NewCities Summit, Dallas to Address Future Arts Investments in World Cities

Dallas, Texas – June 10, 2014. The Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN), a network fostering cooperation and knowledge-sharing between the leaders of cultural districts around the world, will convene its first networking meetings during the NewCities Summit in Dallas from June 17 -19. The Summit is a global event bringing together 800 thought leaders from 40 countries in Dallas for action-oriented discussions on the 21st century metropolis. The GCDN is curating a strand of cultural talks and discussions at the NewCities Summit. Some $US 230 billion is being invested in cultural infrastructure around the world over the coming decade, motivated by a desire to make distinctive and attractive urban spaces; foster creativity and the creative industries; and stimulate high end tourism.

NewCities Summit: GCDN Sessions and Speakers include:

  • June 17, 4.45pm – 5.45pm
    Cultural Capital (Keynote and Plenary)
    This session examines the role of art and culture in shaping our experience of cities and in sparking urban transformation.
    Huang Rui, Artist and Founder, Stars Group & 798 Beijing Art District
    Maxwell Anderson, Eugene McDermott Director, Dallas Museum of Art; Co-Chairman, Global Cultural Districts Network (Moderator)
    Catherine Cuellar, Executive Director, Dallas Arts District
    Michael Eissenhauer, Director-General, National Museums in Berlin
    Rip Rapson, President and Chief Executive Officer, The Kresge Foundation
    Huang Rui, Artist and Founder, Stars Group & 798 Beijing Art District

  • June 18, 1.45pm – 2.34pm
    Cultural Districts as Engines of Urban Transformation (Workshop)
    Panelists will discuss the role of cultural districts in animating urban life, how to maintain these districts as sustainably successful ventures.
    Both the plenary and workshop will be streamed live on Dallas Morning News –, allowing viewers from across the world to watch. Comments will be encouraged on Twitter using the hash tag #gcdn.
    Manal Ataya, Director General, Sharjah Museums Department, Government of Sharjah
    Jamie Bennett, Executive Director, ArtPlace America
    Adrian Ellis, Founder, AEA Consulting; Director, Global Cultural Districts Network (Moderator)
    Zhiyong Fu, Vice Director, Information Art and Design Department, Academy of Arts and Design, Tsinghua University
    Jeffrey Johnson, Founding Director – China Megacities Lab, Columbia University, Cofounding Principal, SLAB.

Adrian Ellis, Director, GCDN and Founder, AEA Consulting, said: “We have a truly impressive line-up of experts ready and willing to ask the hard questions about how to make these cultural districts successful. There will be a rich variety of global perspectives around the table and I am looking forward to gathering a great list of best practices that GCDN can then disseminate to its members and share with the field.”

Maxwell L. Anderson, Eugene McDermott Director of the Dallas Museum of Art, Chairman of the Dallas Arts District, and Co-Chairman of the GCDN, said: “How fitting that the first convening of the Global Cultural Districts Network should take place in the Dallas Arts District, a thriving cultural hub in the US. Summit participants interested in the management and future growth of cultural districts – and their role in urban transformation – are invited to hear from international experts in the field and share their own ideas and questions on the matter.”

Huang Rui, Artist and Founder, Stars Group & 798 Beijing Art District, said: “In today’s modern times, cities will give birth to the most invaluable and exciting cultural creations. Two fundamental conditions must be met: first, a cultural environment that encourages creation; second, artists who are unfettered by the limits of time and reality.”

Cultural District Workshops: June 19
In addition to the sessions during the main Summit, the GCDN will host two panel discussions on June 19, as part of a rich schedule of side events open to Summit participants. The sessions will take place at the Dallas Museum of Art. The sessions include:

  • 9.30am – 10.45am
    The Governance of Cultural Districts (Panel)
    This discussion will ask, whose voices should be at the table and what shape should the table be for the successful planning and management of cultural districts? Panelists will explore the respective roles of the community and its political representatives, commercial developers, artists and cultural institutions, business and other stakeholders.
    Russell Willis Taylor, National Arts Strategies
    Theresa Cameron, Americans for the Arts
    Katie Dixon, Brooklyn Cultural District
    Mark Davy, Future City

  • 11.15am – 12.30pm
    Austin, Texas and South by Southwest: A Case Study in Cultural Animation (Panel)
    South by Southwest (SXSW) began in 1987. Today it is a series of high profile film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences that lasts for ten days in March, with a visitorship of nearly 155,000 and an economic impact of some $US 200m per annum on the local economy. This workshop examines the roots of its success and its wider impact – positive and negative – on the cultural and social ecology of this extraordinary city.
    Carroll Joynes, Cultural Policy Center at the University of Chicago
    Paula Seydoux, Festival International
    James Taylor, Red River Cultural District
    Brad Spies, SXSW Festivals and Austin Music Commission

For more information about the cultural strand of the NewCities Summit, visit

For full information on GCDN visit


Press contact
Andreia Furtado
Communications Manager
NewCities Foundation
+1 514 987 0029

About the Dallas Arts District

The Dallas Arts District is a nonprofit organization stimulating the cultural and economic life of North Texas by advocating for the largest urban cultural district in the United States — comprising 20 square blocks of museums, performance halls, parks, restaurants, offices and residences. The Dallas Arts District also serves as world headquarters for the Global Cultural Districts Network in partnership with the NewCities Foundation and AEA Consulting. For more information, please visit

About the Global Cultural Districts Network (GCDN)

The GCDN serves to foster cooperation and knowledge-sharing between those responsible for conceiving, funding, building, and operating cultural districts; and to help to ensure that these projects are vital assets for their communities, contributing to the vitality of 21st century cities. Over the next decade, some $US 250 billion will be invested in the creation of new cultural districts around the globe. A successful cultural district is not just one that is built, but one that, once built, thrives and, in thriving, animates the city or region that it serves. This holistic definition of success is central to the Network: success is not just getting an arts building or series of buildings out of the ground, it is about ensuring that they are viable and play a central role in their communities.

Twitter: @gcdnet

About the NewCities Summit

Organized by the NewCities Foundation, the NewCities Summit is the premier global leadership event on the future of cities. Fostering positive urban change, the high level gathering advocates cross-sector collaboration through network building, cutting-edge forums and lively discussion. The Summit showcases and disseminates the best ideas on the future of cities and generates concrete, scalable solutions capable of being adopted and replicated across the world. Following the inaugural Summit in Paris in 2012, last year’s event was hosted in São Paulo. The NewCities Summit 2014 will be hosted in Dallas, Texas, USA, from June 17 – 19.

About NewCities

NewCities is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to making cities more inclusive, connected, healthy and vibrant. Focusing on people, places and policies, we bring together a global network of public and private sector leaders and Urban Tech innovators to foster results-oriented collaboration. We also produce actionable research that can be implemented by decision-makers across sectors.

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