Arts Commission outlines plans for distributing $5.5 million in relief funding

Ground Floor Theatre
Jack Darling, Stan McDowell (center) and Juleeane Villarreal in Ground Floor Theater's production of 'rain falls special on me' which premiered in Aug. 2021. (photo: Cindy Elizabeth)

At its Sept. 20 meeting, the Austin Arts Commission made recommendations for distributing almost $5.5 million of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money to the cultural community.

In May, Austin City Council members charged the Cultural Arts Division staff and arts commission to move swiftly to distribute the one-time relief funding from the city’s ARPA apportionment ear-marked for the arts.

In its September meeting recap newsletter, the Arts Commission outlined the following plan:

  • Current cultural contractors in Core and Cultural Heritage Festivals who received less than $10,000 in relief funding — from Shuttered Venue Operators Grant, ARPA-funded Arts and Culture Nonprofit Relief, Creative Space Assistance Program, and CARES Act-funded Nonprofit Relief for arts orgs — will receive 100% of their FY21 contract amount. (Total: $1,861,125)
  • Current cultural contractors in Core and Cultural Heritage Festivals, who received less than $1 million but more than $10,000 in relief funding, will receive 85% of their FY21 contract amount. (Total: 3,439,348)
  • The remainder of just under $200,000 will be used as needed for adjustments or other emergency funding programs that can serve other small organizations or individuals not covered in this funding proposal recommendation. These other possible uses of these funds are still under discussion by the commission and Cultural Arts Division /Economic Development staff.

The recommendation was unanimously approved by the Arts Commission and submitted to City Council.

Related: ‘The Austin arts groups that received Shuttered Venue Operators Grants’

Read the full meeting recap newsletter at

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