The Texas Commissions on the Arts (TCA) has designated Fort Worth’s Near Southside neighborhood and Dallas’ Deep Ellum as the state’s newest cultural districts.
Near Southside and Deep Ellum are two of five new cultural districts in the state, including Red River Cultural District in Austin and two districts in Houston: the Fifth Ward Cultural Arts District and the Third Ward Cultural District (The Tre).
Deep Ellum, established in 1873, is one of the city’s most historic neighborhoods. After the Civil War, the area became home to many emancipated slaves. In the 1920s, the neighborhood enticed early jazz and blues musicians. The neighborhood still continues to be home to many artists.
In Fort Worth, Near Southside is a 1,400 acre neighbood includes the city’s medical district and design district. It’s also home to a number of the city’s theaters, including Stage West, live music venues, recording studios, chef-led restaurants and art schools. The neighborhood brings in more than 100,000 visitors from around North Texas annually for community events.
Cultural districts are defined by TCA as areas for generating business, encouraging cultural development, engaging tourists and offering civic pride.
The news was announced on Sept. 3. Now, there are a total of 48 cultural districts in Texas.
“We’re proud that the Near Southside is gaining recognition as a hub for creativity and growth.” Mike Brennan, Near Southside Inc. president, said in a statement. “This community is filled with dreamers, artists, and risktakers that deserve to be recognized, and we are so honored to see our thriving district receive this support and validation.”
Nonprofits in the neighborhoods can now apply for grants through the Texas Commission on the Arts. The districts will also be recognized by the state as a destination for arts investments.
Near Southside is Fort Worth’s second cultural district — joining the Museum District. And Deep Ellum joins the Dallas Arts District.
KERA producer Rebekah Morr contributed to this story.
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