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City of Austin announces $11 million investment in Austin Arts Ecosystem

362 contracts awarded to date for Fiscal Year 2017

City of Austin Economic DevelopmentAustin, Texas – In honor of National Arts and Humanities Month, the City of Austin Economic Development Department’s Cultural Arts Division is proud to announce 362 contracts totaling $11,231,122 have been awarded to Austin artists and arts groups for Fiscal Year 2017. This investment in Austin’s local artistic community is vital to the strength of our local economy and in sustaining a thriving component of the unique civic character that shapes valuable experiences for Austin’s residents and visitors. The dollars from increased tourism and hotel use, are a core investment in the $4.3B creative industry of Austin. The creative economy generates $71M a year in new taxes and employs 49,000 people according to a study conducted by TXP, Inc.
[tweetthis]City of #Austin announces $11 million investment [/tweetthis]
As the City of Austin prepares to enter into this year’s cultural contracts, the City is releasing data on the economic impact for FY 15 (with FY 16 data still being collected).  A summary of the impact of the FY 15 awards is as follows:

  • $8,037,882 in contracted funds
  • 294 total contracts
  • 5,425,339 audience members reached
    • 625,854 youth served
    • 661,032 tourists served
  • 513 full-time positions supported
  • 1,242 part-time positions supported
  • 8,190 artists received a fee
  • 13,947 volunteers utilized
  • $4,968,035 in In-Kind contributions
  • $71,735,209 additional cash expenses leveraged to complete contracted activities
    • 892.46% leveraged funds
    • Or 8.93 times as much leveraged funds

“Austin’s arts community is a significant contributor to our economic and cultural vibrancy as a city, and the support that we can lend through the Cultural Funding Program generates a huge return on investment, in terms of both the dollars leveraged and the enrichment of our daily lives by the amazing variety and quality of the arts produced here in Austin,” said Meghan Wells, Cultural Arts Division Manager.

It is expected that when FY 16 data are available, the economic impact will be greater than that of FY 15, as the number of contracts increased from 294 to 298 and the amount awarded increased from just over $8 million to approximately $9.1 million.  With the number of FY 17 contracts at a record level, the economic impact continues to grow, with the number of contracts increasing by 123% (from FY 15) to a projected 450 and the amount awarded increasing by 140% to over $11 million.

The FY 17 awards include funding through four main programs (Core, Cultural Expansion, Cultural Heritage Festivals, and Capacity Building), as well as money set aside to be expended throughout the year for the monthly Community Initiatives program.  The funds also support the TEMPO temporary public art program and creation and implementation of up to three new Innovative and Collaborative funding opportunities that the Cultural Arts Division plans to roll out soon.

New this year, awards to AALANA (African American, Latino, Asian, and Native American) contractors in the Core program include a 10% modifier as part of the Cultural Arts Division’s efforts to make funding more equitable.  Recognizing that these artists and arts groups are in historically disadvantaged economic positions, the modifier helps alleviate the impact a smaller budget could have on the recipient’s overall award.  The modifier added an additional $77,943 to the 74 awarded AALANA contractors.

All programs except Capacity Building are funded through the Hotel Occupancy Tax, of which the Cultural Arts Division receives 15% of the total collected.  The Capacity Building program is funded through a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and allocations from the FY 17 City of Austin budget adopted by City Council.

City of Austin Cultural Arts Division
The Cultural Arts Division of the Economic Development Department provides leadership and management for the City’s cultural arts programs and for the development of arts and cultural industries. The Cultural Arts Division is responsible for the Cultural Arts Funding Programs, Art in Public Places Program, community-based arts development, and programs to assist the development of film and creative industries in Austin. For more information, visit www.austincreates.com.

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