Photo courtesy of the Oak Cliff Film Festival

The Oak Cliff Cultural Center is closed, and its three employees have been furloughed or assigned to other departments within the City of Dallas.

It’s unclear whether funding for the center will be restored or cut in the 2020-2021 Dallas City budget. Other City of Dallas cultural centers will open Oct. 1, but the Oak Cliff Cultural Center has not yet ben slated for reopening.

Supporters produced this video calling for the city to #saveOC3.

The Oak Cliff Cultural Center was shut down March 14, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff was furloughed in City-wide layoffs and eventually displaced to other departments. Resulting in abandonment of dedicated programming in the Southern sector of Dallas. No information has been given to community members since the closure and proposed budget cuts make it unclear if and when the Center will be operational. As a community, we find this unacceptable. Oak Cliff Cultural Center has served over 100,000 individuals in the past three years. These are predominantly Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in Dallas and Beyond. In a moment when people rely on community more than ever, we need the Oak Cliff Cultural Center because it sets the standard for innovative, collaborative, and equitable programming for the City of Dallas.

The video features community leaders, artists and business owners speaking about how the cultural center has benefitted them and what it means to the community. Here are their demands:

Restore funding for OC3 staff: one manager and two coordinators beginning October 1.
Restore program funding that can be adjusted to fit social distancing measures and include virtual components.
Maintain funding for artists to continue their work with OC3.
Set OC3 to re-open with the other cultural centers in Dallas.

City Councilman Chad West says the current proposal is to reduce in-person services, “in order to comply with COVID-19 social distancing requirements.”

He said he’s asked Office of Cultural Affairs director Jennifer Scripps and our representative on the Arts and Culture Advisory Commission  to host a virtual town hall with neighbors to discuss that proposal.

“Similar modifications and COVID-related budget cuts are also proposed by staff for the libraries and other cultural facilities operated by the City,” West says. “Many of us have concerns about the impact on the communities.”