About Us

City of San Antonio, Department of Arts & Culture Logo

About Us

Art can be a language through which a community expresses itself. Art can be a medium to bring people closer together. Art can serve as an instrument to channel difficult conversations. Art can educate a city on its past, present and future. At the Department of Arts & Culture, we strive to enrich the quality of life of San Antonio residents and visitors by leading and investing in San Antonio’s arts and culture. We hope to inspire the public to participate in the arts, whether it is through cultural events, public art, music, film or creating their own art.

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We are 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, Public Art San Antonio, Cultural Events & Exhibits and Film, Music & Marketing.


Arts by the Numbers - a look at what was accomplished in 2019
  • $7.2M – funds awarded to 48 art agencies in San Antonio
  • 4.2M – combined attendees to cultural events produced by funded art agencies
  • $57M – leveraged from other funding organizations 
  • 64 – San Antonio artists featured in department galleries
  • 15,629 – visitors to department galleries 
  • 29 – countries represented by visitors attending department exhibits 
  • 13 – San Antonio-based artists and fabricators worked on new public art installations 
  • 12 – new public art projects installed
  • 260 – days production companies filmed in San Antonio 
  • 20 – musicians featured during City Council meetings 
  • 5,263 – weekly e-newsletter subscribers
  • 34,398 – social media followers 


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

Department Accomplishments

September 2018 
San Antonio Music Commission approved the Music Strategic Plan.

April 2018
San Antonio Arts Coomissioned approved the Public Art Strategic Plan.

February 2018
San Antonio Arts Commissioned approved the Art Funding Guidelines.

June 2017
Americans for the Arts recognizes two Public Art San Antonio projects, "Midden Mounds Wickiups" and "Cactus," as "Outstanding Public Art Projects."

June 2017
San Antonio Arts Commission approved the Centro de Artes Strategic Visioning Plan

October 2016
San Antonio Film Commission Strategic Plan adopted by San Antonio City Council.

October 2016
DCCD becomes the Department of Arts & Culture.

April 2015
Creation of the San Antonio Arts Commission.

January 2014
El Mercado Zona Cultural plan to reinvigorate the west side of downtown is unanimously approved by City Council.

Summer 2013
DCCD coordinates incorporation of arts education into the Pre-K 4 SA curriculum and an arts education resource guide for schools.

May 2013
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.

October 2012
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.

October 2012
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.

Fall 2012
SA2020 Arts & Culture public survey released to gauge San Antonians’ perception and satisfaction with current local state of the arts and culture.

August 2012
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.

April 2012
Dr. Carmen Tafolla appointed inaugural San Antonio Poet Laureate.

March 2012 
Local Filmmakers Grant approved by City Council and first award of $25,000 given in September.

September 2011
X Marks the Art project to revitalize vacant downtown storefronts kicks off with six installations by local artists.

May 2011
City Council approves the 2012-2017 Bond Program, which allocates a full 1% for Public Art.

October 2010
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.

May 2009
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.

September 2009
San Antonio Neighborhood Tours launches to promote the authentic cultural identities of downtown, east, and west sides of town.

March 2009
Public Art San Antonio is established and a public art master plan is created.

March 15, 2008
First Luminaria arts event takes place on Houston Street downtown.

June 2005
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.

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.

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Friday, December 06, 2019