Created by the Texas Legislature in 1965, the Texas Commission on the Arts operates under the statutory authority of V.T.C.A., Government Code Chapter 444. The following excerpts are from subchapter B of the enabling legislation, Powers and Duties.

General Duties (section 444.021)

  • The Commission shall:
    1. foster the development of a receptive climate for the arts that will culturally enrich and benefit state citizens in their daily lives;
    2. make visits and vacations to the state more appealing to the world;
    3. attract, through appropriate programs of publicity and education, additional outstanding artists to become state residents;
    4. direct activities such as the sponsorship of lectures and exhibitions and the central compilation and dissemination of information on the progress of the arts in the state;
    5. provide advice to the State Purchasing and General Services Commission, Texas Historical Commission, Texas State Library, Texas Tourist Development Agency, State Department of Highways and Public Transportation, and other state agencies to provide a concentrated state effort in encouraging and developing an appreciation for the arts in the state;
    6. provide advice relating to the creation, acquisition, construction, erection, or remodeling by the state of a work of art;
    7. provide advice, on request of the Governor, relating to the artistic character of buildings constructed, erected, or remodeled by the state.

The Commission administers its operations in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988, the Native American Graves Protection and Reparation Act of 1990 (25 U.S.C. 3001 et seq.), the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990, the Whistleblower Act [Tex. Government Code Ann. §554.002 (a) (Vernon 1999)], and Section 10(7)(B) of the Commission’s Enabling Legislation which prohibits the Commission and its grantees from knowingly fostering, encouraging, promoting or funding any project, production, workshop and/or program which includes obscene material as defined in Section 43.21, Penal Code of Texas.

Grants (section 444.024)

  1. An applicant for a grant of money from the Commission shall specify in the grant application a minimum and maximum amount of money requested.
  2. Before making a grant of money, the Commission shall submit the grant application to a panel of Commission consultants for its recommendations. The panel shall include in its recommendations its determination of the reasonableness of the proposed amounts of funding.
  3. The Commission by rule shall adopt equitable procedures for the distribution of grants to recipients who reflect the geographic, cultural and ethnic diversity of the state’s population.

Equitable Distribution Plan

Following the close of the 72nd Legislature, the Commission developed operating principles to ensure the equitable allocation of financial assistance and services. As a part of the establishment of the Texas Cultural Endowment Fund and as codified in the Commission’s amended enabling legislation, the Commission is mandated to “adopt an equitable procedure for the distribution of grants to recipients who reflect the geographical, cultural, and ethnic diversity of the state’s population.” V.T.C.A. Government Code Chapter 444.0247

In September of 1992, the Commission adopted by rule an equitable procedure for distributing grant funds to local organizations. The adopted procedure bases grant allocations on an organization’s substantiated need and the rating given that organization during the advisory panel review process. The rules include provisions for equitable distribution of grant funds to organizations with a predominately ethnically-specific/minority audience and to organizations that serve predominately ethnically-specific/minority geographical areas.

In the development of its biennial Legislative Appropriation Request, the agency staff reports to the Commission and the Legislature regarding the specific efforts made by the agency to distribute grants equitably.

Grantees of the Commission will comply with this mandate as part of their contractual relationship with the Commission and part of their services to the citizens of Texas.