By Cynthia Lackey
Since the early days of civilization on the Concho River, the people of Santa Angela have been promoting the arts and entertainment. San Angelo is lucky to have a strong arts community supported by its citizens and the city of San Angelo.
The San Angelo Cultural Affairs Council has been supporting the arts in San Angelo since 1978 and working with the city to invest the hotel occupancy tax revenues -- the city's portion of which is seven percent -- in the arts since 1989.
The Cultural Affairs Council has invested over $1.2 million of public and private funds in the arts in the Concho Valley through the core organization support of the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts, the San Angelo Symphony, Angelo Civic Theatre, San Angelo Broadway Academy, and the San Angelo Civic Ballet as well as many other organizations dedicated to arts and culture.
In 2015-2016, the Council awarded a total of $132,475 to local organizations through the hotel occupancy tax, Texas Commission on the Arts grant funds and private funds. Awards for 2015-2016 include:
• San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts: $42,402
• San Angelo Symphony Society: $35,697
• Angelo Civic Theatre: $22,288
• San Angelo Civic Ballet: $22,288
• Concho Christmas Celebration: $2,500
• Fort Concho: $2,500
• San Angelo Broadway Academy: $2,000
• Healthy Families: $1,500
• Art in Uncommon Places: $1,300
In addition to the core organizations, San Angelo boasts a thriving public and private arts community through arts activities supported by public organizations, public art installations, private galleries, the Fort Concho Historic Landmark, and activities and festivals promoted by different groups. The current economic growth in the city is supporting the opening of private art galleries, painting classes, dance studios, restaurants, and live music venues.
The San Angelo Performing Arts Coalition is poised to open the San Angelo Performing Arts Center in the fall and the City Auditorium is slated to finish in the spring.
The Cultural Affairs Council is looking forward to another exciting year with the Cactus Music Series and Cowboy Christmas Concert in Partnership with Fort Concho in the fall. Weldon Henson, an up and coming Austin country artist, will be the headliner for the Cowboy Christmas Concert. The Council will celebrate the 25th Gourmet Dinner in February with a special guest chef and then host the 33rd Annual Wine and Food Festival in spring 2017. Our wine and food festival is the longest continually running wine tasting in Texas!
Everywhere you look you will find some form of art in San Angelo. Downtown San Angelo hosts a monthly Downtown Stroll on the third Thursday of every month. Whatever your interest — visual arts, performing arts, historical arts, or culinary arts — San Angelo has what you are looking for.
The Cultural Affairs Council sends out a weekly e-newsletter promoting the arts. If you have not signed up to receive it, please take this opportunity to do so by visiting www.sanangeloarts.com.
Cynthia Lackey is the executive director of the San Angelo Cultural Affairs Council.