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September 24, 2020

Texas Commission on the Arts awards $12.9 million in grants, designates five new cultural districts

Austin's Vortex Repertory Company receives $200,000 for an upcoming production

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The Texas Commission on the Arts has awarded $12.9 million in grants in its first funding round for fiscal year 2021, the commission announced recently. Some 790 grants will go to nonprofits and units of government in 93 Texas cities.

The TCA also named five new cultural districts. The new cultural districts are the Red River Cultural District in Austin, the Deep Ellum Cultural District in Dallas, Near Southside Arts in Fort Worth, and two districts in Houston: the Fifth Ward Cultural Arts District and the Third Ward Cultural District (The Tre). The total number of TCA cultural districts in Texas is now 48.

Through the TCA’s Cultural District grant program, arts organizations and government entities based in TCA-designated districts can apply for grants that fund projects that use the arts to diversify local economies and attract visitors and investment. For fiscal year 2021, 64 applicants from 25 different cultural districts in 23 Texas cities applied to the TCA’s Cultural District grant program and will receive funding totaling over $5 million.

Among the recipients is Austin’s Vortex Repertory Company who received a $200,000 Cultural District grant grant for production expenses for “Annie Jump and the Library of Heaven,” will attract visitors to Six Square: Austin’s Black Cultural District,” according to the project description.

Part of the National New Play Network’s New Play Exchange, “Annie Jump and the Library of Heaven” has been produced in Washington D.C. and Milwaukee. Its author, Reina Hardy, who graduated from UT’s prestigious Michener Center for Writers, is White.



The Vortex’s theatre, at 2307 Manor Road, is on the south side of the street which is the northern border of what in 1928, by mandate of a Jim Crow city plan for racial segregation, became a six square-mile “negro district.” Now known as Six Square, the district is bordered to the north by Manor Road, to the south by Seventh Street, to the east by Airport Boulevard, and to the west by Interstate 35. The independent Black-led non-profit Six Square advocates for the area.

The TCA has a searchable data base of grantee organization name, by city, or by Texas region at arts.texas.gov/cities21/cities/all/2021

Austin area organizations that received more than $10,000 in one or more TCA grants are:

American Short Fiction — $10,000
Anthropos Arts — $10,000
Armstrong Community Music School — $11,500
Art Spark Texas — $39,500
Austin Chamber Music Center — $12,000
Austin Community Radio — $11,500
Austin Film Festival — $50,000
Austin Film Society — $17500
Austin Jazz Workshop — $13,500
Austin Lyric Opera — $14,000
Austin Symphony Orchestra — $17,250
Austin Theatre Alliance (Paramount Theatre & Stateside Theater) — $20,250
Ballet Austin — $21,000
Blanton Museum of Art — $11,000
Capitol View Arts, $19,678
Cine Las Americas — $14,500
Conspirare — $12,500
Contemporary Austin — $8,500
Creative Action — $17,000
Forklift Danceworks — $18,000
Fusebox Festival —  $12,500
Great Promise for American Indians — $10,500
Indigenous Cultures Institute — $13,500
Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Company — $11,500
Kids in a New Groove — $12,500
KMFA, 89.5 FM — $17,500
Long Center— $13,500
Mexic-Arte Museum — $16,000
Puerto Rican Folkloric Dance — $10,500
Rude Mechanicals — $11,900
Texas Early Music Project — $10,500
Texas Folklife — $50,881
Umlauf Sculpture Garde & Museum — $8,500
Women & Their Work — $13,500
Vortex Repertory Company — $209,500
Writers’ League of Texas —  $12,500
Zachary Scott Theatre Center  — $13,500


Jeanne Claire van Ryzin
Jeanne Claire van Ryzinhttps://sightlinesmag.org
An award-winning arts journalist, Jeanne Claire van Ryzin is the founder and editor-in-chief of Sightlines.