Vital Arts Programs At Risk In State Budget

In response to growing concerns over a lack of funding for Cultural Arts Districts and other key arts programs in the proposed state budget, the Texas Cultural Trust today issued the following statement:

“As a community, we are concerned about conversations at the national level, and here in Texas, where music, film and the cultural arts are being systematically eliminated from government budgets. This pattern gives us pause, not just because of the potential impact on our history, heritage and culture, but because of the enormous impact the arts have on our economy.”

“The arts contribute $5.5 billion annually to the Texas economy, employ one in 15 Texans and contribute $343.7 million in state sales tax revenue annually. The arts help prepare a well-educated workforce for our 21st Century economy. Yet, the arts are often first on the budgetary chopping block. This is shortsighted.

“Just this session, our lawmakers are proposing to zero out a $5 million competitive grant program for our state’s Cultural Arts Districts, which has successfully helped strengthen local economies, supporting economic development, building local arts programs and attracting more jobs and tourists to communities across the states. Thirty-seven grants were made through the program. A study of four of those grant recipients showed that $500,000 in grant funding contributed to a $21.3 million economic impact – a 426 percent rate of return. If adopted in the final budget, this decision to defund Cultural Arts Districts would create a 34 percent budget cut to the Texas Commission on the Arts and eliminate critical funding sources to communities across the state.

“At the Texas Cultural Trust, we are passionate about spotlighting the artistic excellence of our state – not just on stage or in a gallery, but in business and education as well. Texas’ creative sector employment is projected to increase by 20 percent or 160,000 net new jobs by 2024. But we will not create those jobs if we do not continue to support arts in our schools and in our communities. We call on our lawmakers to recognize the economic, educational and cultural impact of the arts and restore funding to the Cultural Districts program. This small line item has enormous impact in communities across the state.

For more on the economic impact of the arts, download the 2017 State of the Arts Report. For information on the Cultural Arts Districts, download the 2017 economic impact report.


The Texas Cultural Trust is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to be the leading voice for the arts in education, advocacy, and economic impact in Texas, spotlighting the artistic excellence of our state.  Programs of the Texas Cultural Trust include the biennial Texas Medal of Arts Awards, Texas Women for the Arts, the Texas Young Masters, Arts & Digital Literacy, and Art Can. The Trust also supports the programs of the Texas Commission on the Arts and other qualifying state agencies. Since 2008, the Texas Cultural Trust has invested more than $3.2 million into arts awareness and education, bringing the total investment to more than $4.9 million.  For more information, please visit


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