Our opinion: On the mergePublished 10:37am Thursday, August 15, 2013
Arts are an important part of any community and we are glad to see two of Austin’s biggest arts organizations working to build a closer bond.
The Austin Area Commission for the Arts and the Austin Area Arts Center are exploring a possible merger in advance of a big project to create a new arts center in downtown Austin. According to officials from both organizations, the new arts center would act as the administrative office for the Paramount Theatre. In addition, the new center would contain an art gallery, gift shop, potential wine bar and other amenities.
This strikes us as a good move for the arts in Austin. Each group has coexisted and worked together for years, but they have also competed for grant dollars in the past. What’s more, some residents still confuse the two groups — their acronyms, AACA and AAAC, are unfortunately similar.
That’s why a merger, or at least a close partnership with shared space, would likely be a boon for both organizations. The commission has taken on more projects over the past few years, including the Austin ArtWorks Festival and an upcoming Paramount expansion, while the volunteer-run arts center continues to produce new exhibits, new classes and new events like A Night of Wine and Art. By combining, both organizations can concentrate on their strengths while helping to improve each other.
The move is a smart one, provided both nonprofits can figure out the bureaucratic red tape to merge. We salute both organizations and look forward to the refocused, hopefully increased arts opportunities in Austin.