Arts and Culture as a Catalyst for Growth in Dallas- Fort Worth

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Cowboys and rodeos may be what come to mind when a non-Texan thinks of Dallas and Fort Worth, collectively known as DFW. After all, a slogan for Fort Worth is “Where the West Begins,” Cowtown is Fort Worth’s nickname, and Dallas is home to the NFL’s Cowboys. While these statements are true, there is something very interesting going on in DFW. It is the fastest growing metro in the United States, is attracting residents from California and New York along with international newcomers, as well as several corporations. And the arts and culture industry is thriving.

Downtown Fort Worth including the skyline and the Trinity River

Texas as a state has led in overall population growth, with Dallas and Fort Worth being the fastest growing. Among US cities, Dallas saw the largest growth in population from 2020 to 2021 and Fort Worth took that spot from 2021 to 2022. Dallas is the 9th largest city in the US, Fort Worth is the 12th largest. DFW is the 7th largest metropolitan area in the US and has one of the strongest economies and job market ( The DFW metroplex attracts residents both nationally and internationally, making it a culturally diverse and cosmopolitan area.

Downtown Dallas

Along with attracting new residents, Dallas and Fort Worth are among the most business friendly cities in the US, enticing many corporations into relocating. According to the Dallas Regional Chamber, DFW and its surrounding cities have welcomed over 175 new corporate headquarters since 2010, including fortune 500 companies. Texas as a whole is a magnet for business with DFW leading the state's corporate relocation activity in 2022. DFW is surpassing major metros like New York City and Los Angeles in percentage of jobs added and is outpacing both in corporate relocation.

Not only is DFW seeing huge growth in the tech, finance, and healthcare sectors, but the creative economy is the largest in the state of Texas and is among the largest nationwide. Out of the creative economy, “Performing and Visual Arts” is the third largest sector. This sector is the engine behind the vibrant arts and culture industry as well as being an influential factor behind attracting residents and businesses. Sure, the low tax rates with no corporate or personal income tax, business friendly regulatory environment, and relative low cost of living are major factors in attracting newcomers, yet, the quality of life that a vibrant arts and culture community offers cannot be understated. And DFW has a robust and growing arts and culture sector.

Fort Worth's Kimbell Art Museum exterior building

Both Dallas and Fort Worth are committed to the arts and culture sector of their cities, leveraging their world class museums and cultural districts as generators for surrounding development and economic growth. Arts and cultural activities drive tourism and revenue to local businesses. 78% of all US travelers seek out arts and cultural experiences. They are the ideal tourists, staying longer and spending more. Fort Worth’s cultural destinations include Downtown, the Cultural District, Near Southside, and Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District. Fort Worth boasts several public art installations, performing arts organizations, museums including the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art, the Kimbell Art Museum and the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Fort Worth is also home to several independently owned art galleries – all adding to the character of Fort Worth. Dallas’s cultural destinations include the largest urban arts district in the nation, the Dallas Arts District, the live music capital of North Texas, the Deep Ellum Cultural District, and the historic Fair Park Cultural District. DFW has a vast cultural landscape that attracts a diverse group of newcomers and visitors, creates healthier and closer communities, and enhances the overall life satisfaction of residents and visitors alike.

Dallas Museum of Art exterior image with outdoor art installation

Texas has always been home to an array of art collectors, with roots in the oil and gas and ranching industries. Fort Worth wouldn’t be what it is today had it not been for one of these industry leaders, the avid art collector and champion of arts and culture, Amon G. Carter. Carter is thought to have coined the term for Fort Worth, “Where the West Begins.” To Carter, Fort Worth defined the essence of the West with its association of a free spirit, innovation, and friendliness. It’s little surprise that Cowtown and Dallas are also the home of world class museums, countless established and emerging performance, and visual artists, as well as communities that value arts and culture that continue to influence the attraction of a diverse economy.

Tabachin Ribbon public art installation in Fort Worth

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(Fig. 1: Downtown Fort Worth. Cover image and Fig. 2: Downtown Dallas. Fig. 3: Kimbell Art Museum Fig. 4: Dallas Museum of Art. Fig. 5. Tabachin Ribbon.

1 comment

  • Julia Hacker

    Thank you for sharing such an important information. You are right , people just assume things that why such articles are so valuable.

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