Arts funding is getting the squeeze along with the rest of the City budget: The take from its 15-percent allotment of the Hotel/Motel Occupancy Tax will be down by as much as 13 percent this coming year, thanks to our anemic economy. Last year, the Office of Cultural Affairs, which oversees the distribution of funding for our local cultural programming, took the hit itself, reducing its internal budget by some 25 percent, said Executive Director Felix Padrón, but early in this fiscal cycle OCA began warning funding recipients that FY 2011 budget cuts would trickle down to our theaters, art spaces, and dance troupes. As part of its lean-times strategy, OCA closed the funding-application process, limiting next year’s HOT funds to its current crop of funding recipients, but Padrón expects to open applications up again for FY 2012; look for the RFP in February/March.
Horses who got into the barn before the doors were closed this round will receive the same amount of funding they were awarded last year, less as much as that 13 percent — although Padrón expects the cuts to be a little smaller, thanks to negotiations with some of its recipients, including the Museo Alameda, which will likely receive significantly less HOT cash in response to its reduced operating budget.
The Museo, QueQue readers will recall, has been on probation (and a special keep-the-doors-open allowance) with the City after a close call with bankruptcy, but Padrón says board chair Rolando Pablos has presented a new business plan to OCA, a “bare-bones” strategy with a three-to-five-year map for turning the Latino-culture org and Smithsonian affiliate around. Programming for the upcoming year will include installations by local artists, an exhibition culled from the Mexican-art collection of Lance Aaron, painting lessons by PR guru Lionel Sosa and wife Kathy, and an onsite working studio featuring none other than Jesse Treviño.
Luminaria is still in the proposed budget at $250,000, and the citywide arts festival is scheduled to take over all of HemisFair Park March 12, with an even broader range of performing and visual arts. Next year’s co-chairs are Magik Theatre’s Richard Rosen and Ballet Conservatory of South Texas’ Susanne Cooper. Get more info and watch for RFPs at luminariasa.org.