History & Mission

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Our Mission

To be the leading voice for the arts in education, advocacy, and economic impact in Texas, spotlighting the artistic excellence of our state.

Our Vision

A vibrant Texas where the arts inspire excellence.

Our History

state capitol from afar
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Texas Legislature Endowment for Arts
1993
The Texas Cultural Endowment Fund is established by the Texas Legislature to provide a permanent funding source for the cultural arts in Texas.
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Texas Cultural Trust
1995
The Texas Cultural Trust is established. The mission of the Trust is to heighten awareness of arts and culture in Texas, increase support for the arts and to raise matching funds for the Texas Cultural Endowment Fund.
group shot of TMAA 2001 Class
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Texas Medal of Arts Awards
2001
The Texas Cultural Trust hosts first Texas Medal of Arts Awards is held at Austin’s Paramount Theatre. The signature event celebrates Texans who have made powerful contributions to the arts through their creative talent or philanthropic endeavors. The inaugural honorees include Texas legends Willie Nelson, Debbie Allen, Tommy Lee Jones, Horton Foote, John Biggers, Santiago Jimenez, Jr., Flaco Jimenez, Neil Hess, Gilbert Zepeda, Wayne Bell, Jack S. Blanton, Sr., Meadows Foundation, SBC Communications, and Van Cliburn.
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Texas Young Masters Program
2002
The Texas Young Masters program launches. A joint program between the Texas Cultural Trust and the Texas Commission on the Arts, Texas Young Masters awards scholarship grants to deserving young artists in music, theatre, dance, visual arts, literary arts, and other artistic disciplines. The program helps Texas’ rising stars realize their potential as the next generation of leading visionaries in the arts.
group shot of Texas Women for the Arts in 2005
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Texas Women for the Arts
2005
The Texas Cultural Trust launches Texas Women for the Arts membership program. Since its inception, this philanthropic force and powerful champion of the arts in education has awarded over $2.7 million to more than 208 arts organizations across the state, impacting more than three quarters of a million Texas children.
graphics for Create Texas saying "Put your ART into it."
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Economic Impact Study & Create Texas
2008
The Texas Cultural Trust releases an economic study on the correlation between a community’s investment in the arts and the strength of their economy. The study finds that increased support for creative minds and cultural institutions leads to a more robust financial market. This prompts the development of Create Texas, a strategic marketing and public relations campaign designed to promote the importance of the arts in education and in sustaining a vibrant Texas economy.
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Adventures in the ARTS
2008
With the support of Founders for the Arts, an annual giving program, the Create Texas initiative produces Adventures in the ARTS, a children’s chapter book, interactive CD-ROM, and website. Adventures in the ARTS is a statewide resource, addressing all visual arts Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) requirements for grades 2-5.
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Texas Cultural Trust Directly Supports Texas Commission on the Arts
2009
At the request of the Texas Cultural Trust and the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA), the Texas Legislature dissolves the Texas Cultural Endowment Fund. The public dollars contributed to the fund go to the TCA to be distributed statewide through a formal grant process. The $3.5 million in private donations is transferred to the Texas Cultural Trust to be managed on behalf and in support of the TCA, primarily funding Texas Young Masters.
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Texas Stimulus Funds Texas Cultural Trust Programs
2009
The Texas Legislature appropriates $1 million in stimulus reserves to fund programs of the Texas Cultural Trust. These dollars support the Art of Economic Development and Cultural District Research programs, Adventures in the ARTS Book Distribution, and the Arts and Digital Literacy Initiative (A&DL).
"Art and Media Communications" text over image of paint buckets
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Arts & Digital Literacy Curriculum
2010
The first A&DL curriculum, Art and Media Communications I, is piloted in schools across Texas during the 2010-2011 school year.
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Texas Cultural Trust Partners with The University of Texas at Austin
2011
The Texas Cultural Trust receives legislative appropriation of $1million/biennium for partnership with The University of Texas at Austin College of Fine Arts to continue the Arts & Digital Literacy Initiative and Economic Research. In addition, The Meadows Foundation funds statewide teacher trainings on the A&DL curriculum.
colorful images and text representing a range of courses
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Houston Endowment Funds Arts Advocacy Campaign
2012
The Houston Endowment provides its first grant to the Texas Cultural Trust for a statewide Arts Advocacy Campaign. In addition, A&DL unveils its Music and Media Communications I curriculum, which is piloted statewide in the 2012-13 school year and sparks development of the Theatre and Media Communications I course introduced in schools the following year.
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5th Class of Texas Young Masters
2012
The Texas Commission on the Arts and the Texas Cultural Trust announce the 2012 class of Texas Young Masters at Austin’s Stateside at the Paramount, featuring performances by Ray Benson and Bob Schneider.
group shot of TMAA 2013 Class
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Texas Medal of Arts Awards Raises $1.5M
2013
The Texas Medal of Arts Awards, co-chaired by Houstonians Kelly Blanton and Marita Fairbanks, raises over $1.5 million and garners widespread media coverage. Also in 2013, The Texas State Board of Education approves all A&DL curricula for credit in the revised Fine Arts TEKS.
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Texas Women for the Arts Grants $1M
2013
Texas Women for the Arts makes record grant of $1 million to 40 organizations across the state, impacting half a million children. In addition, the Texas Legislature approves a 71% increase in appropriations for the TCA and renews the partnership between The University of Texas at Austin College of Fine Arts and the Texas Cultural Trust.
exterior shot of the Kennedy Center with trees and blue skies
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Kennedy Center Partners in Education Program
2014
The Texas Cultural Trust is inducted into the Kennedy Center Partners in Education program for its Arts & Digital Literacy Initiative. Soon after, A&DL is granted $26,000 by The CH Foundation to incorporate the curriculum into Lubbock ISD. Also in 2014, A&DL introduces its Dance and Media Communications I course, which is piloted statewide during the 2014-2015 school year.
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Arts & Digital Literacy Institute
2015
The Texas Cultural Trust launches the Arts & Digital Literacy Institute, offering professional development for high school fine arts teachers. The Meadows Foundation gives a $62,000 matching-grant to support the new program, which is later renamed the Digital Pioneers Institute.
2015 co-chairs wearing medals in front of TMAA signage at event
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Texas Medal of Arts Awards Raises over $2M
2015
The Texas Medal of Arts Awards, co-chaired by Gene Jones and Charlotte Jones Anderson, raises over $2 million for arts education and awareness and garners 70,395,956 media impressions with a total media value of $288,224.46. Also in 2015, Texas Women for the Arts grants more than $260,000 to 26 arts organizations from across the state. During the 84th legislative session, the Texas Legislature appropriates $5 million to TCA for Cultural Districts.
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Texas Young Masters Grants Increase to $10,000
2016
The Texas Cultural Trust increases the Texas Young Masters grant amount from $5,000 to $10,000 over two years, awarding $150,000 in funding to 15 of the top 8-11th grade artists in Texas. Thanks to funding from Houston Endowment, the Trust launches a two-year Art Can campaign.
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Arts & Digital Literacy Curriculum Online
2016
The Texas Cultural Trust launches a new and improved A&DL website, ArtsDigLit.com, that houses the Online Curriculum Delivery System and features hyper-connective interface for A&DL teachers.
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3rd Digital Pioneer Institute
2017
The Texas Cultural Trust successfully holds its third annual Digital Pioneers Institute, professionally training 50 fine arts teachers on A&DL curricula and creating new partnerships with OpenLabs and the Center for Educator Development in Fine Arts.
2017 co-chairs in tuxedos in front of TMAA signage at event
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Texas Medal of Arts Awards Raises over $1.3M
2017
The 2017 Texas Medal of Arts Awards, co-chaired by Guillermo Nicolas and Peter Holt, raises more than $1.3 million for arts education and awareness and garners 137,320,155 media impressions with a total media value of $605,596.72.