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Austin becomes UNESCO City of Media Arts

Thursday, December 17, 2015 by Nora Ankrum

Austin is now an official member of the Creative Cities Network of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. UNESCO established the network in 2004 in order to “foster international cooperation with and between cities committed to investing in creativity as a driver for sustainable urban development, social inclusion and cultural vibrancy,” according to an announcement from the city. There are now 116 member cities all over the world, putting Austin in the company of such far-away locals as Al-Ahsa, Saudi Arabia; Budapest, Hungary; Kingston, Jamaica; and Sasayama, Japan. However, Austin is the only city this year to be awarded the specific designation of City of Media Arts, “a reflection of our reputation as an innovative city, and a representation of many artistic disciplines – including visual art, music, film, and digital gaming,” according to the announcement. The new designation, which brings with it membership in the Creative Cities Network, will facilitate international collaboration among creative industries in Austin and other member cities. “We look forward to leveraging our creative community, skill sets, and collective experience to strengthen international relationships and elevate all creative communities,” said Kevin Johns, director of the Economic Development Department, which helped lead the effort to apply for the honor.

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