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Cultural Districts Designation Program

Opportunity for Texas Arts Organizations, Agencies, and
Arts Institutions to Recognize Arts and Culture Zones

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA)

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

06/15/21 - Postmarked


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Opportunity for Texas arts organizations, local arts agencies, government agencies, and college arts institutions to designate special zones within the State's cities and communities as cultural districts. Applicants must contact program staff and submit a letter of intent prior to submitting an application. The designation of cultural districts is meant to harness the power of cultural resources to stimulate economic development and community revitalization.

As authorized by H.B. 2208 of the 79th Legislature, the Texas Commission on the Arts can designate cultural districts in Texas. In this program, an organization by itself or representing a collaborative effort will file an application to recognize their cultural district. Cultural districts are special zones that harness the power of cultural resources to stimulate economic development and community revitalization. These districts can become focal points for generating businesses, attracting tourists, stimulating cultural development and fostering civic pride.

TCA recognizes that a thriving creative sector is a powerful economic development asset. Cultural district development is one strategy that helps a community boost their economies while realizing other cultural and civic benefits. The outcomes of cultural districts extend beyond the arts and benefit all members of a community. Goals may include:

  • Attracting artists and cultural enterprises to the community. Artists, cultural institutions, and creative enterprises all contribute to a community’s economic potential. Not only do they generate direct economic activity, but artists and creative entrepreneurs infuse communities with energy and innovation.
  • Encouraging business and job development. Cultural districts can create a hub of economic activity that contributes to the community being an appealing place to live, visit, and conduct business. A thriving cultural scene helps an area to prosper when consumers drawn to cultural attractions patronize other nearby businesses. This can result in the creation of new economic opportunities and jobs.
  • Addressing specific needs of a community. Cultural districts are a highly adaptable economic development approach that allows a community to make use of unique conditions, assets, and opportunities.
  • Establishing tourism destinations. Cultural districts are marketable tourism assets that highlight the distinct identity of a community and encourage in-state, out of state, and international visitors.
  • Preserving and reusing historic buildings. Some cultural districts are very involved in historic preservation. Adaptive reuse and rehabilitation of older buildings through preservation tax credits can result in structural and façade improvements. These rehabilitated buildings provide opportunities for affordable artist live/work space and new homes for cultural organizations.
  • Enhancing property values. Successful districts combine improvements to public spaces (such as parks, waterfronts, and pedestrian corridors) along with property development. The redevelopment of abandoned properties, historic sites, and recruiting businesses to occupy vacant spaces can contribute to reduced vacancy rates and enhanced property values.
  • Fostering local cultural development. The establishment of a cultural district provides a focal point for celebrating and strengthening a community’s cultural identity. Cultural districts highlight existing cultural amenities and work to recruit and establish new artists, cultural industries, and organizations.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 164506

Estimated Size of Grant:

Request Limit: NA-- this is a designation program

Term of Contract:

Grant Type: Multi-year

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligibility: Established Arts Organizations, Local Arts Agencies, Government Local Arts Agencies, Established Minority Arts Organizations, Government Agency or Department, College Arts Institutions

The Commission will not fund the following:
- Social functions, parties, receptions, fundraisers, or galas
- Operating expenses for home offices
- Operating expenses for state-operated facilities including, but not limited to, salary support and facility costs
- Activities for which college or university students receive academic credit
- Projects at colleges and universities that serve mostly students and faculty, with minimal or no community involvement
- Projects by privately owned for-profit corporations
- Financing of political activities
- Retroactive funding
- Debt reduction
- Projects, productions, workshops, and/or programs that include obscene material as defined in Section 43.21, Penal Code of Texas.

Pre-Application Information:

- Letter of Intent due January 30
- Application due June 15 (postmark deadline)

Applicants must schedule an orientation meeting and work closely with Commission staff in the development of their application. Interested applicants must submit a letter of intent by email that includes a one-page description of the plans for the cultural district. Successful applicants will have access to Arts Respond Projects and Arts Respond Cultural District Projects.

TCA staff will accept draft applications for review and comment up to two weeks before the deadline.

Staff members are available to answer questions and provide information on the Commission's services.

Application Limit: One application per organization for this program.

Cultural District – Training Videos:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Submit letters of intent to:

Mail applications to:
Cultural Districts Designation Program
Attention: Jim Bob McMillan, Deputy Director
Texas Commission on the Arts
PO Box 13406
Austin, TX 78711-3406

Courier applications to:
Cultural Districts Designation Program
Attention: Jim Bob McMillan, Deputy Director
Texas Commission on the Arts
920 Colorado, Suite 501
Austin, TX 78701

Questions: Jim Bob McMillan, 512/936-6572 or

For more information, please contact

Texas Commission on the Arts
Post Office Box 13406
Austin, Texas 78711-3406

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Texas

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