Imagine Austin Annual Report      September 2019

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Creative Economy

Growing and investing in creative culture is a cornerstone of the Austin's identity, as well its economy. The focus of the Grow and Invest in Austin's Creative Economy Priority Program is to encourage and support Austin’s live music, festivals, theater, film, digital media, and new creative art forms. In order to support the creative industry, this priority program will include educational and economic programs as well as programs that provide affordable transportation, work space, housing, and healthcare.



Program Champion:

Laura Esparza

Departments: Parks and Recreation, Planning and Zoning, Austin Public Library, Economic Development, Aviation

Creative Space Assistance Program

The second iteration of the Creative Space Assistance Program (CSAP) provides $750,000 in grant support to support creative organizations facing permanent displacement, those previously displaced, or those facing lease renewals at substantially higher rates amidst a volatile real estate market. Successful applicants commit to participating in technical assistance, retaining employment levels, and professional development or career development workshops. Learn more at

Artist Access Program

Facilitated through a partnership between the Parks and Recreation Department and the Cultural Arts Division with funding provided by City Council through Hotel Occupancy Tax funding, 13 arts organizations were selected through an adjudicated process for free rehearsal space and low-cost performance space to provide programming for tourists and locals alike with more than half the beneficiaries being multicultural groups or artists of color. Learn more at

The Austin History Center, Austin Public Library, created an oral history program and exhibit about the history of each of Austin’s ten Council districts in this "Know Your District History" ten-part series. The centerpiece for the Know Your District History event is a Pop-Up Museum - a community driven display of items that tell the story of each district with brief essays written by residents and supplemented by items from the Austin History Center relating to the district.


Learn more and find an event near you here.

Know Your District History Series

Oakwood Cemetery Chapel

Oakwood Cemetery, Austin’s oldest cemetery received a makeover to enhance its appeal to visitors and on May 1, 2019 Oakwood Cemetery Chapel’s Visitor Center opened to provide tours and resources for individuals exploring their ancestors or Austin’s diverse city buildings. The Chapel will also serve as the Parks and Recreation Department’s first “Community Creativity Center,” an idea born of the CEPP, to provide a space to activate community creativity. 

Learn more at

The City of Austin’s Music & Entertainment Division launched the Tip the Band Program, which is designed to address the issue of Austin affordability within the musician’s community by utilizing technology to create new revenue streams for artists. Through the use of a digital vessel called a DipJar, 10 local Austin artists or bands are provided the ability to collect digital tips, supported by a marketing and promotional campaign.  

Tip the Band Program

Historic Preservation

In 2018, the Historic Preservation Office received a National Park Service Underrepresented Communities Grant to support community engagement around historic preservation in two historically significant African American and Mexican American neighborhoods, as well as three National Register historic district applications.



As Austin’s economy grows so does its cost of living and the price of real estate.  Austin’s musicians and artists have been the life blood of Austin’s cultural landscape, yet affordability issues continue to diminish the numbers of those who can afford to live here. Space for artistic production has also continued to be threatened by skyrocketing rents and development interests.