Every year, Americans For the Arts recognizes city mayors for championing local arts. And this year, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings won. He’ll pick up that award today at the United States Conference of Mayors winter meeting in Washington.
Rawlings was recognized for showcasing the arts by creating Dallas Arts Week, then expanding it to Dallas Arts Month, in April. Americans for the Arts also cited the city’s effort to create a new cultural plan, and the success of the Dallas Arts District, which generates $395 million a year in economic impact.
Rawlings has said he wants to be known as the “Arts Mayor.” He calls the award one of the greatest accomplishments of his tenure. But in a phone interview from Washington, he says the city’s work isn’t done.
“Building an arts city is a three-act play. You’ve gotta build the facilities and fund them. Second, you’ve gotta run those things well. But then act three is actually doing art there. Writing plays, creating music, having great painters in our city. And we’re really between act two and act three.”
To get there, Rawlings says he’d like more businesses to connect with local arts groups. He’d also like to attract even more talent to the region with fellowships and artist residencies.