The Rockport Cultural Arts District (RCAD) is celebrating its five-year anniversary as the first Coastal Bend community designated by the Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) for its significant artistic legacy.
Rockport was honored with this designation Sept. 7, 2016, after a year of vetting by a Steering Committee, begun by Dr. Mitch Weis, then Board President for the Rockport Center for the Arts (RCA).
Sponsored by the Rockport Heritage and Arts District Association, RCAD’s application included public input meetings and a survey completed by more than 500 local residents.
The City of Rockport, Aransas County, and the Aransas County Navigation District all approved Resolutions of Support for the new District in 2016. Letters of support were provided by numerous entities, including the RCA, Rockport Little Theatre (RLT), Texas Maritime Museum, Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce, Aransas County Pathways, The Aquarium at Rockport Harbor, Aransas County Historical Society, Aransas County Historical Commission, History Center for Aransas County, Rockport Rotary Club, State Representative Todd Hunter, as well as local artists, galleries, businesses, and historic preservationists.
A defined, designated footprint, required by TCA’s criteria, was chosen in the Downtown Heritage District, where many important historical and cultural assets exist.
During its first five years, The RCAD has initiated and sponsored numerous activities and programs to honor Rockport’s unique culture, including the role that Vietnamese, Hispanic, and Black populations have contributed to the area. It has also sponsored several public art installations, including four murals and an emerging sculpture project.
“One of our proudest accomplishments has been our successful effort to save and restore the San Antonio – Aransas Pass Depot, a symbol of early development, free enterprise and entrepreneurship,” said RCAD Executive Director Jennifer Day. “Another has been our collaboration with other cultural entities like the RCA, including helping them secure funding because of our status as a State Cultural District. We have also helped new residents of the Downtown District, including the RLT, in their establishment and fundraising. We are very excited about a new initiative to join with other history organizations in a combined effort to attract cultural tourists to our area.”