The American Rescue Plan spells enormous aid for Austin’s music and humanities scene. In a decision handed final Thursday, Metropolis Council proposed spending $25 million over a two-year interval to revive town’s inventive trade, largely utilizing cash from Austin’s $188.4 million lower of the $1.9 trillion stimulus package deal. 

Whereas Austin’s inventive sector has obtained some assist because the starting of the pandemic from aid applications funded by the CARES Act, these within the trade say they’re nonetheless hurting. 

“Musicians have gone with out steady earned revenue for 14 months now, and gigs will not be again but,” singer/songwriter Sonya Jevette mentioned. “We’d like this cash to maintain our trade till gigs are again at 100%.”

In keeping with a Brookings Institute report from final yr, 32 p.c of these in Austin’s inventive sector misplaced their jobs due to the pandemic. The pandemic has additionally upended the principle approach town helps the humanities – income from the Lodge Occupancy Tax. Austin has misplaced $75 million in HOT income thus far within the pandemic, which means town can’t fulfill its HOT-funded cultural arts contracts. 

The resolution proposes $15 million in grants over two years (as much as $7.5 million per yr) for artists and humanities organizations and $10 million in grants over two years (as much as $5 million per yr) for musicians and music companies. The funds will not be but obtainable as a result of the decision merely directs staffers to return again with a spending plan.

Despite the fact that an enormous chunk of the cash will come from ARPA, it’ll additionally come from elsewhere – town’s Normal Fund, for instance, or different native, state or federal sources. 

At Council’s work session final Tuesday, metropolis staffers introduced their requested ARPA funding allocation, which included $7.8 million over two years towards the Cultural Arts Fund and $2.2 million over two years for the Reside Music Fund. If Council approves these quantities, staffers would nonetheless have to search out $15 million from non-ARPA sources to satisfy the decision’s targets.

As soon as Council decides the right way to use the ARPA cash at both its June 3 or June 10 assembly, “It’s all about getting that cash out the door,” Council Member Vanessa Fuentes mentioned. A lot of this instant aid cash would go to current pandemic-era aid applications so town doesn’t waste time creating new applications. Then, in the course of the price range course of later in the summertime, metropolis staffers would current the right way to spend cash they discover from different sources.

A number of music trade professionals referred to as on a 3rd get together to manage the funds. “Let’s please embody parameters to make sure that the $10 million goes on to our music neighborhood and {that a} certified third get together administer the method,” mentioned Pat Buchta, govt director of Austin Texas Musicians, a nonprofit. 

Extra particulars, together with an internet portal the place individuals can apply for aid, shall be obtainable within the coming weeks.

Picture by Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0, by way of Wikimedia Commons.

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