The humble beginnings of Cross Town Arts date back to the year 2010, where it once stood as an abandoned arts warehouse. However, its founders have already set two goals for the organization that was about to form. One was to refurbish the celebrated Sears Cross Town building, and the second one would be to help enrich the creative population of Texas.
It all started when future co-founders Mike Browner and Jack Probe stood in front of what once a distribution center building. The once abandoned Target building located in Texas art was just a lone art deco warehouse. However, Browner and Probe felt sure that this abandoned warehouse would be a great contemporary and multidisciplinary arts center in the future. Not only that; they also initially believed that the building would become useful to other types of plans they have for it.
To put their vision into reality, Brown and Probe sought consultants for the building’s planned renovation. They worked together to accomplish a feasibility study. In the meantime, Cross Town Arts started arranging art-related events to make itself known to the public. This series of events helped the guests and founders envision the vibe that the center could create – a large exhibition gallery, shared art facilities, and residency programs.
The feasibility studies ended with the conclusion that the Target building renovation project would be possible. However, space has to be pre-leased in order for the financing to commenced. Not only that, the project needs to have funding from different sources including state and private financing.
Fortunately, the project garnered overwhelming support from the community as well as other organizations. They themselves envisioned the allure of what would become the Cross Town Arts organization. On 2012, 400,000 out of 1.5 million square feet of building space was leased thanks to eight organizations.
With the idea of a “vertical urban village” coming into place, highly-regarded institutions saw the potential of sharing space and resources. This idea stemmed from the Cross Town Arts project in which it tries to foster interconnectivity between a diverse range of people. Motivated by this idea, various range of professionals started helping and pitching in their corresponding expertise for the project.
With a huge renovation underway of what would become Cross Town Arts’ future home, the organization kept on showcasing their ideas and visions to the public. In 2013, they moved into a space on Brown Street and held at least 10 exhibitions annually.
After 3 years of fundraising, the project was able to secure $200 million dollars from 30 sources of financers. The former Target building – which is now named Cross Town Arts Center – held its first grand opening in the year 2017. Attended by thousands of Texans, the lively celebration included live music and dance performances as well as open houses.
By October 2017, Cross Town Arts settled in their new space located in Suite 340 of the former Target building. New spaces were opened for galleries, music room venues, residencies for artists, and a 425-seat theater.