Calling in the Experts

Dabney and Associates, the consulting firm hired by the city to review Austin's arts funding policies, consists of Lucille E. Dabney and Marion McCollam, both former executive directors of the Cultural Arts Council of Houston; and Eduardo Diaz, former director of cultural affairs for the city of San Antonio. Their charge from the city of Austin consists of three components: to evaluate the city's current arts funding process; to identify arts funding models in other cities across the country that might be applicable to Austin; and to recommend to the city viable alternatives to the current process and strategies for implementing them. The consultants report directly to Page Grave, first assistant city auditor. Their contract is set to run 90 days, so since it was signed on Aug. 19, that puts the final report due in mid-November. They have conducted interviews with elected and appointed officials, hotel and downtown interests, the heads of the Visitors Bureau and the Texas Commission on the Arts, and various participants in the process and have observed and participated in large and small group meetings connected with the cultural funding process. On Sept. 28, the three conducted an open space meeting to give members of the arts community a chance to participate in the assessment of the public arts funding process and support of the arts in Austin. On Oct. 2, they provided a preliminary report to City Council, which can be read at www.ci.austin.tx.us/council/02/work10022002.htm.
  • More of the Story

  • A Better Tomorrow

    For years, the city of Austin's arts funding process has been mired in perpetual gloom, but with the city reviewing its Cultural Contracts Program, artists and arts companies talking with each other about collaborations and a shared vision of what the arts mean to Austin, there are glimmers of light on the city's arts funding horizon.
  • The Audit

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