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August 2010 — Web Exclusive

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Arts Bring Billions
to North Texas

Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in North Texas contributed more than $3.05 billion to the region’s economy over three years — $1.06 billion in 2009, $995.3 million in 2008 and $998.2 million in 2007, according to a study by the Dallas-based Business Council for the Arts and Deloitte.

After adjusting for inflation, the study pegs the impact of the arts on the region at more than $15 billion over the last 20 years.

“The economic impact study clearly shows that arts and culture are a vital component to our economy,” says Katherine Wagner, CEO of Business Council for the Arts. “We hope the results will focus national attention on the scope of cultural activities in North Texas and encourage enhanced corporate financial support for arts and culture in our region.”

The economic impact comprises direct and indirect spending by arts and cultural organizations, indirect audience spending and construction expenses related to new and existing facilities, including one-time capital improvements and expansions.

(Tracey Lamphere)

Small Businesses, Young Workers Love Austin

In July, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine named Austin as the Best City for the Next Decade, describing it as “arguably the country’s best crucible for small business.” In addition to attracting thinkers and doers, the city also was lauded for its extensive angel investor network. The magazine also noted the city’s “fun factor,” with its music scene and wealth of outdoor activities.

In addition, a new Portfolio.com study tapped Austin as first among the nation’s 10 best places for adults in their 20s and 30s. While two-thirds of the nation’s major markets lost jobs in the past five years, Austin added 99,200 jobs. According to the study, 28 percent of Austin residents are between the ages of 18 and 34. Portfolio.com analyzed the 67 U.S. metropolitan areas with populations above 750,000.

(Tracey Lamphere)

A Bigger, Greener Kimbell

Fort Worth’s world-famous Kimbell Art Museum is getting a $125 million expansion, due for completion in 2013.

An 85,000-square-foot building to be located to the west of the Kimbell’s original, Louis Kahn-designed facility will provide much-needed additional space for the museum. The Kimbell’s leaders say the museum’s exhibitions and educational programs have grown tremendously since it opened in 1972.

Italian architect Renzo Piano is designing the new building, which will provide extra galleries for travelling exhibitions and allow the Kahn building to house permanent collections. The new building also will provide classrooms, studios, an auditorium, an expanded library and underground parking.

Piano’s structure will require about one-fourth of the energy consumed by the Kahn building. His energy-saving design calls for 140 geothermal wells, dug 300 feet into the earth; rainwater collection to supplement city water; photovoltaic cells; LED lighting; and light-filtering window-shade systems.

“Sustainability is a high priority of the building program, and we are exceptionally happy with what Mr. Piano has envisioned,” says Kimbell Director Eric Lee. “Museums conserve art. They should also make every effort to conserve other precious things like energy and water.”

(Karen Hudgins)

WILLIAMSON, Collin counties HEALTHIEST

Williamson County tops a list of Texas counties with the best “health outcomes,” while Collin County offers the best “health factors.”

That’s the conclusion of a 2010 report from Mobilizing Action Toward Community Health (MATCH), a project of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The report ranks the health of Texas counties by health outcomes and health factors.

Health outcomes are measures describing the county’s current health status, including length and quality of life, while health factors include such things as lifestyle choices and access to and quality of health care.

The top 10 Texas counties by each measure are:

Rank Best Health Outcomes Best Health Factors
1 Williamson Collin
2 Collin Kendall
3 Denton Gillespie
4 Gillespie Rockwall
5 Kendall Williamson
6 Rockwall Comal
7 Travis Fort Bend
8 Comal Randall
9 Hays Travis
10 Fort Bend Hays

Source: “County Health Rankings 2010,” University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute

View the complete ranking of all Texas counties on their website.

(Karen Hudgins)      

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