The Department of Arts & Culture advocates for the growth of the local creative industry by increasing awareness of the impact and value of arts and culture to the city. Its mission is to foster San Antonio’s creative community by supporting local arts organizations and individual artists. Helping to make San Antonio an exciting place to live and visit, the Department develops and markets a wide range of programs and events.
The Department of Arts & Culture is funded by the hotel occupancy tax and supported in part by the Texas Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. The department's policies and procedures are advised by the San Antonio Arts Commission, whose members are appointed by City Council and the Mayor.
The department is comprised of four divisions: Arts Funding Leadership, Public Art San Antonio, Cultural Events & Exhibits, and the San Antonio Film Commission.
History of the Department
The Department of Arts & Culture was previously the Department for Culture & Creative Development (DCCD) from 2013 to October 2016. Prior to 2013, the department was known as the Office of Cultural Affairs (OCA). The department was established by City Council in 1983 as the official agency to promote the arts and cultural development for the city of San Antonio.
The Department of Arts & Culture works with partners around the city to realize its vision of improving the quality of life for San Antonio residents and enriching the experiences of visitors. Some of those partners are:
Center City Development and Operations Department, City of San Antonio
Diez y Seis de Septiembre Commission
International Relations Office, City of San Antonio
San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
November 12, 2003
Office of Cultural Affairs hosts Richard Florida, urban planning expert, at “Finding Ways: A Conference on Art, Culture, & the Creative Economy,” propelling the development of an arts and culture plan for San Antonio.
The Cultural Collaborative (TCC) plan is presented to community followed by the first Creative Economy Report showing total economic impact of the creative industry of just over $1.2 billion, with 9,457 employees paid over $270 million in wages.
March 15, 2008
First Luminaria arts event takes place on Houston Street downtown.
Public Art San Antonio is established and a public art master plan is created.
San Antonio Neighborhood Tours launches to promote the authentic cultural identities of downtown, east, and west sides of town.
Second San Antonio Creative Economy report is released showing the creative industry in San Antonio generated $3.38 billion in economic activity, supporting 26,744 jobs and $1 billion in wages in 2006.
Neighborhood Film Project competition kicks off, presenting films based on the San Antonio Neighborhood Tours as a way to promote use of this cultural tool.
City Council approves the 2012-2017 Bond Program, which allocates a full 1% for Public Art.
X Marks the Art project to revitalize vacant downtown storefronts kicks off with six installations by local artists.
Local Filmmakers Grant approved by City Council and first award of $25,000 given in September.
Dr. Carmen Tafolla appointed inaugural San Antonio Poet Laureate.
Third San Antonio Creative Industry report is released showing the creative industry in San Antonio generated $4.6 billion in economic activity in 2011 while employing 29,852 workers earning wages of $1.1 billion.
SA2020 Arts & Culture public survey released to gauge San Antonians’ perception and satisfaction with current local state of the arts and culture.
Office of Cultural Affairs becomes DCCD: gains Film Commission, La Villita Historic Arts Village, Historic Market Square, Spanish Governor’s Palace and Mission Drive-In.
Unity Plaza, a multimedia installation featuring mosaics, sculpture and lighting at the city’s new Public Safety Headquarters is unveiled, marking San Antonio’s largest and most ambitious public art project to date.
Ballroom Luminoso, illuminating the IH-35 underpass between Theo and Malone streets with large spheres made of recycled bicycle parts, is completed. This public art project later won a SXSW Eco Award for Transformative Design for its positive community impact.
DCCD coordinates incorporation of arts education into the Pre-K 4 SA curriculum and an arts education resource guide for schools.
El Mercado Zona Cultural plan to reinvigorate the west side of downtown is unanimously approved by City Council.
Creation of the San Antonio Arts Commission.
DCCD becomes the Department of Arts & Culture.
San Antonio Film Commission Strategic Plan adopted by San Antonio City Council.