June 13-15, 2008
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Event History

In November, 2003, Phillip Jones joined the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau as president and chief executive officer. Jones, who has a deep personal appreciation for the arts, was immediately impressed by the rich and diverse cultural offerings of Dallas and the world-class museums and facilities in the Dallas Arts District. Through his vast experiences as secretary of the Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in the State of Louisiana, Jones recognized the value of cultural tourism and the impact that special events have on economic development. He immediately set out to create a signature event for the City of Dallas that would showcase the spectacular cultural, performing, visual and culinary arts of Dallas and Texas—one which had the potential to attract visitors to the city, entice locals to the downtown area, instill local pride, educate and stimulate an overall appreciation for the arts, and create international awareness of the new Dallas and its developing role as a cultural and culinary icon of the south.

Jones compiled a host committee of arts, civic and community representatives which included leadership from the Arts District Friends, the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs and Office of Special Events, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Nasher Sculpture Center, the Crow Collection of Asian Art, the Cathedral Guadalupe, the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, the Dallas Symphony, the Central Dallas Association, the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, the Dallas Film Commission, and many others to begin planning the first CityArts Celebration. He enlisted the help of an award-winning festival and event planner with more than 20 years experience in festival production and nonprofit management to coordinate the effort.

In less than five months, the first annual CityArts Celebration took place on May 20-23, 2004, in a four block area of the Dallas Arts District. TXU served as founding partner and was joined by many civic-minded companies as sponsors. Attendance for the inaugural event was estimated to be nearly 20,000 people, who participated in the free event that featured chef demonstrations, performances by hundreds of cultural performers and contemporary Texas entertainers, exhibits in world-class museums, and showings by renowned Dallas visual artists.



The 2004 CityArts Celebration was a shining example of what can be accomplished through collaboration of the public and private sector coming together with a shared vision and the dedication and determination of a community working toward a common goal. The resounding success of the 2004 CityArts Celebration and positive reinforcement from sponsors and supporters, City leadership, participating artists, vendors and entertainers, and the general public prompted an even stronger commitment to the event.


Recognizing that an independent organizational structure, separate from the DCVB, was necessary in order for the event to grow, Jones established Dallas CityArts, Inc., with a board comprised of dedicated arts, tourism and marketing professionals. The mission of this 501(c)3 nonprofit organization is “to present and support festivals, events and activities that showcase the museums and vast and diverse performing, visual and culinary arts of Dallas and the region to education and enrich the quality of life for the people of the greater Dallas community.


The 2005 CityArts Celebration, presented by TXU Energy, was produced by Dallas CityArts, Inc., in collaboration with the DCVB, the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs and the Arts District Friends. Attendance more than doubled, with 50,000 people participating in the downtown arts showcase and visiting Arts District museums—free for the first time. A partnership was formed with The 500, Inc., a nonprofit group dedicated toward providing funding support for Dallas nonprofit arts organizations. Under their direction, the artist component of the City Arts Celebration expanded from 20 to 75 Texas artists. The projected economic impact of the free event was $1.527 million. The third annual event, held June 9-11, 2006, was equally successful with attendance increases of 20%. Attendance soared to 80,000 in 2007, resulting in a projected economic impact of $2.6 million.

Dallas CityArts, Inc., continuously strives to promote the arts. Under its tutorage, the CityArts Celebration, while still young and developing, is on its way to becoming a signature event for Dallas and for Texas and to fulfill the hopes and promises for which it was created. Look forward to hearing more about exciting plans for the 5 th annual CityArts Celebration, presented by TXU Energy, slated for June 13-15, 2008. .






































Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau