Culture / Newsy

Fort Worth Neighborhood Gets Coveted Cultural District Designation — Near Southside’s Art Power is Recognized

Deep Ellum Also Earns Some Love

BY // 09.03.20

Exciting news for Fort Worth’s Near Southside arrived today, courtesy of Texas Commission on the Arts. The neighborhood’s getting a brand new Cultural District designation all its own.

Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) approved Near Southside as Texas’ newest official cultural district.

Near Southside Arts, which is managed by Near Southside, Inc., joins Fort Worth’s Museum District as the city’s second cultural district. It also joins four other new Cultural Districts around the state of Texas. Those are Austin’s Red River Cultural District, Dallas’ Deep Ellum and two districts in Houston ― the Fifth Ward Cultural District and the Historic Third Ward Arts District.

Arts Goggle is an event that typically winds down Magnolia Avenue. Photo by Olaf Growald.

“We’re proud that the Near Southside is gaining recognition as a hub for creativity and growth,” says Mike Brennan, president of Near Southside, Inc. “This community is filled with dreamers, artists, and risk takers that deserve to be recognized, and we are so honored to see our thriving district receive this support and validation.”

This designation will open the door for new funding opportunities. Not only will Near Southside Arts (NSA) and other nonprofits located inside the district have the opportunity to apply for TCA grants, but the nearly 1,400-acre district will be recognized by the state as a destination for arts investments.

The neighborhood has been completely transformed over the past decades, going from forgotten and time-worn (formerly, Near Southside was mostly medical district), to a thriving restaurant and entertainment draw, surrounded by a revived historic neighborhood, right in the heart of Fort Worth.

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Near Southside encompasses Fort Worth’s medical district and design district. It has quickly become the hub for local businesses and acclaimed locally owned restaurants. The newly minted cultural district hosts annual events including ArtsGoggle, Open Streets, Friday on the Green, and Park(ing) Day in support of the arts.

In normal years, the neighborhood relaxes at Friday on the Green. Photo by Olaf Growald.

The Near Southside is home to many of Fort Worth’s notable theaters, live music venues, recording studios, chef-led restaurants and art schools. Leaders from Amphibian Stage, Stage West, SiNaCa Studios, Studio Cufflink and various other arts organizations serve on the NSA steering committee established last year to guide the application and planning process as the district sought a cultural district designation.

“To us, this designation is proof that Near Southside has our priorities right,” says Megan Henderson, director of events and communications Near Southside, Inc. “We’re proud to see our creative community and unique Near Southside culture flourish for the past 25 years and now, with the support of TCA, we know Near Southside Arts will be an important catalyst as we begin our next chapter of growth.”

To celebrate the cultural district designation, Henderson says, Near Southside Arts is organizing various curated events and virtual initiatives during the entire month of October, appropriately named ARTober. For more information about upcoming ARTober events (which begin October 1), go to Near Southside’s full website.

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