Getting Help for Art Venues ASAP

June 29 meeting tells artists how to tap $200K in space aid

In his 2016 Music & Creative Ecosystem Omnibus Resolution, Mayor Steve Adler called the lack of affordable space for artists a priority concern. Working out how to address that took the city some time, but this week the Cultural Arts Division is rolling out its Art Space Assistance Program and telling artists how they can tap its $200,000 in aid.

ASAP is designed to provide grants to arts organizations that have lost a space, are in danger of losing a space, or have been socked with a huge rent increase – defined as 25% or higher – since Jan. 1, 2016. Two kinds of grants are available: ones to help recipients cover their rent and ones to help pay for improvements on the recipients’ spaces, especially with regard to bringing them up to code. Applicants for the former can request up to $35,000 (to cover the difference between the previous rent amount and the current amount for up to nine months), while applicants for the latter can request up to $50,000 (though they must be on a three-year lease and a 50% match is required).

If an organization receives a grant, it must retain the current number of employees, host a community workshop with the Economic Development Department, and work with AISD or other Austin-area school districts to provide information about career options.

The CAD notes that it anticipates a high level of interest in the ASAP grants and stresses that this is a competitive process with priority given to applicants facing urgent, critical needs. At the same time, it encourages applications from organizations that serve at-risk/disadvantaged communities, ALAANA (African-, Latino, Asian, Arab-, and Native American) communities, and women. Applications will be reviewed by a committee of public and private sector leaders in real estate, banking, and the arts, and the committee will recommend the grant recipients.

Potential applicants should attend an information meeting Thu., June 29, 6pm, in the Boards and Commissions Room at Austin City Hall, 301 W. Second. For anyone unable to get there, the meeting will also be broadcast live on ATXN, the City of Austin’s television station, and recorded and posted on the Cultural Arts Division website shortly after the event. Applications will be due Tue., Aug. 1, and the grant recipients will be announced Thu., Aug. 31. The program guidelines, with full eligibility requirements and review criteria, are available at Applications can be accessed at

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