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City Council Members Want To Promote Austin's Cultural Exports

Shearwater performing live at a KUT event
Photo by KUT
Shearwater performing live at a KUT event

The City of Austin could launch a "creative industries ambassador" program to promote the works of local musicians and artists outside the city, and further market Austin's brand as an artistic Mecca. Two city council members, Laura Morrison and Mike Martinez, held an afternoon press conference today to announce they are getting the ball rolling on the idea.

Nothing much official yet, besides buy-in from some high profile players in Austin's artistic community, who will participate in a panel discussion on March 2nd at 6:30 pm at the Gibson Guitar Showroom.

Here's the list of people who will be on the panel:

  • Margaret Moser, Austin Music Commissioner and Austin Chronicle Senior Staff Writer
  • Cookie Ruiz, Executive Director of Ballet Austin
  • Rebecca Campbell, Executive Director of Austin Film Society
  • Bob Livingston, Singer-songwriter and Music Ambassador with US State Department
  • Troy Campbell, Musician and Founder of House of Songs and Co-founder of Collection Agency Films
  • Rose Reyes, Austin Music Office Director for ACVB
  • Joah Spearman, Austin Music Commissioner, and Co-founder / Executive Producer of Style X
  • Brad Spies, Marketing for SXSW, Inc.
  • Amy Corbin, Promoter for C3 Presents
  • Paul Oveisi, Austin Music Commissioner and Executive Director: of Austin Music People
  • Don Pitts, City of Austin Music Program Manager

"Most people's perception of Austin in the rest of the world is maybe South by Southwest, Willie Nelson, and otherwise Texas is Texas to them. It's cowboys," local musician Troy Campbell told KUT News. He said he would love for the city to use its artists to promote the vibrancy and breadth of Austin's music scene.

But these cultural ambassadors shouldn't expect free plane tickets on the city's dime. The tight budget situation will force people invested in the idea to make creative use of existing resources.

"We don't have a lot of discretionary funds in the budget all around," Council Member Morrison told KUT News. "But I think there's a lot that can be done just leveraging what's already going on."

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.