AUSTIN (KXAN) - The creative side of Austin puts nearly 50,000 people to work and pumps more than $4 billion into the local economy, a study unveiled Thursday by city officials shows.
The report prepared by the consulting firm TXP Inc. said that industries such as music, film, tourism and the visual arts have grown by about 25 percent between 2005 and 2010. Those industries also accounted for more than $71 million in city tax revenues.
"Austin is a place that appreciates creativity and culture in a variety of evolving forms, which serves to both attract and retain talented people," the study's summary says. "This in turn has a significant impact on business recruitment, retention, and expansion, as well as local entrepreneurship."
The report came out heading into the first weekend of Austin's South By Southwest annual music, film and interactive festival. While large events like that work to Austin's advantage, city officials said they are now looking at a unique idea to better cultivate Austin's grassroots creative sector.
"You have this 1930s art deco building that is going to be vacant with 36,000 square feet in it," said Kevin Johns, Austin's director of economic growth and redevelopment.
Legal activity at Austin's federal courthouse will soon move to a new building, and Johns said it will possibly leave behind a a place for the creative juices to flow.
"You can kind of put all the people in one place and see if you can kind of shake something out of them," he said.
The city's economic growth and redevelopment department is looking to transform the old structure into a venue to encourage and promote music, movies, games, and other arts that otherwise might not have much exposure.
"Something like an incubation space which has never happened here in Austin will allow for space and a platform for that creativity to thrive and grow," said Megan Crigger, the city's cultural arts division manager.
Obviously, Austin's already somewhere that's happening. The report said, In 2005, the creative industry brought $3.23 dollars to the local economy. Five years later, it was up to $4.35 billion a year.
Between 2005 and 2010, creative jobs here went from about 39,000 to nearly 49,000.
The report showed 1.78 percent of Austin's workforce comes from this sector. San Francisco is the only city with more, but but Portland and Nashville are not far behind.
That is where an incubator to grow those grassroots artists comes in.
"I think all of these areas are going to get so connected together that I think what you'll see is that it will be harder to separate them out in these traditional classifications," said Jon Hockenyos, TXP president.
Joining forces for a creative collaboration, Johns said, "(This) "Could make us really the top creative science city in the world."
The city said it is also exploring the use of the National Guard facility at Mueller in the future and should know something in as soon as three months about the courthouse.
"We're having some discussions with the feds about acquiring that and making that one of these kinds of places," said Johns.
Federal, state and local authorities on Wednesday arrested 15 people and seized 70 firearms in raid on a methamphetamine operation based in Burnet County.
A 13-year-old girl who told police she had been kidnapped from her school and assaulted on Monday, admitted to police she made the story up.
TxTAG’s customer call center lines are jammed as toll road violators scramble to pay up and avoid staying on a published scofflaw list.
The U.S. Grand Prix race in Austin next year will be held Nov. 2 and F1 weekend will not coincide with a UT Longhorns home football game.
One woman died early Wednesday after several shots were fired at a North Austin mechanic shop.
Bomb squad officials reported to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport after a suspicious package located in a cargo area Wednesday.