Public Notice: Putting the Trust in Cultural Trust

New initiative to get a hold on arts and music venues

Public Notice: Putting the Trust in Cultural Trust

A city-funded initiative to "acquire/secure cultural arts and music venues" – either by aiding existing operators "that are at risk of displacement due to economic constraints," or by "acquisition or construction of new creative facilities space" – is about ready to spring into action, after a good long incubation period.

The city wheels do move slowly: City Coun­cil created the Austin Economic Develop­ment Corporation via a Kathie Tovo resolution back in May 2020, "with specific plans due by June 11," Rachel Rascoe noted in her column at the time ("Faster Than Sound: Could Austin Arts & Music Finally Get a Cultural Trust?" Music, May 29, 2020). And already at that point, "Tovo said city staff have already been instructed to plan a cultural trust and EDC on multiple occasions. ... 'Really, the intent of my putting [an EDC] in my resolution was to set some deadlines,' said Tovo. 'We have now directed the manager twice to create an EDC.'"

You can bet that lit a fire under someone at City Hall, because here we are, not even two years later (Council may have forgotten to specify which June), and the AEDC is a real thing, which has hired an employee and has indeed set up a Cultural Trust funded with $16.9 million in city money – $12 million from the 2018 bond package, coming from hotel occupancy tax and the General Fund – and is looking for places to spend it. A request for proposals is now open, accepting "proposals from qualifying respondents, organizations and operators of arts programming" to, as noted above, either preserve existing cultural or music venues, or buy or build new ones, which would be managed by the AEDC "for the preservation and expansion [of] the cultural and music ecology of Austin."

It's an ambitious and much-needed effort, to be sure, and it's had a number of good people behind it throughout its long journey to fruition. Of course, $16.9 million isn't a huge amount of money spread across the Aus­tin real estate market, and there are an awful lot of music clubs and arts organizations who've been feeling the pinch just as much as residential renters have. So the AEDC is going to have to be very judicious in their investments, and very aggressive in their further fundraising. Best of luck to them. For more about the fund, and to reply to the RFP, see And for a deeper dive...

The ULI Austin January Break­­fast will be a discussion about the AEDC Cultural Trust, with AEDC's first hire, Chief Transac­tions Officer Anne Gatling Haynes; John Riedie, head of the Austin Creative Alliance, a prime mover in creating the Trust; plus the Long Center's Cory Baker, and Katie Dixon, who used to lead Powerhouse Arts. That's Wednesday, Jan. 26, from 7:30 to 9am, both in person at the Headliner's Club ($75 for nonmembers, $55 for members, $20 for students) and virtually on Zoom ($30 for nonmembers, $15 for members, free for students); see more and register at

And, a reminder that the TxDOT meeting to reveal the newest version of the Capital Express Central plan to rebuild I-35 through Central Austin is coming up, in what TxDOT calls a CapEX VOICE (Volunteer Opportunity in Community Engagement) working group meeting: Tuesday, Jan. 25, 6-8pm at the Austin Central Library, and livestreamed on Zoom; register and get more info about the plan at

Send gossip, dirt, innuendo, rumors, and other useful grist to nbarbaro at

Got something to say? The Chronicle welcomes opinion pieces on any topic from the community. Submit yours now at

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Public Notice
Public Notice: Working Hard for the Money
Public Notice: Working Hard for the Money
City offers temp jobs and green job training … and lifeguarding

Nick Barbaro, May 13, 2022

Public Notice: Helping the Helpers
Public Notice: Helping the Helpers

Nick Barbaro, May 6, 2022

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle