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Austin Expected to See a 93% Decrease in Arts Funding Next Year

The Austin Creative Alliance  launched a call to action asking arts supporters to write to city council members.

Austin's arts funding is expected to see a 93% decrease next year, Sightlines reports.

In fiscal year 2019, the last before the pandemic, city arts funding totaled $13 million. Projections by the Economic Development Department, show an estimate of $1 million in available funds for fiscal year 2022. Funding levels are set according to tax revenues from the previous fiscal year.

These projections have prompted the Austin Arts Commission to recommend that the Austin City Council approves a $20 million allotment from the federal American Rescue Plan which would help the city's arts funding for the next two years.

"Austin arts organizations, already reeling from displacement due to the rapid growth and development of our city, were faced with unprecedented and extreme financial challenges brought on by the pandemic," the commission wrote in its request. "Artists, arts organizations and cultural arts venues have lost their traditional revenue streams, are bearing huge losses, and are struggling to survive."

Additionally, the Austin Creative Alliance launched a call to action asking arts supporters to write to city council members.

"This is about rescuing creative arts jobs - jobs that create the cultural landscape of our city, jobs that create Austin's appeal to tourists," said Alliance CEO John Riedie.

The city council is scheduled to take up the request for American Rescue Plan funds at its May 20 meeting.

Read more on Sightlines.

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