Economic Development Administration Awards $5m Grant for Rockport Center for the Arts’ Capital Project Downtown


March 21, 2019 


Luis Purón, Executive Director (570) 702-4032 or (361) 729-5519


(ROCKPORT, TX)  Michael Cloud, United States Congressman for the 27th District announced that the City of Rockport and Rockport Center for the Arts are the recipients of a $5 million grant from the United States Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA).

The award will assist Rockport Center for the Arts in designing and building a campus that will house its sculpture garden and visual arts and art education programs.  The project will include a venue center that will be instrumental in developing a new tourism initiative to draw convention visitors to the area, something that has been lacking as an offering in Rockport and Fulton, Texas.  Tourism is Rockport’s most significant industry.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $8.5 million and will add over 20,000 sq. ft. of new space. Since Hurricane Harvey destroyed the organization’s 6,000 sq. ft. facility located near Rockport Harbor, the Rockport Center for the Arts has been engaged in a capital campaign.  The campaign was boosted with an initial $500,000 grant from the Rebuild Texas Fund and an equal award from the Still Water Foundation. Rockport Center for the Arts will use EDA funds and monies raised in the capital campaign to complete the project. 

Identified as an anchor for downtown economic revitalization, City of Rockport Mayor, Pat Rios states, “The building of a new Rockport Center for the Arts is a major step in the recovery from the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey. Our community will have a beautiful new facility that will showcase our dedication to the arts and be home for local and visiting artists. I am extremely proud of everyone that has worked so hard to make this happen. 

Cloud made the announcement at a press conference in Rockport, Texas on March 21, 2019. “Rockport has been working hard and has come a long way since Hurricane Harvey, and this grant will contribute to restoring the tourism industry that is so important to the local economy,” says Congressman Michael Cloud. “I’m excited for the jobs and economic revitalization this grant will generate, and I will continue to work with our communities as we rebuild our region stronger than ever.”

The grant opportunity was identified last year by Aransas County Long Term Recovery Team, who helped file the joint application. Hugh Morrison, President of the Board of Rockport Center for the Arts states, “We are grateful to the EDA for recognizing the opportunity that the building of our project is for revitalizing downtown Rockport. As we begin our 50th year, we are excited to begin the construction of our new campus, which will feature a larger and more comprehensive art center as well as a critically needed venue facility.  We are also thankful for the generous response to our capital campaign, which made this project possible. This new epicenter for downtown Rockport will generate economic activity for years to come.”

Rockport Center for the Arts is one of many post-Harvey success stories. The organization never canceled an exhibit, a program or an event. It re-opened its doors in a temporary facility December 2, 2017, 99 days after the storm.

Rockport Center for the Arts plans to start construction this year. The new facility will be located near the intersection of South Austin Street and North Street.

In 2019, Rockport Center for the Arts celebrates 50 years of operation.  Since 1984, the organization operated in a blue Victorian-era house located between Aransas Bay and Rockport Harbor. On August 25, 2017 the building was catastrophically damaged due to hurricane force winds. Ninety-nine days after the storm, the staff and Board of Directors re-established operations in a temporary facility in downtown Rockport. All programs are fully operational and a full calendar of events, exhibits, workshops and children’s programs for 2019-2020 is in place. Since the storm, not a single event, exhibit, or program has been canceled. Rockport Center for the Arts is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 10 AM to 4 PM; admission is always free. For more information, call (361) 729-5519.