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Arts and Culture Organizational Development Grants Awarded

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Arts and Culture Organizational Development Grants Awarded

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

The Legislature awarded 2018 grants under the County’s Arts and Culture Organizational Development (ACOD) grant program, one of ten Tourism Program funded through County room occupancy tax dollars, as recommended by its Planning, Development and Environmental Quality Committee and the County’s Strategic Tourism Planning Board. Ultimately, nearly $218,000 was split among ten local arts and cultural organizations, as recommended by the Community Arts Partnership, which serves in an advisory role for the capacity-building program. What prompted considerable thoughtful discussion, however, was a proposed amendment advanced by Legislator Dan Klein (which failed to win support) that would also have directed an $87,000 increase in the grant program’s 2018 budget to $300,000 (an amount equivalent to the total amount requested by the applicant organizations), with the ACOD grant review panel reconvened to consider allocating the additional funds.

Mr. Klein maintained that the public had spoken clearly and overwhelmingly in comments to legislators about its preferences in support of an increase in the ACOD funding, which he indicated was feasible to fund from increased room tax revenue. Many other Legislators thanked Klein for bringing up the issue, but a number of them noted that tourism funding, with its many grant programs, is complex, and that the careful decisions and priorities of the Strategic Tourism Planning Board should be respected at this time. As had happened when Mr. Klein first raised the ACOD funding issue late last year, a number of legislators called for a conversation involving the STPB, legislators, and staff, to talk about Tourism Program funding and the 2019 budget. Ultimately, it’s our decision, but we want to do it with the STPB’s support, Legislator Leslyn McBean-Clairborne said.

Following discussion, Legislator Klein’s amendment failed by a 2-10 vote, with Mr. Klein and Legislator Henry Granison voting in favor (Legislators Rich John and Glenn Morey were excused), with the award resolution passing by the same margin, Legislators Klein and Granison dissenting.