Exploring the Upcoming Arts Community in Lubbock
Last week I was given the opportunity to attend Arts Day with the Leadership Lubbock students. The class toured multiple facilities dedicated to developing a strong arts and culture district right here in downtown Lubbock. At each stop we were able to meet with the owner or executive director of the facility while learning about their history and the effect their organization has on the community.
We began the day at the amphitheater in Mackenzie Park, the home of Moonlight Musicals. Moonlight Musical’s purpose is to create opportunity for young performers to express themselves and also serve as an educator for people who might not consider themselves performers. We met with executive director of Moonlight Musicals, Justin Duncan, who considers himself to be a transplant in Lubbock and said he found his home within the musical program. Being a “transplant” to the Lubbock area myself it was easy to relate to Duncan’s feelings. When I first moved from the San Diego area to attend Texas Tech, one of the things I missed most about home was a thriving downtown and interest in the arts.
After listening to Duncan’s presentation, we continued with our tours by attending the Texas Tech Museum and The Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts, or LHUCA, both of these gallery spaces helped open my eyes to all of the Lubbock residents who are passionate about curating and creating meaningful art
We were also able to listen to Blake Buchanan, the founder and CEO of Bahama Buck’s about the importance of thoughtful leadership. Buchanan gave us background on his successful business and showed us that sometimes it takes grit and time before an idea can reach the level of success you anticipated. I think that as leaders in Lubbock continue to make growing the arts district a priority, it is important to remember Buchanan’s advice. These changes to the culture here in Lubbock did not happen overnight, but if leaders in this area continue to make the arts a priority then our town has the potential to become a hub for creativity.
Our next stops were the Buddy Holly Museum and the vintage Cactus Theater. The museum celebrates the life of musician and local legend Buddy Holly. The theater is a legend in its own right around Lubbock, after opening in 1938 the theater was one of several movie houses in the area and was later renovated to include a full stage and sound system to support local music acts. Walking through these spaces reminded me that even with all the new developments to the art scene in Lubbock, the community is still able to hold on to its unique history.
Artistic and economic developments in downtown areas go hand in hand. As the cultural district continues to grow in Lubbock, more businesses will open to support the area. That’s why it was important for Two Docs Brewing Co., a newly opened craft brewery; to choose a location in the arts district. Our last stop of the day, Two Docs’ employees said they could see the opportunity to contribute to the growing arts community and also attract new people to try their beers.
All of these spots where relatively new to me, most I had never visited before and some I had never even heard of. Listening to all the speakers helped open my eyes to Lubbock’s dedication to the arts that I had overlooked in my new city.