Austin plans upgrades for African American Cultural Heritage District

This district contains assets that hold “significant economic, historical, cultural” importance, such as Huston-Tillotson University, the French Legation, Oakwood Cemetery, George Washington Carver’s Museum and more.

African American Cultural and Heritage Facility mural. (City of Austin)

Re-posted from Spectrum News 1

PUBLISHED 8:21 AM CT JUN. 24, 2022

East Austin is home to the robust African American Cultural Heritage District, but city leaders believe it’s underfunded and not enough people know about it. Now, an investment plan in the district is moving forward.

This district contains assets that hold “significant economic, historical, cultural” importance, such as Huston-Tillotson University, the French Legation, Oakwood Cemetery, George Washington Carver’s Museum and more. A resolution to reaffirm the designated cultural heritage district was approved by City Council last year.

“The City of Austin is dedicated to improving the quality of life for African American residents through the preservation of historic Black spaces, artistic cultivation, and by serving as a catalyst for social and economic development,” said Economic Development Director Sylnovia Holt-Rabb. “Our efforts to support the African American Cultural Heritage District will ensure we continue to recognize, celebrate, and preserve the vital contributions of our Black residents.

The district was created in 2007 to formally recognize areas that have a concentration of African American landmarks and historical and cultural assets. The plan set out by the City of Austin designates this district to be the first in the city to use a new framework that was created to retain and enhance economic districts. This includes designing and installing signage and branding to bring awareness to the district’s cultural significance.

A pilot program called Live Music Fund Event Program focuses on bringing resources to celebrate and showcase diverse cultural heritage in Austin. It will provide grant funds to musicians with performances, production and music broadcasting.

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