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Fostering Board and Community Committee Connection

Art exhibit in Buffalo Bayou East. Credit: Buffalo Bayou Partnership.

“This will unfold over decades, but we are committed to delivering a place that offers new economic, social, and environmental improvements that benefit Buffalo Bayou East, its existing communities, and Houston as a whole,” says Anne Olson, president of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP), of the ambitious plans for a four-mile waterfront stretch in the area east of downtown. Two communities there, with deep Hispanic and African-American roots, have long been underserved in regards to public space access. 

As they implement their Buffalo Bayou East Master Plan, BBP plans to form three community-led groups. One for arts and culture, one for health and wellness, and a third focused on economic development. They started with the arts and culture committee in 2020. BBP has worked to ensure these groups have real influence and decision-making power in their organizational structure.  

For example, BBP already had an arts committee composed primarily of Board members. So they knew they needed to navigate power sharing and incorporate input from both committees as they work on decisions about including public art in the project. The community-led committee was encouraged to offer input on which neighborhood artists could be represented. The Board-led committee has focused on an existing commitment for BBP to include international artists. 

BBP’s power sharing among all stakeholders is evolving organically. The Board-led art committee and the East Sector Arts and Culture stakeholder group currently meet separately. BBP staff are ensuring alignment between the two. The committees will provide each other with feedback throughout the art nomination processes, as members slowly learn about each other.

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