On Thursday night, a packed Fort Worth art space buzzed with discussions about its future. Amid a backdrop of an uncertain future, the Fort Worth Community Arts Center and the W.E. Scott Theatre hosted dozens of attendees, eagerly waiting to speak on the task force’s recommendations.
Earlier this year, Fort Worth’s City Council appointed a task force to study the future uses of the art center and theatre. Consisting of art galleries and a theatre, the building was built in three phases dating back to 1954 and is currently leased by Arts Fort Worth. According to a building condition assessment, the structure on 1300 Gendy Street requires repairs totalling about $26 million.
As the task force grapples with what direction to take the building, many have emphasized the importance of community-driven art. Artist Cosmo Jones, whose paintings and sculptures showcase a unique view of Fort Worth, described the arts center as a second home for many.
“There just isn’t another space like this, and they’re not going to be able to support the community in the way that they do now. It represents, to me, the unique character that Fort Worth has as an arts community,” Jones said.
Photographer and filmmaker Wesley Kirk urged the task force to continue investing in the community, highlighting that community-driven art has the power to spark important conversations and move audiences to tears. Kirk praised the center, saying that he had seen shows here that could never be seen in a for-profit gallery.
Michelle Gutt, speaking for the City of Fort Worth, said that the task force would be considering various options, including repairs, renovation, or redevelopment. She stressed the importance of hearing from people who actually use the facility and those who have a history with the center.
With just two more meetings before making a recommendation to the Fort Worth City Council on May 2, the future of the art center and theatre remains uncertain.