City Hopes Public Art Master Plan Leads to Cultural Arts District and More Tourism | News

City Council has approved a public art master plan in hopes that the state will designate Granbury as a cultural arts district.

If this happens, artists will attract tourists to a walkable arts district and the city will attract lots of greenery.

The appointment of the Texas Commission on the Arts is seen as a boost to economic development.

The masterplan created by the Granbury Cultural Arts Commission includes sculpture, particularly behind City Hall, which adjoins scenic Shanley Park; water characteristics; art that “creates natural gathering places” and is “good for photo ops”; and other arts-related events similar to the annual Harvest Moon Arts Festival.

The project was approved at the regular council meeting on Tuesday April 5, following a brief presentation by Cora Werley, who chairs the Arts Commission.

“God willing, in 2023 we’ll be approved for this…and it’ll be great for tourism,” Werley said of a cultural arts district.

Granbury Opera House

She said the Commission will not wait to receive the designation to begin “right now” the creation of a slogan and logo for the arts of Granbury and to move forward with a project that involves windows at the Opera.

Werley did not provide details of the project during his presentation, but Commission Member David Southern told Hood County News that it involved painting scenes relevant to Granbury’s history on window cutouts at the historic performance theater in the square. The project would be partially funded by donations from the Inge family.

Southern said Charles Inge had expressed a desire to see murals painted over these window cutouts, which are made of rock and contain no glass like real windows, before his death in 2020.

He said the Commission discussed using $10,000 from the Inge Fund and $10,000 from the city or community donations to complete the project in the 2022-23 fiscal year.

Southern said the Commission may offer to seek public input on what scenes the murals should depict. He noted that the scenes would have to be approved by the city’s Historic Preservation Commission.

The 15-page public art master plan includes goals, budget information, public art acquisition criteria, and guidelines for public art management and maintenance. He proposes the creation of a Cultural Arts District website accessible through links on the City and Visit Granbury websites.

Besides Werley and Southern, members of the Cultural Arts Commission include Janice Horak, Barbara Loyd, Stacey Martin, Mickey Parson and Mary Ella Riley.

The Commission was created by City Council in 2018. The City has also established a Public Arts Policy to guide the Commission in creating its master plan.

The panel gathered feedback from local residents through surveys and worked with community and business associations, stakeholders, land and business owners, and city staff.

Langdon Center 4

The sculptures at the Langdon Center near Granbury Square are a tourist favourite, according to Cultural Arts Commission member David Southern.

The board’s adoption of the master plan included commitments that impact budgeting over the next five years.

The budget indicated in the master plan for the 2022-2023 fiscal year, which will begin on October 1 and run until September 30, 2023, is for a minimum income of $70,000. Of this amount, $20,000 will come from stakeholder contributions and the rest will come from the city through the hotel occupancy tax and remaining funds provided by the Inge family.

Budgets for future years that are included in the master plan increase slightly with each budget cycle and include increasing amounts for grants from the Texas Commission on the Arts – $3,000 for 2023-2024, $5,000 for 2024- 2025 and $10,000 for 2025-2026.

Southern noted that the biggest tourist attraction in Oslo, Norway is the sculpture garden behind its city hall. He said the sculptures outside the Langdon Center near Granbury Square are a tourist favourite.

“It’s surprising,” he said, “but people will drive to see public art. And cultural art is tourism.”

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