Central Austin Edition - September 2021

F U N D I N G

A R T S P R O G R A M

On Sept. 20, sta announced it would pause the rollout of the plan below and likely change the timeline, funding levels and scope.

in focus

breakdown

The Austin Cultural Arts Fund is mainly backed by city hotel occupancy tax revenue, which fell through the COVID-19 pandemic. Sta are also considering a shift in how hotel tax revenue is used for the programs.

INITIAL PROPOSAL  PAUSED

PREVIOUS FUNDING

THRIVE

NEXUS

ELEVATE ANNUAL CONTRACTS

2YEAR CONTRACTS

ANNUAL CONTRACTS

WHO IT FUNDED

NAME

Individuals, nonprots, unincorporated groups

Available funds

Program costs

Small cohort of people of color-led nonprots, previously not funded at higher levels 20-25 awards, $2.5 million total

Newer organizations working on culturally specic programs 100 awards, $500,000 total Winter 2021- spring 2022

CORE

Organizations of all sizes demonstrating a lead on equity

$15M $12M $9M $6M $3M $0

WHO IT WILL FUND

CULTURAL HERITAGE FESTIVALS PROGRAM

Arts and cultural festivals

ESTIMATED SCOPE

20-50 awards, $500,000 total

Community-based arts events

COMMUNITY INITIATIVES

FISCAL YEAR

LAUNCH

TBD 2022

Fall 2021

*ESTIMATED **PROJECTED

SOURCE: CITY OF AUSTINCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

aimed atmatching thedemographicmakeupof Austin. Sta said they hope the approach will eventually serve groups of all demographics, with priority given to applicants identifying as minority, LGBT, disabled and women. The proposal was put on hold in September. However, the size, scope and timeline of the plans are likely to change. “I wouldn’t say it’s new versus old or white versus [Black, Indigenous, people of color], it’s just a new framework of looking at the city’s investment to support amore equitable systemoverall,”Wells said. Shrinking funds

the money has been crucial to many local art institutions.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

While there are no widespread calls for the city to abandon its equity goal, dened by the city as reaching a point when race does not aect opportunities and quality of life, the timing and the changes have led many to speak up. “It’s going to be devastating to the arts ecosystem,” said JohnRiedie, CEOof theAustinCreativeAlliance, which has received or managed millions in cultural funding since 1982. “We agree that there’s inequity in the system. We don’t agree with the city’s path toward xing it.” An equitable distribution Austin’s funding of local artists stretches back decades with nearly $150 million doled out to support hundreds of painters, dancers, musicians, jewelers, authors and other cultural institutions since the early 1980s, according to city data. A selection of some top recipients over the years includes the Zach Theatre, The Contemporary Austin, the Austin Symphony Orchestra, Mexic-Arte Museum, Center For Women & Their Work, and the Vortex Repertory Company. Austin’s Cultural Funding Program, the target of sta-proposed changes, is bankrolled through a portion of city hotel occupancy taxes. For years,

“I started a theater company [eight] years ago. Although I am no longer a part of it, we relied heavily on the cultural arts program to get us started as it was the main source of revenue for us to mount shows,” actor and singer Jacqui Cross said. The program supported more than 350 distinct members of Austin’s cultural space last year alone, but city sta said they increasingly became aware the funds were not reaching certain sectors of the arts community. “We knew that we had marginalized folks and that we had excluded some community members

“We agree that there’s inequity in the system. We don’t agree with the city’s path toward fixing it.”

Whenthecitybeganplanning for the equity changes, it also expected to trim the budget as the amount of money being doled out was unsustainable, sta said. However, as the city faces other pandemic-related budget issues, the cuts will be more signicant than initially anticipated. The arts funding is expected

because of the components of our system that were inequitable,” said Meghan Wells, manager of the city cultural arts division. In 2019, the city kicked o an engagement process that led to a proposal. The money would

John Riedie, CEO of the Austin Creative Alliance

be available to those scoring highest on an equity- based rubric, with preference given for more diverse hiring, community mentorships and expansions of cultural programming. The funding is not necessarily

to be reduced to around $3.5 million next year, about one-third of last year’s program total. The reduction comes amid hotel tax shortfalls brought on by COVID-19’s eect on tourism in the city, and

I

I N- STORE & ONL I NE

TWO OR MORE BOTTLES OF SOURCED WI NE *

*Twin Sourced Wine Sale runs 10/1-10/23. Discount applies to two or more bottles of sourced wine. No further discount on Sale Items, Final Few, or Closeouts. Sale valid in-store and online at www.twinliquors.com. Some exclusions apply. Please drink responsibly.

OCT 1-23

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