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About the Downtown Arts District

In 2016, several entrepreneurs and landlords in the downtown area of Baytown decided it was time for businesses to regroup, form an organization, and see about getting more activity in the neighborhood. I say regroup because there was an organization that was started in this area several years before, but it disbanded after a time. By talking to some of our current members who were a part of it, we found that some good came out of it, like the Christmas on Texas Avenue Festival, so we hoped to build on what was started.

Katrina from Cork Grinders had been kind enough to open her wine bar up to us in March of 2016.  Since that initial meeting, our organization has been building slowly but surely. In 2017 we filed with the Secretary of State for our official name and in 2018 we received our 501(c)(3) nonprofit status through the IRS. Our mission is, ‘To promote the revitalization of historic Baytown through projects in the arts, culture, and entertainment.’  Each year we hold an increasing number of events, we donate art around the downtown town area, help new business owners set up a home for their business, and work with the city to upgrade the aesthetics of the area. The City of Baytown continued to emphasize the direction that they would like the area to develop in by renaming the area, the Downtown Arts District in 2018.

We have been highly active in the community holding events such as the Christmas on Texas Avenue Festival, Black History Month Celebration, International Woman’s Day Event, Praise and Worship events, our Summer Music Festivals, Trunk or Treat on Texas Avenue, and Caribbean Vibes on the Avenue.  We have had success in working with the city to review and remove the 2-hour parking signs in the area, a staple since 1977! The city used our input when the Façade program was revamped, a grant/matching program for landlords.  The city has been a great partner collaborating with us on ideas and events for the downtown arts district.   

The area has blossomed with many murals, our award-winning Umbrella Alley and now there will be a Sculpture Trail. The Sculpture Trail is our biggest endeavor since inception, and we are excited about adding this program to the successes that have come with the growth of our organization. The local councilman has stated that he has seen tremendous growth in the last five years in the Downtown Arts District. We are proud to have been a catalyst for that growth.

The City of Baytown’s Parks and Recreation Department offers us a lot of support as they provide both manpower and event support. We have received sponsorships over the years from corporations, (HEB, ExxonMobil, Chevron-Phillips, Waste Management,) the City of Baytown’s HOT Grant program, and many private companies. Our programs are community oriented and we are confident that we will continue to receive contributions and seek out and apply for grants to support them. Our biggest fundraiser, Christmas on Texas Avenue Festival, has been a staple in Baytown for 24 years.  We inherited this festival from the Art League of Baytown in 2017 and have grown it each year. 

 

Our future looks very promising.  With our Sculpture Trail getting ready to take off, many events on the calendar and an avid interest by businesses, artists, the City of Baytown, and visitors, we are well on the way to becoming a destination again.