CreateAustin: The City Gets the Plan

After two years in the making, the community cultural plan has been presented to the Austin City Council

After almost two years of interviews, brainstorming sessions, forums gathering community input, task-force meetings, and much meticulous crafting of language, the CreateAustin plan was formally presented to City Council on Thursday, June 5. More than 70 people turned out for the event – about as many as served on last summer's task forces, hammering out the 33 recommendations for the community plan that aims to transform the city's cultural landscape over the next 10 years. Not everyone in the crowd gave up six weeks last summer to develop the recommendations, but the task forces were well represented, as was the 70-member Leadership Council that has been instrumental in guiding the planning process since December 2006. The turnout was a measure of the deep investment in this plan many of the participants feel; they wanted to see firsthand the response when the city's governing body got a look at their proposals.

The result, as happens sometimes, was a touch anticlimactic. Mayor Wynn, along with Council Members Sheryl Cole, Betty Dunkerley, Lee Leffingwell, Mike Martinez, and Brewster McCracken, listened politely as Cultural Arts Program Manager Vincent Kitch reviewed the planning-process timeline, then consultant Bill Bulick of Portland, Ore.-based Metropolitan Group laid out the "10 big ideas" that CreateAustin promotes for upgrading local creativity. Their demeanor didn't change when he highlighted the three top recommendations: Establish an ongoing Leadership Council, create a community-based Creative Alliance, and form a city Department of Arts and Culture. Even when Leadership Council Chair Cookie Ruiz described all the activity since planning was completed – conducting a survey of arts education programs, building an inventory of cultural venues, researching structures for the Creative Alliance (efforts in which this writer has been active) – and alluded to a substantial private grant for funding such an alliance (thereby freeing the city from another financial obligation), they remained restrained. The only question from the dais, raised by Martinez, concerned models and costs for a Department of Arts and Culture. With city resources at stake, you can expect more council dialogue on that front. Meanwhile, the CreateAustin participants who came for the presentation – and many of their colleagues who didn't – have gone back to work at making their plan reality. (For more on CreateAustin, see "Shape of Things to Come," March 7, or visit

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More CreateAustin
Plan, Be
Plan, Be
The citizens who spent years dreaming up CreateAustin are now working to make it real

Robert Faires, Sept. 25, 2009

Shape of Things to Come
Shape of Things to Come
What will the arts in Austin look like in 10 years?

Robert Faires, March 7, 2008

More by Robert Faires
Introducing the 2019 Class of the Austin Arts Hall of Fame
Introducing the 2019 Class of the Austin Arts Hall of Fame
The stories behind the art transformers of this year's Hall of Fame inductees

May 24, 2019

"Rosa Nussbaum: Horizonland" at Women & Their Work
The artist draws on her experience as a stranger in a strange land without her own wheels, viewing the world through the lens of a car window

May 24, 2019


CreateAustin, Vincent Kitch, Bill Bulick, Cookie Ruiz

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