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By: Teddy Hoffman, Texans for the Arts Intern
Arts and culture make our communities unique and showcase our distinctive values and interests. They help attract new residents and new businesses that make our communities flourish. Without art and culture, our communities would lack essential value, education, and connection to one another. Noted for its strong community engagement and educational resources, Wichita Falls’ Alliance for Arts and Culture exemplifies these very qualities that make arts and culture essential.

The Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture strives to “strengthen and distinguish arts and culture in Wichita Falls; build enduring bonds among diverse communities; position the city as a regional center for arts activity; and make the arts more accessible throughout [their] community.” These four tenets are represented well within their various programs, and display their commitment to bettering the community.

Despite providing numerous enriching programs and opportunities, “nonprofit arts and cultural organizations saw a cumulative loss of more than $420,000 as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic”. “Fewer people were traveling – much less staying in hotels – during the pandemic. That meant fewer dollars available for the City grant cycles. Coupled with closings and cancellations, the nonprofit arts and culture sector in Wichita Falls saw a tremendous loss in revenue”, says Ann Arnold-Ogden.

We, Texans For the Arts, advocate for increased public funding for the arts in order to restore what was lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as in order for our vital arts organizations (like The Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture) to be sustainable and thrive.

When the ARPA funding regulations became available, we turned to Texans for the Arts to see how we could support our partner organizations. With their guidance, we were able to draft a request to city leaders illustrating the impact of these organizations on the community and highlight the challenges ahead. Texans for the Arts helped us every step of this process. Without their team’s guidance, we would have undoubtedly missed this opportunity.” – Ann Arnold-Ogden, Executive Director of The Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture

Following this request, Wichita Falls City Council recognized the need for arts and culture funding and “approved a plan to designate $250,000 for Arts and Culture Non-Profits. These funds will be designated for COVID-19 recovery & relief support for the arts in Wichita Falls through American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding.” Wichita Falls City Council understood that their community depends on the arts for the value, education, and connection it brings. Texans For the Arts (TFA) advocates for all others to recognize this essential quality that art holds, and for public funds to match this recognition. 

From this funding success, Ann Arnold-Ogden says “We are grateful to have Texans for the Arts as an ally and partner and to have forward-thinking leadership locally. We look forward to continue working with the City of Wichita Falls to distribute these relief funds to arts and culture organizations. After all, they contribute so much to the vitality and strength of our city – and they remain committed to providing services that benefit citizens and visitors of our amazing city.” – Ann Arnold-Ogden, Executive Director of The Wichita Falls Alliance for Arts and Culture 

When you join Texans for the Arts (TFA) at any dollar amount, you invest in ensuring that arts and culture endeavors are supported so that they can enrich our communities across Texas. Will you join TFA in demanding this vital aid? #EveryMemberCounts