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Houston City Council Approves New Arts And Cultural Plan

Houston has a new framework to support its creative community.

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The last time Houston adopted an Arts and Cultural Plan was in 1993.

If you ask Mayor Annise Parker, this one is overdue.

"We hadn't updated our arts and cultural plan in 20 years. The conversation was really important," she says.

Parker adds that one reason for the setback is the fact that Houston spends fewer public dollars on the arts per capita than any other major U.S. city. In Texas, it falls behind Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio.

One goal is to find additional ways of getting revenue.

"The conversation needs to be whether to go to the voters and ask for other resources, or how to generate a more consistent funding stream for those things that were identified as gaps," Parker says.

The plan also looks at the way current funding models are structured, such as the percentage of tax money some organizations receive annually. Many of those models were put into place decades ago.

When a new mayor takes office next year, Parker sees it as the public's responsibility to keep the discussion going.

"And then we hope that the arts community comes forward and weighs in with the next mayor and council on how to expand the pie for everybody," she says.

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