Women’s Policy Forum is creating awareness about the transformative role of art in culture and the economy. The group’s annual Emerging Issues Symposium on Nov. 12 facilitated a conversation on the role of women in the arts, the importance of arts in community building, and its economic impact.
The goal of the event was to demonstrate how powerful women use creativity to improve their communities, provide data-driven evidence of the economic and social value of the arts, and highlight strategies used by women in the arts to overcome challenges.
Keynote speaker Philippa Hughes, a noted social sculptor and cultural strategist leading creative place-making projects across the US and overseas, led the discussion. Heidi Marquez Smith with the Texas Cultural Trust presented findings from the 2021 State of the Arts Economic Impact Study. A panel of women arts leaders, including Fort Worth Opera’s Afton Battle and Dr. Monica White Ndounou Executive Director of The CRAFT Institute, shared challenges and successes in their role as community builders. Sharon Benge, founder of Fort Worth’s Shakespeare in the Park and former host of WRR’s Art Matters, discussed arts advocacy and growing dedicated arts support.
The event highlighted examples of successful public and private sector investment in the arts and provided leaders in Tarrant County with a call to action for making positive arts-focused changes in the community.