Arts Funding Letter from Meghan Wells, Manager, Cultural Arts Division, City of Austin, October 4, 2018

Sent on October 4, 2018:


From: Wells, Meghan <>
Date: Thu, Oct 4, 2018 at 5:04 PM
Subject: Cultural Funding Update
Cc: Pantel, Jesus <>, Holt-Rabb, Sylnovia <>, Barnes, Brett - BC <>, Bryan, Chris - BC <>, Castillo, Jaime - BC <>, Flores, Maria - BC <>, Fonte, Bears - BC <>, Garza, Felipe - BC <>, McCain, Alissa - BC <>, Mok, Amy - BC <>, Polgar, Michelle - BC <>, Reeves, Krissi - BC <>

(via Cultural Arts Division)

Hello Cultural Contractors and Arts Commissioners, 
I wanted to let you know that this afternoon, the City Council voted unanimously to approve the recommended Cultural Funding awards for FY 19.  (Again, those award amounts are available online as “Exhibit A” along with other backup, including a memo to Mayor and Council, here:  Thank you to those who talked with Council and/or attended the meeting to share your thoughts on this critical issue.  To continue the dialogue and information sharing process at the Council and community level, this issue will be placed on a future meeting of the Council’s Audit and Finance Committee.  When that is scheduled, I will let you know.
Now that we have Council approval, Cultural Arts Division (CAD)  staff will be sending out formal notifications to all applicants tomorrow (via email and USPS) to confirm those awards and indicate next steps, per our typical notification process.  This notification will include dates of upcoming pre-contract workshops (the first one set for this coming Saturday at the Manchaca Branch Library at noon) and other relevant information for contractors.   It is our desire to work closely with you to ensure that FY 18 contracts are closed out in a timely manner, in order to initiate FY 19 contract execution as soon as possible.  If you have any questions about your particular award, contract, or next steps, please do not hesitate to contact the respective CAD staff member listed on your notification letter.
I also want to recognize the grace, strength and resiliency that all of you have shown during this process, and I regret that the confluence of factors that brought cuts to bear this year was not realized or communicated to you early enough.  I take that responsibility and apologize for the hardship that it has posed to so many of you.  I am eager to stay in contact with all of you more closely in the future so that we can forge a path forward that builds on the conversations we’ve had in the past few weeks and capitalizes on the fervent desire that I firmly believe is shared by the Commission, staff, and the community to find solutions together.  I will be co-designing a process with all of you and the Commission to explore changes to the funding program for next year and future years.  I count on all of you to be a part of that crucial work, and appreciate your partnership.
And as a reminder, the Arts Commission meetings are always open to you, and take place at 6 pm on the third Monday of each month, typically in City Hall (the next one scheduled for October 15th in the City Hall Executive Session Room).  The agendas are always posted on the Arts Commission’s website 72 hours in advance of the meeting.  I know I speak for the Commissioners when I encourage you to get to know them, communicate with them, and invite them to see the incredible work that you’re doing for our city.
Please call on me with any ideas, suggestions, questions, or concerns, anytime.  I value your insights and observations.
My best, 
Meghan Wells
Manager, Cultural Arts Division