The Economic Development Department’s (EDD) response to the Austin Music & Creative Ecosystem Omnibus Resolution (Resolution No. 20160303-019) identified affordable space for artists as a priority area of concern. Preserving and increasing the supply of available space for creative people involves the public and private sector working collaboratively to assess existing space needs, anticipate future user demand, and find ways to efficiently bring forward that supply of space. The public sector plays a role in facilitating the provision of space in several key ways.
EDD's Art Space Assistance Program (ASAP) provides grants to support non-profits facing permanent displacement, those previously displaced, or those facing lease renewals at substantially higher rates amidst a volatile real estate market. This grant program is made possible through one-time funding from the City of Austin General Fund. Non-profits serving high at-risk/disadvantaged communities, ALAANA (African-, Latino, Asian-, Arab- and Native American) communities and women organizations are vital to the success of this program. Financial assistance may be used for:
Only one financial assistance grant may be awarded per project/organization per funding cycle. Only organizations that have been displaced and relocated (or facing threat of such) since January 1, 2016, or that are facing a lease renewal with substantially higher rates are eligible for financial assistance grants. If City Council chooses to extend this program, funding preference will be given to first (1st) time applicants. Prior recipients will be given priority after the completion of their three-year business plan following their initial award date. Successful applicants to the ASAP program will commit to the following:
Job Retention – With receipt of these funds the organization will commit to maintain current employment levels.
Professional Development – Agree to participate is host one professional development opportunity for the community (speaker, workshop, webinar, etc.), in partnership with the Economic Development Department
Career Development – Agree to engage in career development opportunities with Austin Independent School District, other school districts operating in Austin, or other entities that provide information about career options for students in K-12.
The pilot grant program is being launched with $200,000 in one-time funding available for the Music Venue Assistance Program. Organizations with at least a 3-year lease term were able to apply for a financial assistance grant up to $50,000 for Tenant Improvements and up to $35,000 for Rent Stipend. Tenant Improvement grants will required a 50% match. Applicants with less than a 3-year lease had to illustrate how the ASAP would be of benefit over the next 3 years.
Complete guidelines for the ASAP program are available here. An information meeting on the program was held June 29, 2017 at Austin City Hall in the Boards and Commissions Room. A video of the meeting, which included detailed instructions on how to apply and a Q & A session, is available here.
ASAP Program Update:
In September 2017, the following organizations were recommended for funding for the ASAP program. Grants were made on a competitive basis, and priority was given to organizations confronting immediate and critical needs.