The DAC Today

Currently housed in a naval reserve built in 1947, the Dougherty Arts Center (DAC) serves as one of Austin’s oldest and most cherished community arts centers. Founded in 1978, the DAC serves all ten of Austin’s council districts and has five distinct areas of programming including: Theater Performances, Community Rentals, Gallery Events, Art School and Artist Professional Development. In 2017, the DAC welcomed 66,000 visitors from every Austin zip code, hosted 596 programs and provided opportunities for nearly 5000 artists. The DAC generated over $640,000 in 2017 and is among the Parks and Recreation Department’s top revenue sites.

All the above stands as a testament to the DAC’s mission: to support emerging through established artists by creating opportunities to create, showcase and experience art first hand.

Dougherty Arts Center

The DAC Tomorrow

As identified in a conditions assessment completed in 2010, the DAC building is beyond repair. The building was established as a temporary structure meant to be razed in the 1970s, but was adopted as a permanent home that has outlived its viability. The Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) will need to provide a new facility in order to continue to provide arts center services in a safe, healthy and sustainable environment.

The DAC has been the focus of multiple studies which determined that the redevelopment at the current site, due to its location within the floodplain and atop a former landfill, is seen as prohibitive from a both a practical application and cost impact. PARD has and continues to investigate feasible opportunities for the facility’s redevelopment.

Currently, there is one site on City of Austin parkland being considered – the site at Butler Shores.

Potential benefits of the Butler Shores site include:

  • Site is within reasonable proximity and service area of existing DAC
  • Adjacency to PARD Main Administrative Office
  • Proximity to and potential partnership opportunities with the ZACH Theatre
  • Opportunity to improve parkland adjoining the PARD Main office and new DAC
  • Opportunity for shared structured parking facility
  • Opportunity to enhance Toomey Road streetscape and pedestrian connectivity to Zilker Park
  • Consistent with recommendations in Town Lake Park Comprehensive Plan and Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan
  • Site is City of Austin Parkland and properly zoned for construction of a parks facility.

Community Engagement

Community Engagement opportunities for the project’s planning phase have been completed, but results from meetings and surveys are linked below. The next phase of the process is presentations to boards, commissions and City Council, to take place in spring 2019. See the link below for current board, commission and council schedule.

Presentations to Boards, Commissions, and City Council

Community Open House #2

September 19, 2018
Zilker Botanical Gardens Download flyer
At the second open house, the project team shared the feedback received from the community during previous outreach, presented refined concepts, and collected additional feedback on the proposed development.

Community Open House #1

June 21, 2018
Dougherty Arts Center Download flyer
The first open house gave the community an opportunity to learn about the redevelopment project, speak with representatives from the project team and submit feedback.

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Supplemental Project Information