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

An Invitation to Downtown BID Members  

Bankers, accountants, IT executives, medical professionals, salon owners, developers, engineers, artists, retailers, and restaurateurs: these are just some of the entrepreneurs who help drive our city’s economy from their headquarters in Downtown Arlington. Through an established funding mechanism and a contract with the City of Arlington, Downtown property owners who make up our Business Improvement District (BID) support the many resources and services you enjoy in Downtown Arlington, including economic development, marketing, programming, security, and beautification projects.

There is so much more we can accomplish together! Starting this fall, we’re pleased to launch another way our BID members can connect with Downtown Arlington resources, services and each other. On November 2 from 3:00pm-4:00pm, we’ll be hosting our first live stream BID Member event. The event, which we’re dubbing The Blender, will be held quarterly and is designed as an informal gathering to do some serious networking. During The Blender, our team will share workplan and project updates, but we’ll also leave open plenty of time for mutual idea and information-sharing among our members. BID members will also learn about all the benefits available to Downtown stakeholders and how to take advantage of them.

While BID members will receive an email invitation with details about attending The Blender, you’re also welcome to contact Katie Gosa, BID Services and Communications Manager, anytime with questions or suggestions. 


The Art of Economic Development  

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak to the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee about our recently completed shared arts feasibility study and the intriguing opportunities for economic development found within its recommendations.

Not since 2016, when Downtown Arlington earned the designation as an official State of Texas Cultural District, has our organization really sat down with our arts stakeholders and asked, “What can we do together to further grow your business?” Given the importance of this sector to Downtown and our City, the feasibility study taught us so much about our collective strengths. It also reminded us of how powerful we are when we collaborate. We also learned what else we need to learn.
 
Research shows that across the U.S., investing in the arts is not just an altruistic activity. A strong arts sector is also a smart economic development strategy. According to many sources, including the SMU DataArts, the arts can be a rising tide that lifts many boats in many sectors, even (and maybe especially) in the wake of the pandemic. The arts drive cultural tourism, particularly when they are united to do so.

The arts are also integral to creating communities in which people want to live. Early career professionals, creatives, young families and new empty-nesters are all seeking livable, walkable, workable, beautiful communities they can call their own. Arts and cultural activities are seen as a compulsory means to that end. 

The economic impact multiplier effect is also impressive. According to a recent Americans for the Arts Economic Prosperity Report that looked at cities similar in population to Arlington, when a resident attends a non-profit arts event, she or he spends an extra $22.55 on purchases like refreshments, meals, souvenirs, transportation, childcare, and miscellaneous products/services. For non-residents attending a similar event, the extra spending nearly doubles to $41.45 per person.

In Downtown Arlington, the arts are one of our competitive advantages. When the Arlington Museum of Art debuted Keith Haring: Against All Odds last summer, for instance, nearly 5,000 visitors came from all over the country to view the exhibition. Over the last dozen years, the Levitt Pavilion has served an inspirational catalyst for reinvestment, resulting in a huge impact on Downtown’s economic vitality.

The shared arts feasibility study has given us a bird’s eye view of all of this, and so we’re getting back to work. Since the completion of the study just a couple of months ago, the DAMC Cultural Arts Committee has launched several “next steps” initiatives including: 

  • We’ve begun engaging with UTA’s College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs (CAPPA) to envision Downtown Arlington as an Arts & Media Village, a multi-layered approach for nurturing both traditional arts and media content creation and distribution. 
  • Preliminary steps have been taken to develop and implement a public art plan for Downtown, including a transparent governance mechanism for funding and to guide programming.
  • Recently, Downtown Arlington was awarded a $9,800 grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts to fund streaming equipment and training in its use, which will be made available to all of our cultural partners.  
  • To connect the next generation with real-life work experiences, we’re now partnering with the Lockheed Martin Career Development Center at UTA to develop a robust internship program in the arts, media and communications.
  • To help drive our long-term investment strategies, we’ll be conducting a comprehensive economic impact study of the arts in Downtown Arlington. 

The shared arts feasibility study research found that Downtown Arlington can become a nationally recognized home for the creation, production and consumption of art with a strong focus on diversity and inclusion. This can happen by nurturing resources already in place and discovering new mutually beneficial opportunities. If your business is interested in getting in on the ground level of these “next step” initiatives, please contact me or Dan Cavanaugh, chair of the DAMC Cultural Arts Committee. 


Final Weekend: Live (and Live Streaming) from the Levitt  

This weekend is the last one of the Levitt Pavilion’s Fall concert season, so be sure to get your final fix of live music under the stars in 2020! Both in-person and online viewing options are available for the Levitt's stellar line-up:

•    Friday at 8 p.m.: Abraham Alexander
•    Saturday at 7 p.m.: Heather and Josh Hankins 
•    Saturday at 8 p.m.: Hayes Carll
•    Sunday at 7 p.m.: Jesse Spradlin
•    Sunday at 8 p.m.: Josh Ward 

No reservations are required; seating is first come, first served on the lawn and Abram Street when the gates open at 6 p.m. until the socially-distanced squares are filled. Each square holds up to eight people. For more info, visit levittpavilionarlington.org