Cultural arts district possible in Buda

By Brittany Anderson

BUDA – Some members of the community are looking to expand on grassroots art programs and initiatives within Buda. 

Maggie Gillespie, Main Street program manager and assistant director of Destination Services, gave a presentation on the artist movement within the city to the council Oct. 12.

Part of the presentation included an art and cultural development analysis from Linda Chido, co-chair of the Buda Area Artist Collective. The analysis included recommendations for a cultural masterplan for the city, the creation of an arts commission, an AIPP (Art in Public Places) policy and the process of creating a cultural arts district for the city. 

“According to the Texas Commission on the Arts, supporting local arts can be a powerful economic development asset,” Gillespie said, while noting that the qualifications for creating a cultural arts district are a “bit tedious” and can take several years. 

Within the district, there must be a tracking of nonprofit or for-profit organizations, cultural events, music venues, hotels and bed and breakfasts, and artists who live or work in the proposed district. Additionally, the district must have a website, budget, management entity and goals for a 5-year period. 

“The benefit is that it attracts artists and cultural enterprises, encourages businesses and job creation, establishes tourism and fosters local cultural development,” Gillespie said. 

Mayor Lee Urbanovsky and other council members praised Chido’s thorough analysis and expressed their gratitude for the work of the Main Street Program and other local arts programs.

“Arts are often overlooked, but it’s so important, especially with what we’ve gone through the last couple years,” council member Paul Daugerau said. “Especially with our downtown area…hopefully soon we’ll have everything revitalized. I 100% back you guys and want to help out however we can to keep it going.” 

Gillespie said that while there wasn’t a formal recommendation in her presentation, one of the things they can continue to do is evaluate art events and programs in the city and work in a cultural aspect. 

The city council felt that Chido’s background, with two masters degrees in architecture and urban planning, could be a good resource for Buda.

Her analysis includes resources and examples from communities inside and outside of Texas with successful arts and cultural scenes.

“Cultural arts are woven into the fabric of Buda’s history,” Gillespie said. “Local artists are part of what make Buda unique and contribute to the small town charm that we have.”

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About Author

Brittany Anderson graduated from Texas State University in August 2020 with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She previously worked at KTSW 89.9, Texas State University's radio station, for nearly two years in the web content department as a writer and assistant manager. She has reported for the Hays Free Press/News-Dispatch since July 2021.

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