City of Austin's $1 Million Program for Creative Space Disaster Relief; Applications Accepted May 27 - June 17, 2020


(via City of Austin)The Economic Development Department’s (EDD) June 2016 Response to the Music and Creative Ecosystem Omnibus Resolution (Resolution No. 20160303-019) identified affordable space for artists and musicians as a priority concern area. The economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak created additional pressures in the creative industry. The Austin City Council approved Resolution No. 20200423-040 on April 23, 2020 to provide $1 million for the Austin Creative Space Disaster Relief Program. This grant will provide direct support to for-profit live music venues, performance spaces, art galleries, arts-focused nonprofits and individual artists facing temporary or permanent displacement.

2020 Creative Space Relief Program Overview

The purpose of this Program is to provide direct support to qualifying creative organizations facing temporary or permanent displacement, or to those previously displaced. As with the 2019 program, the Creative Space Relief Program will include both arts nonprofits and for-profit organizations as defined on page 2 of the guidelines. The Austin Creative Space Disaster Relief Program will also include relief options for Austin creative businesses and individual artists impacted by pressures of affordability as well as those that have suffered sudden and catastrophic losses due to COVID-19.

Nonprofits composed of and/or serving historically underrepresented communities, such as ALAANA (African American, Latino, Asian American, Arab American, and Native American) communities, individuals with disabilities, and LGBTQIA are encouraged to apply.

Funding in the amount of $1,000,000 is available in the FY 2019-2020 current budget appropriation, $500,000 from the Economic Incentive Reserve Special Revenue Fund and $500,000 from the Economic Development Operating Fund. Based on recent real estate trends, the amount of funding requested by applicants in previous years, and the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, EDD anticipates overwhelming demand. Grants will be awarded in amounts up to $50,000, with the option of pro-rating awards.

Financial assistance may be used to defray rent hikes, property acquisition costs, or other compelling space-related needs identified by applicants. Only one financial assistance grant may be awarded per project/organization per grant period, which will extend one year from contract execution. Only organizations that have been displaced and relocated (or facing threat of such) after June 1, 2016, including those organizations and individual artists facing extreme hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible for financial assistance.

Grants will be made on a competitive basis and determined by established criteria. Priority will be given to organizations confronting immediate and critical needs, and bonus points will be given to those who did not receive 2018 ASAP or 2019 Creative Space Assistance Program funding. After applications are initially reviewed by City Staff to meet Program eligibility, a five-member Grant Review Committee comprised of representatives from the arts, music, finance, and/or real estate communities will evaluate and score the applications and make final recommendations to EDD.

  • Timeline (subject to change):

    Application Opens: May 27, 2020
    Information Meeting: June 5, 2020, 3:00 - 4:00 p.m. CST Application Deadline: June 17, 2020, 5:00 p.m. CST Awards Announced: Week of June 29, 2020
    Contracts Executed: Week of June 29, 2020
    First Disbursement of Funds: Week of June 6, 2020


Click HERE to view full program description in .pdf