Arts grants are funded through taxes levied on the city’s hotel properties, which have experienced significant revenue declines since the onset of the pandemic. City Council budgeted $220,000 for the grants in fiscal year 2021-22. In the years leading up to the pandemic, the city was awarding about $360,000 annually.
Last year, the city awarded $180,000 in grants.
“Unfortunately, the pandemic really had a significant impact on the hotel occupancy fund,” Assistant City Manager Shanna Sims-Bradish told City Council at a Sept. 20 meeting.
Eligible organizations do not have to be located in Richardson; however, they must have a presence in the city. Plano Symphony Orchestra, for example, is not based in Richardson, but regularly performs at the city's Eisemann Center, Sims-Bradish explained. The commission also looks at whether the group is financially sound and if it demonstrated agility during the pandemic, Sims-Bradish said.
“Undoubtedly, the pandemic has been hard on all arts organizations, but many have found ways to keep going by modifying their season, modifying their offerings and working through financial challenges that enabled them to be in a good position,” she said.
Throughout the year, the commission works with grant awardees by providing workshops, promoting performances in Richardson and acting as a resource, Sims-Bradish said.
For the upcoming fiscal year, 25 arts groups applied for grants totaling $469,079. The commission is recommending that 21 of those groups receive grants ranging from $1,000 to $55,000.
Richardson Symphony Inc. is expected to receive the largest grant of $55,000, followed by Repertory Company Theatre at $39,000 and Richardson Theatre Center at $28,000.
City Council will vote on the commission’s recommendations at the Sept. 27 meeting. If approved, checks will be disbursed after the new fiscal year begins Oct. 1.
A full list of the commission's grant recommendations can be found below.
Chamber Music International: $15,000
Chamberlain Ballet: $4,000
Contemporary Chorale: $3,000
Core Theatre: $6,500
Dallas Chinese Community Center: $9,000
DTX Dandiya: $1,000
Friends of the Richardson Public Library: $4,000
Lone Star Wind Orchestra: $4,000
Pegasus Theatre Incorporated: $6,500
Plano Symphony Orchestra: $5,000
Raas All-Stars: $5,000
Repertory Company Theatre Inc.: $39,000
Richardson Civic Arts Society: $5,800
Richardson Community Band: $7,000
Richardson Community Chorale: $3,500
Richardson Reads One Book: $3,700
Richardson Symphony Inc.: $55,000
Richardson Theatre Centre Inc.: $28,000
Rich-Tone Chorus: $4,000
Texas Winds Musical Outreach Inc.: $7,000
Tuzer Ballet: $4,000