Art of Economic Development

For Texas communities small and large, the cultural arts and creative sectors contribute significantly to local economies. The cultural arts stimulate economic activity, create jobs, and generate tax revenue. The following five cities have successfully leveraged the cultural arts and creative sectors to generate measurable economic impacts on their communities.

Five Cities. Five Stories.

Amarillo, TX


Amarillo raised over $30 million in private donations to build the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts, a venue that utilized a previously vacant downtown lot. The facility features a 1,300-seat auditorium that hosts symphony concerts, theatrical performances, ballets, and many other performing arts events. Today, the Globe-News Center is an anchor for downtown revitalization. Since the debut of the center, downtown office vacancies have declined, renovation projects have been undertaken, and the city is planning several nearby projects, including a convention center hotel, a multiuse ballpark, and an aquatic center.
Clifton, TX


Clifton, a Texas Hill Country town about 30 miles northwest of Waco, has injected economic vitality into its once-sleepy core. The Bosque Arts Center is a key component in Clifton’s economic renaissance attracting more than 11,000 visitors annually. The Center houses a permanent photography exhibit, an art gallery, and a performing arts theater. Local cultural arts tourism spending generates $2.4 million in economic activity, $1.1 million in earnings, and provides three dozen permanent jobs.
El Paso, TX

El Paso

El Paso’s downtown revitalization is anchored by its cultural district and includes a world class performing arts center, art museums, convention center, and public spaces. Collectively, arts and cultural organizations account for more than 2,500 jobs — 200 more than one of the city’s largest private employers. Cultural arts organizations and events in El Paso pull in more than 325,000 out-of-towners each year, generating $91.5 million in economic activity and nearly $10 million in local and state tax revenue.
Rockport, TX


The Rockport Art Festival generates $2.5 million in economic activity and attracts more than 7,400 attendees from across the state. It was also recognized by Coastal Living Magazine as one of the Top 10 Coastal Art Colonies in the country. Across the county, arts and cultural tourism helps support $33.1 million in economic activity, nearly $9.7 million in earnings, and 455 jobs. In addition, cultural arts tourism generates $640,000 in local tax revenue and $1.8 million in state tax revenue.
Texarkana, TX


Texarkana has gotten smart about the arts. By establishing the ArtSmart education program, nurturing the Perot Theatre, and creating the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council, the city has pumped energy — and money — into the community. The Perot Theatre generates nearly $2.5 million in economic activity, more than $800,000 in earnings, and about 40 full-time jobs. The Texarkana ArtSmart education program serves more than 40,000 students from 66 campuses each year integrating the arts across the curriculum — educating a workforce ready for the 21st century.
Texas Cultural Trust