, they can. Downtown Arlington finally has our version of an urban promenade, a welcoming and pedestrian-friendly experience with bright, clean and easily accessed outdoor spaces, patios, murals and public art, not to mention enhancing the daily life of those living, visiting and working in our neighborhood.

Shared Arts Feasibility Study Midpoint Review   

Downtown Arlington is nearly half-way through our shared arts feasibility study, which is focused on identifying long-term opportunities to lift up our city’s fine and performing arts community while also helping to address immediate needs related to the economic impact of COVID-19.

I can’t thank our Cultural Arts Committee enough for their commitment to this exhaustive and important project, nor can I overstate my gratitude to everyone who has informed the process by sharing their opinions, enthusiasm and insights. 

At the two-month mid-point, we have:

  • Conducted forty interviews with Downtown Arlington-based artists, cultural organizations, arts patrons, and community leaders 
  • Received feedback through confidential, online surveys from 115 representatives of cultural non-profits, arts-related businesses and individual artists
  • On-going review and evaluation of the arts environment across the region
  • Conducting an arts facilities analysis for both local and regional competitive facilities
  • Offered four free webinars about financial stabilization strategies for individual artists and cultural organizations

"This is a very exciting assignment for us,” said Webb Management Services founder Duncan Webb, our consultancy partner on the study. “We get to assess and respond to the needs of the local arts community, while also considering the longer-term opportunities for Downtown Arlington and the University of Texas at Arlington. That work is leading us to some terrific ideas that we will soon be sharing in the community.”

Levitt Living Room Series Continues  

In cooperation and support for Downtown businesses, last week Downtown Arlington and the Levitt Pavilion Arlington announced a new collaboration in conjunction with the Levitt’s wildly popular online Levitt Living Room Series

Instead of live-streaming from the stage, the Levitt Living Room Series has moved inside for a studio-style reboot. Concerts will include a combination of live performances and recently-recorded takeover events, all free and streamed from Levitt’s Facebook Live Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. 

This excellent example of collaboration leverages the strengths of the Levitt, the incredible talent of Texas artists, and the collegial spirit amongst the business and arts communities in Downtown. Throughout each event, audiences will be introduced to one or two Downtown establishments and shown how to support them through our Downtown Delivers platform. More broadly, the new collaboration provides unique environments in which musicians can perform and fans can enjoy while social distancing.

Coming up next week: Get to know Rita’s Italian Ice and Frozen Custard during a performance by The Peterson Brothers on July 14 at 8:00 p.m.  

I want to personally thank Letatia, Rich, Cathy and Karen with the Levitt Pavilion for inspiring us each and every day with their creativity, resiliency and positivity in the face of COVID-19. Won’t you help them by making a donation to the Levitt online? Let’s keep the music alive, Arlington.