The Texas Commission on the Arts, in its September 7th, 2016 public hearing, named Texarkana as an official Texas Cultural District.

Texarkana was one of seven cities to receive this designation in 2016, including Waco, Arlington, Amarillo, Rockport, Plano and Salado.

This designation required an arduous application process that was completed by the steering committee of the Texarkana Arts & Historic District, which includes the following organizations: The Cities of Texarkana, Texas and Texarkana, Arkansas, the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Texarkana, the Texarkana Museum Systems, the Texarkana Regional Arts and Humanities Council, and the Texarkana Symphony Orchestra.

Jim Bob McMillan, Texas Commission on the Arts, described the program.

"As authorized by House Bill 2208 of the 79th Texas Legislature, the Texas Commission on the Arts can designate cultural districts in Texas,” McMillan said. “In this program, an organization by itself or representing a collaborative effort will file an application for that cultural district to be recognized. When a cultural district is designated by the Texas Commission on the Arts, a re-certification will be required every 10 years.”

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.

According to the Commission, the establishment of a cultural district requires a focus on the arts with carefully laid out plans and collaboration among arts organizations, city and county government entities, businesses and citizens.

Texarkana has applied twice before, but this year’s application was stronger and more fortified than ever before, proving to the commission that the Twin Cities are working together to build a culturally rich downtown. Texarkana is one of 35 cultural districts in Texas, and the first in the northeast region of the state.

The new designation also includes new opportunities for funding. As a recognized cultural district, the Texarkana Arts & Historic District will be eligible to apply for Cultural District Project Grants, which is approximately $2.5 million annually.

The district will soon announce plans for a ceremony honoring the cultural designation, which will include representatives from the Texas Commission on the Arts, elected officials, community leaders, and public partners.

For more information about the Texarkana Arts & Historic District, please visit this website.