The revitalization of Downtown Lufkin continues to be a top priority for the City of Lufkin and community leaders. This week, the community’s arts leader – Angelina Arts Alliance – announces a partnership with the city illustrating this commitment and taking another step forward to further develop the growing downtown area.
Together, the City of Lufkin and Angelina Arts are set to begin a one-year planning initiative to ascertain readiness and ability to achieve a state designated cultural district for Downtown Lufkin. This initial planning period is the first step of what will likely be a three-to-five-year process. The partnership is funded by a generous $33,000 grant from the T.L.L. Temple Foundation and will help the organizations continue working with Social Impact Architects (SIA). SIA has led and advised efforts for Texas cities to achieve cultural district designations including Downtown Denton and Dallas.
T.L.L. Temple Foundation President Wynn Rosser explains, “The foundation is supporting this important initiative because designated cultural districts attract businesses, promote job development, create cultural opportunities and increase tourism. Our support will help the City and Angelina Arts convene stakeholders and leaders to be active participants in making this cultural district designation a reality. It would be a huge win for our community.” Lufkin City Manager Bruce W. Green added, “We believe the future of the City of Lufkin runs through its historic downtown, and we are thrilled the Angelina Arts Alliance is willing to lend its expertise in the arts to help create a thriving cultural district in the heart of the city. We anticipate great things to come for Lufkin from this strategic partnership.”
The partnership follows last month’s announcement that Angelina Arts relocated its administrative and box offices to 108 S. First Street. The new location is more accessible to all parts of the city and will be Lufkin’s one-stop shop for arts and entertainment. Angelina Arts will continue presenting its performance seasons at The Pines Theater downtown and the Temple Theater on the campus of Angelina College.
As authorized by House Bill 2208 of the 79th Legislature, the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) can designate cultural
districts in cities across Texas. Cultural districts are special zones that harness the power of cultural resources to stimulate economic development and community revitalization. These districts can become focal points for generating businesses, attracting tourists, stimulating cultural development and fostering civic pride. The goals of cultural districts are attracting artists and cultural enterprises to the community, encouraging business and job development, addressing specific needs of a community, establishing tourism destinations, preserving and reusing historic buildings, enhancing property values and fostering local cultural development.
Input opportunities for citizens, business leaders as well as cultural and tourism attraction representatives will be
available in the coming weeks and months.