Interactive Public Meetings Hope to Shape Fort Worth Arts Future

Arts Council Working on New Strategic Cultural Plan for 2014

Shaping the future of the arts has been the goal of several public meeting this week in Fort Worth.

After budget cuts and debates in recent years, arts leaders are now working on a plan for the future with the community's help and guidance.

Public meetings rarely call for high-fives, but that's exactly what's been happening during these creative and interactive meetings. The goal is to generate ideas as to what the next strategic city plan for arts and culture should look like.

On Friday morning, about three dozen people took part in the second of four public meetings. They generated Post-it notes full of ideas, collaborated with other attendees and their work will be used to generate the Cultural Plan 2014. It's a follow-up from the one created in 2002. The city Arts Funding Task Force recommended the plan be updated, to help establish priorities, as it worked to figure out how to and how much to fund public art.

"So, it's really important to say, 'What were we looking for in 2002? What did we achieve? What didn't we achieve and why? And then what can we do in the future?'" said Jody Ulich, president of the Arts Council of Fort Worth & Tarrant County.

The goal is to figure out exactly what citizens want to see on their streets, in their neighborhoods and parks, at local playhouses and everywhere else. The plan will be presented to the city council sometime in December or January.

"This opportunity to participate is a great one," said Melissa Konur, who attended Friday morning's meeting.

Konur said she feels its important to make sure future generations have the same kind of art and culture the current ones are enjoying now.

"I think that's the importance of this plan, to really think big," she said. "If you are not able to think big than these ideas won't come together."

Ulich says she's already seeing ideas and people coming together as part of the process.

"We're really getting people out we haven't had a chance to get input from," she said.

As everyone in attendance Friday hopes a new plan will keep the arts flourishing.

A public meeting is scheduled again for Saturday, at the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts at 10 a.m.

Four more meetings are being planned for mid-July in the community. Those who want to contribute but weren't able to attend the public meetings can still do so online (CLICK HERE).

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