Austin Creative Alliance Asks for Artist & Company Support for Petition to City Council to Establish Department of Cultural Affairs



Published by John Riedie of Austin Creative Alliance:

Dear ACA Members, Supporters, Friends and Colleagues,

This morning, May 4, 2023, the Board of Directors of Austin Creative Alliance delivered a letter to the Austin City Council and City Manager requesting changes to how the City works with the cultural sector. The letter requests the establishment of a Department of Cultural Affairs, staffed by experienced Arts professionals, a best practice for major cities that was recommended by both the CreateAustin and ImagineAustin plans, but never implemented. The letter also requests a performance audit of the City’s Cultural Funding activities to bring transparency and accountability to the process and point the way toward structuring a new Department. 

Please read and endorse this letter, then share it with your community. We will deliver the list of community endorsements to City Council and Manager before their next meeting on May 18.

Music, Arts and Culture in Austin face challenges like never before. Pressures like skyrocketing housing costs, stagnant incomes, and a lack of affordable studio, venue and work space are impacting our community’s working artists and grassroots organizations. It is more important than ever that the City’s cultural work be led by Arts professionals with practical experience in the field. Join us in the movement to align our City’s cultural investments with international best practices, and put Austin’s culture at the forefront of municipal public policy.

To address these structural challenges, our advocacy work is currently focused on three areas:

  1. transparency, accountability, best practices and community collaboration in the City of Austin’s cultural sector investment programs

  2. building a new pipeline of private and corporate cultural philanthropy

  3. preserving and creating permanently affordable, community owned cultural spaces

ACA’s steady, long term advocacy commitment has already brought millions of new dollars for public investment in Austin culture. In 2016, we proposed a non-profit real estate holding company for creative spaces to address affordability. City Council subsequently adopted this concept, The Austin Cultural Trust, assigning it to the newly created Austin Economic Development Corporation, for which we also advocated. ACA also proposed and pushed for funding streams for the Cultural Trust, such as the $12 million Creative Spaces Bond, approved by voters in 2018, and the Iconic Venue Fund, passed by Council in 2020.


Thanks for your continued support and for joining us in advocating for the artists, cultural workers and community driven organizations who create the beautiful spirit and authentic character of Austin. Help continue our momentum by donating today.