This makes Austin part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated Austin, Texas, the only new ‘City of Media Arts’, making Austin part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.
“In Austin, the creative sector is both a vital component of the local economy and an agent in building community identity and livability,” said City of Austin Mayor Steve Adler. “With this designation, we will also introduce the best of Austin’s artists and innovators to a worldwide audience, encouraging exciting new conversations and discoveries.”
Austin’s creative sector (music, film, gaming/digital media, nonprofit arts, visual arts, and arts tourism) contributes more than $4.35 billion in economic activity annually and nearly 49,000 permanent jobs. From 2005 to 2010, employment in the creative sector grew by 25%, faster than the economy as a whole.
"We look forward to leveraging our creative community, skill sets, and collective experience to strengthen international relationships and elevate all creative communities," said Kevin Johns, Director for the City of Austin’s Economic Development Department (EDD), who led the UNESCO Creative Cities application committee including Global Business, Cultural Arts and Music Divisions that submitted the City's proposal, with support from City of Austin Mayor Steve Adler, City of Austin Arts Commission, and community advisors from the arts, music, film, and digital gaming sectors. "We look forward to establishing opportunities for joint creative industry development with our new partners in the Creative Cities network. This is a great day for Austin."
In 2013, EDD was awarded an International Economic Development Council Gold Award for its International Economic Development Strategy, designed to strengthen Austin as a world-class business city where trade, finance, technology, and a diverse population enable local business to thrive in the global economy. One of the actions identified was to pursue a designation as a UNESCO Creative City to establish opportunities for joint creative industry development with other member cities.
Austin was the only 2015 UNESCO designated City of Media Arts – a reflection of our reputation as an innovative city, and a representation of many artistic disciplines – including visual art, music, film, and digital gaming.
Other cities added this year to the Creative Cities Network -- honoring and connecting cultural centers for design, music, crafts and folk arts, media arts and gastronomy, as well as literature -- include Adelaide, Australia; Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia; Baghdad, Iraq; Bamiyan, Afghanistan; Bandung, Indonesia; Barcelona, Spain; Belém, Brazil; Bergen, Norway; Bitola; Budapest, Hungary; Burgos, Spain; Dénia, Spain; Detroit, USA; Durán, Ecuador; Ensenada, Mexico; Gaziantep, Turkey; Indanha-a-Nova, Portugal; Isfahan, Iran; Katowice, Poland; Kaunas, Lithuania; Kingston, Jamaica; Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Liverpool, UK; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of the Congo; Lviv, Ukraine; Medellin, Columbia; Montevideo, Uruguay; Nottingham, UK; Óbidos, Portugal; Parma, Italy; Phuket, Thailand; Puebla, Mexico; Rasht, Iran; Rome, Italy; Salvador, Brazil; San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico; Santo, Brazil; Sasayama, Japan; Singapore, Singapore; Tartu, Estonia; Tongyeong, Republic of Korea; Tucson, USA; Ulyanovsk, Russian Federation; Varanasi, India.
“The UNESCO Creative Cities Network represents an immense potential to assert the role of culture as enabler of sustainable development. I would like to recognize the many new cities and their countries that are enriching the Network with their diversity,” declared the Director-General, as UNESCO celebrates in 2015 the 10th anniversary of the Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.
Launched in 2004 and now comprising of 116 Member Cities, the UNESCO Creative Cities Network aims to foster international cooperation with and between cities committed to investing in creativity as a driver for sustainable urban development, social inclusion and cultural vibrancy.
The City of Austin recognizes the importance of creativity to its vitality, livability, and economic success and supports the arts with funding, cultural assessments, and planning. In 2012, the City adopted the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, Austin’s plan for the future which prioritizes ‘Growing and investing in Austin’s creative economy’ to improve tourism offerings to stimulate trade and bring new resources to the community and create relationships with local, national, and international organizations to expand and sustain the financial, artistic, and cultural excellence of our music, film, digital industries, and nonprofit arts communities.
About the City of Austin Economic Development Department
The City of Austin’s Economic Development Department develops and leads innovative programs that increase the prosperity of all Austinites, businesses, and our diverse communities. For more information visit www.austintexas.gov/edd