The City of Dallas Office of Arts and Cultures works to ‘enhance the vitality of the city’

Photo by Emily Jackson on Unsplash

The City of Dallas Office of Arts and Culture (OAC), under the leadership of Jennifer Scripps, the director of arts and culture, is responsible for creating and maintaining partnerships, support, and opportunities with local artists and art organizations, residents of Dallas, and visitors.

Benjamin Espino, the assistant director, speaks on some of the ways the organization goes about achieving its mission.

“We have a public art program [in which], for every City of Dallas Bond Project, a certain percentage of the funds are set aside to create a public art project at something like a fire station or a library.”

Public art projects are only one of the aspects of the OAC.
They also provide ArtsActivate Grants which give individual artist and non-profit organizations a chance to receive $5,000-$10,000.

These projects, “Engage with communities, old and new, to provide a more equitable, diverse, and supportive arts ecosystem for the City of Dallas,” their website reads.

There are three application periods for the ArtsActitivate Grants.

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3
Application Period:
June 28 – July 26, 2021
Earliest Project Start Date:
October 1, 2021 Application Period:
September 7 – October 4, 2021
Earliest Project Start Date:
January 1, 2022 Application Period:
December 6, 2021 – January 3, 2022
Earliest Project Start Date:
April 1, 2022

Finally, the OAC works to enhance the vitality of the city, according to Espino, through its many cultural venues.

The OAC directly operates seven arts and cultural facilities throughout Dallas, and manages twelve others through private/public partnerships with non-profit organizations.

These have several venues offering a wide range of art programs, services, and cultural specific settings. The Latino Cultural Center, for example, promotes Latino and Hispanic arts and culture; while the South Dallas Cultural Center offers a variety of programs inspired by the African diaspora. Both of which operate under the OAC.

Recounting his experience as the assistant director, Espino states, “I think that, now that we’re coming out of COVID, as assistant director I get to watch our cultural center come back to life, bringing programing that is successful to everyone…It’s a privilege to be able to provide opportunities for people to view and share art the way we do.”

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