We love our city, and we love our amazing annual festivals. 2020 has been a tough year for a lot of reasons, but one of those is watching our friends make tough decisions to postpone our favorite annual events. As we’ve come to expect from the amazing team at Near Southside, lemons are actively being transformed into lemonade as we try to make the best of the year of the pandemic. This just in from Near Southside:
Near Southside, Inc. Members, Partners and Friends –
In the time since our spring outdoor event cancellations, we’ve been assessing prospects for upcoming events including ArtsGoggle, PARK(ing) Day, and the remainder of the Friday on the Green season. We know that you have also been thinking about these important Near Southside community events and that for many of you they are not only a beloved annual tradition, but also a means of income.
We’ve monitored conditions, taken guidance from public health officials, and consulted with our production partners for many months. There is little clarity in what public health conditions will be in the late summer and early fall for events that require planning and financial investment many months prior to their date. As COVID-19 numbers continue to rise locally, it’s clear that a return to normal life isn’t likely to happen soon.
With an abundance of caution for your safety, today we are announcing the cancellation of our remaining 2020 outdoor community events including ArtsGoggle, PARK(ing) Day, and the September and October Friday on the Green concerts. We’re disappointed that we aren’t sharing better news, but we remain hopeful that we will return for a dynamo 2021 season.
Despite the cancellations, the fall still offers exciting opportunities for our Near Southside community. Below, we’re sharing new projects planned in lieu of our regular programming with artists remaining front and center.
Again, we want to thank all of you for the incredible Near Southside spirit we see on display everyday as you face challenges of all kinds. We’re here to help you in any way we can so that we make it through these tough times together. Let’s stay strong and all do our best to keep each other healthy!
Your friends at NSI,
2020 FRIDAY ON THE GREEN SEASON IS CANCELLED
If you would like to embrace the spirit of Friday on the Green this year, we encourage you to find opportunities to support local musicians, sound engineers, makers and food entrepreneurs. They are undoubtedly vulnerable as the city experiences wide-scale event postponements and cancellations, and we are dedicated to remaining their partner and advocate during these difficult times.
WHAT WE ARE DOING
In April, we established the Southside Culinary Arts Retail Entertainment and Service Fund to provide $250 relief grants to Near Southside creatives, gig and service workers that are experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Since launching, the fund has received broad support from the Near Southside community. To date, our generous donors have raised over $140,000 and issued more than 540 grants to those in need. WOW!
However, as of today demand now exceeds capacity
and those who apply are being waitlisted for help.
With another round of mandated closures for bars, breweries, and events, many in our community are in urgent need of financial assistance.
YOUR DONATION IS URGENTLY NEEDED
Please help us keep the Southside C.A.R.E.S. Fund operating.
Donate via PayPal phone app @southsidecares or at wegetbytogether.com.
2020 PARK(ing) DAY IS NOW SIX MONTHS LONG!
Our annual participation in PARK(ing)
Day is a part of a global event that turns everyday on-street parking spaces into one-day parks, playgrounds, patios and people spaces. This year’s global event is planned for Friday, September 18 but
we have decided it is best to sit this year out. Fortunately, parklets will still call the Near Southside home this year.
WHAT WE ARE DOING
Near Southside restaurants and retailers currently face limited occupancy indoors, so in partnership with the City of Fort Worth, we have helped to establish a City-led temporary Parklet Program. Now central city businesses with nearby on-street parking can reserve parking zones as patio expansion areas for up to six months. The program increases the footprint of vulnerable businesses and offers diners and patrons a safer outdoor experience. Parklets can be as elaborate as the structures you’ve seen at PARK(ing) Day events or a simple as a few outdoor tables with traffic protection. Not all business will participate, but we have heard from many who are interested and planning to apply. For details, click here to learn more about the Parklet Program. Please encourage your favorite street-side businesses to participate.
ARTSGOGGLE IS OFF BUT ARTOBER IS NOW ON.
There is a lot to consider when planning ArtsGoggle: the artists, musicians, food vendors and production partners that depend on this event for their livelihoods; the huge economic boost that it offers our district’s retailers and restaurants; the tens of thousands of faithful friends who enjoy the event every year as patrons; and our organization’s focus on making art and culture a priority in the Near Southside.
But above all, we must first consider the health and safety of everyone involved. We aren’t confident today that we can produce the traditional ArtsGoggle program and ensure safety to our partners and patrons. So, with great care and thought, we must cancel ArtsGoggle 2020.
WHAT WE ARE DOING
“My barn having burned down, I can now see the moon.”
– Mizuta Masahide (17th century Japanese poet and samurai)
We’re mixing up a big pitcher of Southside lemonade! If we can’t hold our annual one-day, no holds barred, celebration of arts and culture then we will hold a one-month virtual version good enough to become an annual tradition.
ARTober (Art+ October = ARTober) planning is underway for a month of virtual experiences that advance the arts and cultural assets of the Near Southside. We have a long list of ambitious ideas ready for feasibility vetting, but here is a preview of what we have in mind:
Near Southside is working with Minneapolis-based nonprofit development group Artspace to study the feasibility of building a Near Southside Creative Incubator project that would provide housing and workspaces for artists and other creative sector workers, as well as space for anchor arts organizations and early stage creative businesses. This project could help shape a new future for Fort Worth’s creative community by addressing pressing needs such as affordable housing and workspaces for Near Southside artists, while delivering an innovative project unlike any in Fort Worth.
In October, we will host a series of virtual focus group discussions, led by Artspace, that will engage a diverse set of leaders from the creative, philanthropic, financial, civic, and development sectors, to assess our community assets and needs, solicit ideas, and discuss potential paths for collaboration and involvement toward a goal of bringing the project to reality.
We would model best practices in development approach and program, as tested by Artspace through dozens of projects they’ve developed or assisted across the country. If you would like to learn more about Artspace, please visit their website www.artspace.org.
As construction continues on Saigebrook Development’s Everly Plaza age-specific affordable housing project on 8th Avenue, their team has generously partnered with Near Southside to utilize the premium ground-floor retail as a community art space when the building opens. The project will still be under construction in October, but the month will usher in big vision when the TCU College of Fine Arts graduating design students take on the branding of this space as their senior project. Under the direction of instructor Jan Ballard, Near Southside will review several concepts before making a final selection. We look forward to sharing the new branding with you by the end of year.
Planning is important, and the efforts above will be landmark in their time, but we also will use October to take action in support of artist and cultural creators. Repurposing our tools for ArtsGoggle, such as the digital guide, social media channels, and strong small business partnerships in the district, we are confident that we can offer artists, musicians, and food entrepreneurs important exposure and sales opportunities during October. While it isn’t the one-day sales bonanza we typically enjoy, online “events” and shopping can offer promotion and bolster income for businesses and creatives.
ArtsGoggle started when Near Southside storefronts offered to host artists indoors, so we’re embracing the past for this year’s ARTober programming. Storefronts that remain open to customers, with an emphasis on those that are carefully monitoring occupancy and social distancing mandates, are still perfect partners for artists. This year, Near Southside will return to the role of matchmaker and work to pair business owners with artists to display artwork in October and possibly through the holidays. This partnership will benefit both parties by keeping our local makers and businesses in the public eye. Stay tuned for details in the coming days.
ART PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
In June, our organization and an incredible group of leaders comprising our Cultural District Designation Committee chaired by JO superstar Jennifer Henderson, submitted an impressive application to the Texas Commission on the Arts to formally recognize the Near Southside as a state cultural district. As part of the submission, the committee used public feedback to draft a cultural district plan, marketing plan, and new branding for the effort. Now, we eagerly await approval with an announcement expected in late October. This effort further positions and protects art, artists and cultural experiences as the center of the Near Southside’s history and future vision.
ARTober = STUDY + SPACE + PROMOTION + PARTNERSHIP + A PLAN