There’s A New Cultural District Coming
to Funky Town!


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Near Southside, a 1,400-acre district just south of downtown, emphasizes artistry, individuality and innovation. For over 20 years, Near Southside, Inc. has focused on the redevelopment and preservation of this historic area, but it’s ready to become Fort Worth’s latest destination for creativity. J.O. is pleased to announce Project Cultural District. We are teaming up with Near Southside, Inc. and leading the charge to apply for the cultural designation process with the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) this summer.

First, what is a cultural district?

According to Americans for the Arts, “A cultural district is defined as a well-recognized, labeled area of a city in which a high concentration of cultural facilities and programs serve as the main anchor of attraction.” In the Lone Star State, the TCA is the organization that manages the designation of the cultural districts. They define a cultural district as “special zones that harness the power of cultural resources to stimulate economic development and community revitalization.”

Who is the Texas Commission on the Arts?

TCA’s mission is to advance our state economically and culturally by investing in a creative Texas. TCA supports a diverse and innovative arts community in Texas, throughout the nation and internationally by providing resources to enhance economic development, arts education, cultural tourism and artist sustainability initiatives.

What does the Texas Commission on the Arts do?

TCA offers numerous resources to the arts and cultural industries including specialized services. They also provide a wealth of information for cultural districts and creative entities on fundraising, marketing, nonprofit basics and leadership transitions.

For more information about the Texas Commission on the Arts, visit their website.

TCA’s designation will allow the Near Southside to highlight its unique identity. The application requires detailed descriptions of the district’s assets, organization structure and planning, location, budgets and visitor tracking systems. This allows the Near Southside to play off its existing foundation of existing cultural strengths and ultimately grow into a well-known establishment for Fort Worth and the state as a go-to destination for the arts.

The designation will not only be beneficial to the Near Southside, but also to local businesses, residents and visitors of the area. The cultural district designation will provide the Near Southside with access to funding opportunities to attract more visitors, invest in small or new businesses, create job opportunities and continue to build a sense of community.

Cultural districts are established to protect, promote and grow investment in cultural assets such as art, entertainment, food, design, craftsmanship, cultural experiences and patronage.

As part of the application process, Jennifer Henderson, president of J.O., will work with the Cultural District Committee to dig deep into Near Southside’s identity and its future aspirations, taking the history and spirit of the Near Southside and using it to help shape its future. Our priority for the application is to establish the development of its cultural district goals, identity, mission and vision. Additionally, we will help create a five-year marketing plan and cultural plan that will coincide with Near Southside, Inc.’s current initiatives.

Fort Worth Cultural District
Fort Worth Cultural District

This designation process wouldn’t be possible without the help of the Cultural District Committee. Committee members represent key parts of the mixed-use neighborhood, ranging from artists, musicians, architects, creatives and developers. We are grateful for the support of each committee member whose passion for the neighborhood is unmatched.

Joe Ayala | Panther City Tattoo
Mike Brennan | Near Southside Inc.
Sarah Castillo | Tinie’s & TacoHeads
Natalie Chapa | Near Southside Inc.
Choke | Artist
Miranda Crowell | Volunteer
Clifton Crofford | SiNaCa Studios
Kathleen Culebro | Amphibian Stage Productions
Jeff Davis | Republic Title
Jason Eggenburger | 97w
Colleen Fischer | Genuis House Media
Doug Gault | Studio Cufflink
Steven Halliday | 97w
Shasta Haubrich | ART TOOTH
Jennifer Henderson | J.O. Agency
Megan Henderson | Near Southside Inc.
Laura Hunt | Artist
Bob Kelly | Robert W. Kelly Architect, Inc.
Cindy Lucio | The Texas White House
Nathan Madrid | ART ROOM
Jie Melchiors | Connex and Mel Arch
Jennifer Neil | F5 Design Build
Martha Peters | Art Council of Fort Worth
Erika Ramos | Game Theory
Stephonia Roberts | Metro Authors Group
Jenny Sanders | M2G Ventures
Dana Schultes | Stage West
Jesse Stamper | Placemaker Redevelopment
Katherine Ware | Cancer Care Services
Council Member Ann Zadeh | The City of Fort Worth

Way back in 2000, Henderson planted the J.O. headquarters flag in the Near Southside, and today we still love calling this creative, vibrant neighborhood our home. Over the years, we have witnessed the Near Southside transform before our eyes. What were once buildings that lay vacant all around us are now thriving businesses—all very unique. Near Southside has given J.O. a home to flourish, and we’re honored to give back and do the same.

For more information on how you can get involved, contact Jennifer Henderson at
Cathryn Lamb

Communications Intern

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