Art News

Dallas Council Member Omar Narvaez Receives Annual Leadership Award from Americans for the Arts and the National League of Cities

November 17, 2023)— Americans for the Arts presents Councilmember Omar Narvaez of Dallas, Texas, with its second annual City Council Leadership Award in partnership with the National League of Cities. The award recognizes a city council member who has consistently advocated for the advancement of pro-arts legislation, funding, and promotion in their region.

“I congratulate Councilmember Narvaez on this Leadership Award, but more importantly, I thank him for ensuring that the arts are a vital part of his district,” said Nolen Bivens, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts. “We all know that arts build and strengthen communities, and the success of his efforts to ensure that the arts have a place to thrive speak volumes about his commitment to ensuring that his own community can do so as well.

Councilmember Narvaez was elected to the Dallas City Council in June of 2017, representing District 6, where his family has resided for over eight decades. He has served on the committees for Quality of Life and Arts & Culture for several of his terms in office, as well as the Economic Development committee and others. He has been a staunch supporter of arts and culture throughout his six years on the council, where he has continually supported budget increases for the Office of Arts and Culture and understands that the arts are an economic engine for the City of Dallas. He increased his support of the Dallas cultural landscape with more energy and vigor each year, including encouraging the City to update the Cultural Policy in 2018 and driving community engagement to ensure all segments participated with both input and feedback, resulting in a priority emphasis on equity and diversity.

“As an elected municipal leader, my goal is to build stronger neighborhoods, and most I represent were in arts deserts,” said Councilmember Narvaez. “We changed this by developing partnerships with small and large arts stakeholders to come to West Dallas while I was also championing for increased and creative funding. I am proud that my neighbors and I now have access to arts and culture in and around our homes, and together, we are thriving.”

Council Member Narvaez is a frequent attendee at City Arts Events and is an enthusiastic promoter of arts education and creative programs for youth. He worked diligently to get a black box theater built as the second phase of the Latino Cultural Center, persevering during the pandemic to complete construction.

“NLC is thrilled to honor Councilmember Narvaez as a local champion of arts and culture,” NLC CEO and Executive Director Clarence Anthony said. “Prioritizing the arts enhances our cities’ identities and helps make our communities more vibrant. By fostering strong partnerships with local organizations focused on the arts in Dallas, Councilmember Narvaez is actively improving the lives of residents in his community.”

Narvaez is currently working with the Community Bond Task Force to determine the final allocation of a $1.1 billion bond for 2024. Dallas has not invested in critical arts facilities since 2006, and he is working to gain support from the city council to support a minimum of 6% (an increase from the recommended 2%) for arts facilities in critical need throughout Dallas.

To increase direct investment in arts funding, he provided leadership in the effort to increase the share of HOT tax for the arts from 2% to ultimately 12% at the end of the current Visit Dallas contract, an increase that came at a grave time when every arts organization needed increased funding from the Office of Arts and Culture during and following the pandemic.

“We are so proud to have one of our very own Dallas City Council members honored with this prestigious award,” said Director of the Office of Arts and Culture, Martine Elyse Philippe. “Councilmember Omar Narvaez has been such an impactful advocate for the cultural arts sector in Dallas. We are all grateful for his steadfast support of our work to increase equitable access to the arts.” 

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