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Austin City Council unanimously approves community arts center in East Austin

On Thursday, Austin City Council unanimously approved a resolution to bolster the cultural vitality of Austin's African American Cultural Heritage District. The district covers an area of East Central Austin that is the historic heart of culture and commerce for the city's Black residents

The resolution was authored by council member Natasha Harper-Madison in coordination with a group of Black artists, creatives and community leaders called the East Austin Creative Coalition. It calls on the city manager to develop place-making actions, such as historical markers, branded street signs and public art, for the African American Cultural District and explore ways of using the city's Live Music Fund to support African American culture-based music industry projects in the district. 

The last stand:Inside the Black arts community's fight to restore East Austin's soul

Harold McMillan assembled a coalition of Black artists, creatives and community leaders to lobby for the creation of a community arts center on the city-owned lot where he has operated Kenny Dorham's Backyard for 14 years. The resolution unanimously passed the council on Thursday.

Related:Austin's Black cultural community looks for ‘a city of real opportunity for all'

It also directs the city manager to develop a plan to solicit proposals for the development of a community arts center on the 1100 Block of East 11th Street, the lot where jazz artist Harold McMillan has been operating Kenny Dorham's Backyard for 14 years.  

"UNANIMOUS ON THE DAIS!" Harper-Madison wrote in response to the passage on her official Facebook page. 

"This is where the rubber meets the road when we say Black Artists Matter!" she wrote. 

More:Ballet Afrique finds a new home in East Austin amid a push to nurture Black arts