As authorized by H.B. 2208 of the 79th Texas Legislature, the Texas Commission on the Arts can designate Cultural Districts in cities across the state. Cultural districts can be found in all sizes of communities from small, rural ones to large urban districts, such as Dallas and Houston that have several Cultural Arts Districts within their boundaries. Currently there are 26.

The impact of Cultural Arts Districts is measurable by attracting residents and visitors who support businesses as well as lodging and dining establishments. Having arts present enhances property values, the profitability of surrounding businesses, and the tax base of the region. The arts can be a key incentive for new and relocating businesses, and contribute to the creativity and innovation of a community.

The King William Cultural Arts District is the only one in San Antonio, and was designated by the Board of Governors of the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) on September 8, 2011 by unanimous decision.
Our application to the TCA had to demonstrate the measurable impact that the Cultural District would bring to the community, and was described in terms of tourism activity, artist advancement, job creation, property value enhancement and/or general community revitalization.

Part of the TCA description of King William says, “This is the only neighborhood association in the state with three historic districts within its boundaries, including the oldest district created by city ordinance and two districts recognized by the National Register of Historic Places. All three districts share a common theme of historical and cultural importance.”
Some other comments from judges were:

  • “King William is the perfect place for a cultural district in Texas; this is a unique neighborhood in one of the most unique cities in Texas; there is nothing else like it in Texas.”
  • “The King William area has an abundance of cultural and artistic assets.”
  • “The proposed cultural district has a high percentage of artists and creative people that reside in the area; incentives for additional live and work space are in place that will encourage further development of the district.”
  • “The cultural planning and marketing plans are impressive and fit well into already existing efforts.”
  • “The proposed cultural district is well conceived, and offers the potential visitor a lot of bang for the buck.”

Texans for the Arts, along with the Texas Commission on the Arts, will be proposing to the current legislative session that there be funding for the Cultural Arts Districts in Texas. The King William Cultural Arts District is supportive of this effort as it would greatly benefit our area.

- Molly Shafer