The advisory Arts Commission of the City of Austin met in special session on Monday night, March 22, to consider changes to arts funding prepared by City staff in response to an opinion deliver by the City's legal office. After hearing citizen comments, the Commission voted unanimously to urge City Council members to reject the new criteria, which could have the consequences, inter alia, of cutting off grants for education and arts outreach.
Commission leaders and Latifah Taormina, Executive Director of the Greater Austin Creative Alliance (GACA) briefed arts organizations on March 23.
The story has broken in the press. Dan Solomon of Austinist.com surveys the issue and legal texts, as well as interviewing major players. Jeanne Claire van Ryzin, writing on the Statesman's Arts360 "Seeing Things" blog, does a brief summary but provides pertinent numbers and percentages regarding Austin's revenues from the hotel and occupancy tax.
Latifah Taormina provides an update today, March 23, by e-mail and on the NowPlaying Austin blog, opening, "It's working. . . . " Her piece includes notes about the action plan items suggested by arts organizations.
The Internet-based private news service InFactDaily.com reports that City Council members were taken by surprise by the deluge of more than 500 e-mails on the proposed changes in criteria for arts funding and they are displeased with city management. The article quotes acting mayor Mike Martinez, Randi Shade and Bill Spellman. Full text of report is reprinted by permission at the Austin Jazz Workshop website.