Arts grants are funded through taxes levied on the city’s hotel properties, which took a significant hit in revenue when tourism dropped off earlier this spring. City Council budgeted $180,000 for arts grants in fiscal year 2020-21, which is about half of what has been awarded in previous years.
Despite this reality, the city has prioritized support of local arts groups so they can be viable once the crisis is over, Mayor Paul Voelker said.
“These cultural arts [organizations] are the heart and soul of our city, and it’s really important they get the funding necessary to get through this difficult time to at least stay alive and vibrant,” he said.
Arts groups were warned in advance that funding would be limited this year, Assistant City Manager Shanna Sims-Bradish said. Only organizations that have been awarded grants in the past were considered, she added.
The commission received 21 applications totaling $362,600. The commission is recommending Richardson Symphony Inc. receive the largest grant of $55,000. Other awardees include Richardson Theater Centre, Richardson Community Chorale and Arts Incubator of Richardson, among others.
Council Member Kyle Kepner, who serves as a liaison to the Richardson Cultural Arts Commission, said the aftermath of the pandemic will likely result in at least two years of hamstrung finances for local arts groups. For future years, the city is considering awarding funding in installments rather than through a single payment in October, Sims-Bradish said.
“To be realistic, we are going to have a more difficult year next year,” Kepner said.
City Council approved the commission’s grant recommendations on consent at the Sept. 14 meeting. Checks will be disbursed after Oct. 1, Sims-Bradish said.
A full list of the commission's grant recommendations can be found below.
- Arts Incubator Richardson: $3,000
- Chamber Music International: $7,000
- Dallas Chinese Community Center: $10,000
- Lone Star Wind Orchestra: $4,000
- Repertory Company Theatre Inc.: $45,000
- Richardson Civic Arts Society: $6,000
- Richardson Community Band: $5,000
- Richardson Community Chorale: $3,000
- Richardson Reads One Book: $2,000
- Richardson Symphony Inc.: $55,000
- Richardson Theatre Centre Inc.: $35,000
- Texas Winds Musical Outreach Inc.: $5,000