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Mike Battaglino Favors "Music City" Status for the Falls
The candidate for City Council addresses common sense ideas from the arts community
In talking with dozens of local entertainers and business owners with an interest in live entertainment and the arts, a number of issues repeatedly come to the fore in conversation — the need for more big name acts playing in Wichita Falls, the need for more stages and diversity of venues, and a desire for economic conditions that would fuel a boom for our incredible arts community.
I reached out to candidate for City Council Mike Battaglino to see if he had thoughts on some of the comments I’d heard. I’d recently seen Mike at a charity event but I hadn’t been able to connect with him, but he later surprised me with thoughtful responses to my questions.
I’ll keep names confidential, but trust me when I say it was a well-known local artist who expressed the following.
There are state funded measures that cities can take to become what Texas refers to as "music cities". This provides funding to bring in larger acts. I'd like to see that happen along with original acts being able to perform alongside the larger acts. This would be especially nice for bands who are from here, but also travel.
State funded. Cities just have to apply.
Candidate Mike Battaglino responded “We do a fantastic job applying for grants as a City (such as with the Circle Trail and hopefully soon to dredge Lake Wichita), but if there are other opportunities, let's get after them! I see opportunities working with the Convention & Visitors Bureau or the Recreation Department to get this done. There's no doubt in my mind either office would want to take advantage of a chance to help our local musicians.”
Our local artists and performers, just like citizens in every other industry, are affected by the economic health of our city. With regard to compensation for our artists and performers, Battaglino said, “The more economic development we can generate (more jobs!) the larger the second and third order effects to our quality-of-life will be.”
Battaglino continued, ”Music and the arts more broadly directly impact the quality-of-life for our citizens. If we can bring more jobs to Wichita Falls and start to experience growth, this will benefit our local artists and in turn the opportunities they have to get paid more to do something they love.”
Another commonly mentioned concern from some in the arts community, and the music-loving audience at large, is a seeming lack of action at the venues we already have. Another well-known local entertainer put it succinctly.
Using the Memorial Auditorium and MPEC to attract bigger musical acts here. This is the perfect place for a touring band to stop and make some extra dough on their way through Texas from the Midwest. We have the facilities for it but no one wants to pay for big acts to stop here.
Also, we need more local venues that support the amazing scene we have.
Candidate Battaglino replied, “There's been a lot of discussion about the new Delta Hotel at the MPEC and I see this as a chance for us to attract bigger musical acts and create a better experience for individuals visiting Wichita Falls. I've heard people say that we already had hotels here, but having an on-site hotel will allow us to bring acts in that previously we may have missed out on. An on-site hotel is an absolute must for certain organizations and having it will get us to the negotiation table for musicians, conventions and expos we have been missing out on for years. The Delta Hotel is gorgeous and welcoming...let's leverage that resource to make a greater economic impact to Wichita Falls every year, which will benefit quality-of-life for our citizens across the board!”
Thanks to Mike for taking the time to answer our questions. If Mike gets elected, theFUSE will check back to see if there’s progress on these issues.
Mike Battaglino is a candidate for Wichita Falls City Council, District 4.
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