Longview arts organizations will receive nearly $ 200,000 from the Texas Arts Commission with money to support performances, art installations and major transformations in the Arts cultural district! Longview.
Much of the money that would reach local organizations would not be available if it were not for the designation of Longview Cultural District. Longview received the designation in 2019, with the district spanning from the center east to the Historic Train Depot and then south along Mobberly Avenue to LeTourneau University.
Local grants range from $ 976 to $ 11.6 million statewide that were approved by the Texas Arts Commission in the first round of funding in fiscal year 2022. The money will go to to nonprofits and government agencies in 121 Texas cities.
The Longview Museum of Fine Arts, Arts! Longview, ArtsView Children’s Theater and Longview Symphony League received the largest local grants in a segment of funding dedicated to projects in the cultural district.
The Longview Museum of Fine Arts grant includes $ 61,792 for the renovation of the museum’s planned new home in the former Longview National Bank and Regions Bank building on the corner of Fredonia and Methvin streets in the city center. The museum previously received $ 87,300 from the project commission.
“We’re thrilled,” said the museum’s executive director, Tiffany Jehorek. “It’s for the renovation of the building and we couldn’t have requested it if we weren’t a cultural arts district.”
It is one of the largest grants awarded statewide. Grants require organizations to provide local matching.
Jehorek said the project is estimated to cost about $ 8 million and that the museum has raised about $ 3 million to achieve that goal. Provisional plans, based on numerous factors, would allow the museum to move from Tyler Street to the bank building in January 2023.
“(The commission) was delighted with the possibility of what we can do to improve the cultural district,” Jehorek said.
Much of the art museum’s first grant went to architectural fees, he said.
The second grant will fund work that could begin around the first of the year and would include signage and some interior work.
“We are still in the planning stages,” Jehorek said, including deciding whether and how the work will be phased out once the project bids show the final price.
“This is no small thing. It will really change the dynamics of the city center. I think it will be a regional destination,” he said. The building will attract people interested in the art, but its architecture, the way it will be reused to highlight banking features, will also attract people, he said. He also hopes to have a rooftop restaurant.
“I think it will be the place,” he continued.
The $ 55,000 Arts will receive! Longview is its second commission grant, with executive director Cynthia Hellen explaining that it will go to several projects, including a project at the Historic Train Depot on Mobberly and Pacific Avenues.
Hellen, who is the first executive director of Arts! Longview, has announced that he will retire. The organization is looking for a replacement to start on November 1st.
The deposit project will help expand the cultural district’s recognition, he said.
“That’s one of the things we really want to do this year is start expanding, just move the knowledge of the cultural district beyond the basic 100 acres of heritage,” Hellen said, referring to the city’s original site of Longview. “100 acres is where ArtWalk has traditionally been, but (the cultural district) is really bigger than this footprint. It goes to Mobberly or Sixth Street and goes down to LeTourneau. The whole trip down Mobberly Avenue that connects downtown and LeTourneau is really cultural district “.
The grant will provide a match with Hubbard-Whatlington Foundation funding for the project on deposit. Griff Hubbard, who for decades was the face of Longview’s Amtrak service at the depot, said his family’s foundation was created in 2005 and provided the first $ 25,000 for the renovation of the depot.
“Our wonderful repository, our wonderful repository and I can’t say enough superlatives: the interior has never been decorated,” said Hubbard, who added that it was intentionally not part of the original restoration. To stay true to the time period of the building, it is painted smooth in the interior.
The wall space could be used to hang art promoting Longview, Gregg County and the history of the Longview Railroad, Hubbard said. He said the project would also include works of art on a fence that already represented the logos of all the railway companies that have served Longview in its more than 150 years.
Hellen said Arts! Longview would also use the commission grant for two outdoor sculptures. He still doesn’t know exactly where they will be.
The money will also go to a third entrance monument near LeTourneau University.
Funding for the ArtsView Children’s Theater includes $ 32,697 “to support facility improvements to improve accessibility, safety and the number of visitors to the Arts! Longview Cultural District.”
The Longview Symphony League will receive funding that includes $ 16,500 “to support programming aimed at highlighting and celebrating black culture through the arts and arts education. Longview Cultural District.”