ACA Debuts Creative Infrastructure Initiative

New $100K initiative will aid displaced arts and music venues

ACA Debuts Creative Infrastructure Initiative

With arts and live music venues increasingly being displaced by rising rents and rapid development, the Austin Creative Alliance has just taken a big step to address the issue – a $100,000 step. The ACA is rolling out what it's calling a Creative Infrastructure Initiative, funded by a $100K gift from financial services advisor Roy Mullin.

ACA Executive Director John Riedie made the new effort public at last week's ACA Honors, the annual event at which the Alliance recognizes individuals and organizations that have made substantial contributions to the local creative scene. The ACA is keenly aware of the crisis facing existing spaces – at several public events, Riedie has shared the statistic gleaned from an ACA survey of 230 local creative entities that 52% expect to lose their space when their current lease expires – but the initiative is aimed more toward the arts and music venues of the future. Its prime directive is to support efforts to encourage the inclusion of creative spaces in more developments being planned and to create the policy tools that will make it easier for those new spaces to be built and preserved.

According to Riedie, the six-figure donation will be applied to research, grants, and planning staff in three related areas:

• Partnerships – bringing representatives of the live music and arts communities together with developers, the tech sector, school districts, and neighborhood associations to incorporate creative infrastructure into planned mixed-use and commercial developments;

• Public Policy – working for the adoption of municipal and county policies and tools that create incentives for existing creative venues to be preserved and new venues to be developed; and

• Community Investment – planning additional creative spaces that could be included in future bond elections.

The Alliance has already undertaken efforts in line with the initiative's goals, including a pilot program to place a flexible performance and arts education facility in a planned condominium, as well as the series of creative sector summits where it has facilitated community discussions about current space issues, future projects, and policy strategies.

For more information, visit the ACA website.

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