The Creative Space Assistance Program offers grants between $5,000 and $50,000 to creative organizations and independent artists facing displacement or new commercial leases at higher and unaffordable rates. Grant funds may be used for revenue-generating space improvements, lease payments, and gap financing for creative space purchases.

Application Open: January 24 at 10 a.m. – February 28 at 5 p.m. 

Apply Now! 

Solicite el Programa de Asistencia para Espacios Creativos  

Nộp đơn cho Chương Trình Hỗ Trợ Không Gian Sáng Tạo

申请创意空间援助项目

申請創意空間援助項目 

창작 공간 지원 프로그램 신청하기 

क्रिएटिव स्पेस असिस्टेंस प्रोग्राम (Creative Space Assistance Program) के लिए आवेदन करें 

Faites une demande pour le programme d'assistance à l'espace créatif 

تقدم لبرنامج مساعدة مساحة الإبداع 

 


Assistance

How to Create a City Account

Watch a video on How to Create a City Account.  | Cómo crear una cuenta con la Ciudad.

 

Create An Account – For First-Time Users

  • Step 1: Visit the Economic Development Department Application Portal
  • Step 2: Click the “Create Account” icon.  
  • Step 3: Enter the required information and click the “Submit” button.  
  • Step 4: After completing account creation, you will be prompted to fill out your profile information.  
  • Step 5: After updating your profile information, you will be redirected to the home screen to begin the application process. 

 

How to Redeem Your Access Code

If you have previously applied for a City of Austin Economic Development Department grant or program, you may need to redeem an access code to confirm and access your account. If you received a ‘Your email is connected to our system’ message, follow the steps below to confirm and access your account.  

  • Step 1: Visit the Economic Development Department Application Portal
  • Step 2: Click the “Create Account” icon.  
  • Step 3: Enter the required information and click the “Submit” button.    
  • Step 4: If your information is in our database, your access code will be displayed. 
  • Step 5: Copy the one-time access code and enter into the Access Code tab.  
  • Step 6: After you confirm your account, you will be directed to complete your account creation using the “Create Account” tab.

 


Grant Guidelines

Applicant Eligibility

 

Eligible Applicants

  • Arts-focused non-profits designated as a 501(c)(3) 
  • Independent artists with commercial studio spaces 
  • For-profit businesses that have eligible commercial properties 
  • Must be 18 years old to apply 

 

Ineligible Applicants

  • Applicants younger than 18 years of age
  • City of Austin employees 

Commercial Property Eligibility

 

Eligible Commercial Properties

  • Must be located in the Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) which includes Bastrop, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties
  • Must be appropriately zoned for intended use as a commercial creative space
  • For-profit commercial property must meet EDD’s definition of either a “Live Music Venue”, “Performance Venue/Theater”, or “Museum/Art Gallery”, including:  
    • Live Music Venue: An establishment where live music programming is the principal function of the business and/or the business is a live music destination, and where the venue clearly establishes the ability of an artist to receive payment for work by percentage of sales, guarantee or other mutually beneficial formal agreement for every performance. A live music venue is a destination for live music consumers, and/or its music programming and is the primary driver of its business as indicated by the presence of at least five (5) of the following:  
      • a) Defined performance and audience space 
      • b) Mixing desk, PA system, and lighting rig 
      • c) Back line 
      • d) At least two of the following:   
        • (i) sound engineer,   
        • (ii) booker,   
        • (iii) promoter,   
        • (iv) stage manager, or   
        • (v) security personnel 
      • e) Charges cover charge to some music performance through ticketing or front door entrance fee 
      • f) Markets specific acts through show listings in printed and electronic publications 
      • g) Hours of operation coincide with performance times 
      • h) Programs live music at least five nights a week 
    • Performance Venue/Theater: An establishment whose principal function and mission is to present live performances, plays, live music, film screenings, or other performances of artistic work produced by an artist, or arts and culture organization, accessible by public audiences. 
    • Museum/Art Gallery: Facility with a principal function and mission to exhibit, present, and/or sell artistic work in a variety of media produced by an artist, artist collective, or arts and culture organization, accessible by public audiences. City-run/owned, State-run/owned, or Federally-run/owned facilities are not eligible. 
  • The receipt of grant funds by for-profit businesses may result in a significant tax liability. It's the responsibility of the awardee to consult with their tax advisor to understand how they may be impacted.

 

Ineligible Commercial Properties

  • City of Austin, State of Texas, or Federally run/owned facilities 

Expense Eligibility

 

Eligible Expenses

  • Gap Financing for Property Acquisition – If requesting funds in the form of down payment assistance or gap financing, you must demonstrate a high degree of project readiness, including detailed cost estimates for the acquisition and a detailed deal structure, including proof of financing for the remaining amount of funds needed for purchase.
  • Rent Stipend – Up to 30% of base commercial rent, not to exceed $50,000 over a 12-month period 
  • Other Space-Related Needs – Includes such facility improvements as architectural or project plans and displacement-related expenses: 
    • If requesting funds to make physical and acoustical improvements to an eligible commercial space, the applicant must demonstrate a detailed site development and construction budget, an identified project team with contractors, and a project timeline. 
    • Must demonstrate how the proposed project will comply with City of Austin Code and improves the financial and programmatic performance for the organization. 
    • If requesting funds to cover displacement-related expenses (including facility rental, equipment rental & acquisition, transportation or moving costs), the applicant must produce receipts or proof of payment.

 

Ineligible Expenses

  • Expenses incurred before March 2020 
  • Fundraising expenses, including entertainment, reception or hospitality expenses 
  • Salaries 
  • Payments to students or interns whose employment is tied to class credit 
  • Other operating costs besides rent 
  • Purchase of gifts, awards, cash prizes, scholarships, contributions or donations 
  • Existing debts, fines, contingencies, penalties, interest or litigation costs 
  • Travel costs 
  • Property taxes or any other tax, except retail sales taxes 
Application Preview
  • Are you applying as a(n):  
    • Third-party Affiliate, Grant Writer, or Other Affiliation  
    • Owner or Executive Director/Leadership  
    • Sole Proprietor or Independent Artist 
    • Individual/Household (NOT eligible) 
  • Are you a City of Austin Employee? (select one)  
  • Is your business, enterprise, or organization a Live Music Venue? 
  • Is your business, enterprise, or organization a Museum / Art Gallery? 
  • Is your business, enterprise, or organization location a Performance Venue / Theater? 
  • Which Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) County is your organization located?  
  • How long have you been banking with a financial institution?  
  • When was financing last secured for you or your business? This includes loans, lines-of-credit, or other types of traditional financing. 
  • Do you provide healthcare coverage for employees?   

 

Project Information

  • Amount Requested – Enter an amount between $5,000 - $50,000 
  • Provide the physical address of your organization.  
  • Select the City of Austin Council District for your organization. 
  • Provide your organization’s mission or purpose below. (1,000 character limit, including spaces) 
  • Which category of funding you are requesting? Select only one: Rent Stipend, Gap Financing, Other Space-related Needs (i.e., facility improvements or displacement-related costs)

 

Compelling Need 

  • The funds will help - Select all that apply: Continue existing services, Expand existing services, Expand audience, Generate additional revenue 
  • Please explain each selected response from the above question. Your response should include: How funds will be used to address each selected compelling need. Detailed examples for each selected compelling need. (2,000 character limit, including spaces)

 

 Urgency

  • Select the answer that best describes your organization’s level of urgency. 
    • Currently displaced, needs to relocate, renew lease, or renovate to avoid displacement within 6 months. 
    • Not displaced, but needs to relocate, renew lease, or renovate to avoid displacement within 13 months.  
    • Not displaced, but needs to relocate, renew lease, or renovate to avoid displacement within 20 months. 
  • Please explain your displacement or relocation urgency for the selected response to the above question. (2,000 character limit, including spaces)

 

Co-location

  • To what extent do you or your organization engage in co-location? Select all that apply. 
    • Co-location has served or advanced the organization’s mission, cultural use, or artistic production 
    • The organization has either increased access to affordable space for other creatives or has benefited from increased income by engaging in co-location 
    • Co-location has improved programming or collaboration for the organization  
  • Please explain your co-location situation for each selected response to the above question. (2,000 character limit including spaces)

 

Community Benefits

  • What benefits does your organization provide to the community? Select all that apply. 
  • For the selections made above, please explain how each meets a community need. (2,000 character limit including spaces) 

 

 Equity

  • How does your organization demonstrate commitment to equity and serve underrepresented communities in Austin? Select all that apply. Mission focus, Event schedule, Outreach or marketing, Programs targeted to underrepresented communities   
  • For selections made above, please explain how each demonstrates commitment to equity. (2,000 character limit including spaces) 
  • Agree to Grant Awardee Commitments, see section for more details.

 

Important Tax Information  

Receipt of grant funds or loan funds forgiven may result in a significant tax liability in the year of benefit. It is the responsibility as the grant/loan recipient to consult with a tax adviser to understand impacted based on individual tax situations.   

 

Required Documentation

See Application Materials section for more information. 

Application Materials

Upload the following documents to be considered for eligibility of the Creative Space Assistance Program. Acceptable file formats include: .csv, .doc, .docx, .odt, .pdf, .rtf, .txt, .wpd, .wpf, .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .svg, .tif, .tiff. Max file upload: 10MB 

 

Eligibility Documents  

  • Executed lease or lease offer  
  • Non-profit Internal Revenue Service designation letter as a 501(c)(3) or a State of Texas non-profit incorporation letter  
  • For-profit Certificate of Fact - Status (PDF) from the Office of the Secretary of State of Texas; or  
  • For sole proprietors or independent artists, upload your W-9 form

 

For Rent Stipend Requests, submit at least one of the following documents:

  • Letter from the property owner informing of an increase in rent or nonrenewal  
  • Rent quotes from potential new sites  
  • For leasehold improvements, notice of code violation that will be addressed with funds  
  • Description of revenue and/or organization benefits resulting from leasehold improvements

 

For Gap Financing Requests, submit at least one of the following documents:   

  • Deal structure/proof of financing for acquisition  
  • Cost estimate for acquisition   
  • Profit and loss and/or financial statements evidencing percentage of rent to income.

 

For Other Commercial Space-Related Improvement Requests, submit the following:  

  • Description of project team/contractors  
  • Timeline and project plan  
  • Budget for commercial property improvements
Application Scoring

Category 

Criteria 

Available Points 

Access to Services 

Applicant lacks access to services, including: 

  • Applicant and/or project located in a Qualified Census Tract (QCT) 
  • Access to traditional funding support 
  • Healthcare coverage for employees 

Up to 30 Points 

Compelling Project Need 

The applicant demonstrates the funding will address a compelling project need. 

Up to 20 Points 

Urgency 

 
 

The applicant demonstrates the level of urgency of need according to the following categories: 

  • Most Urgent: Applicant displaced or requires immediate relocation, lease renewal, or renovation in 6 months to avoid displacement 
  • Urgent: Applicant not displaced, but requires immediate relocation, lease renewal, or renovation in 7-13 months to avoid displacement 
  • Less Urgent: Applicant not displaced, but requires immediate relocation, lease renewal, or renovation in 14-20 months to avoid displacement 

Up to 15 Points 

Co-Location 

 
 

Applicant Demonstrates co-location / sub-leasing opportunities, including: 

  • Co-location has served or advanced the applicant’s mission, cultural use, or artistic production 
  • Applicant has either increased access to affordable space to other creatives, or has benefited from increased income 
  • Co-location has improved programmatic efficiencies/collaboration for the applicant 

Up to 15 Points 

Community Benefit 

Demonstrates impact to the community through such elements as mission, programs, events, and relationships. 

Up to 5 Points 

Equity 

 
 

The applicant demonstrates that it’s committed to equity and to serving historically underrepresented communities in Austin. 

Up to 20 Points 

New Recipient 

The applicant has not received previous City funding, including: 

  • Creative Space Disaster Relief Program 
  • Austin Live Music Venue Preservation Fund 
  • Austin Legacy Business Relief Grant 
  • Austin Small Business Relief Grant 
  • Austin Non-Profit Relief Grant 

10 Bonus Points 

Grant Awardee Commitments

Award recipients must agree to only one of the following program commitments: 

 

Technical Assistance Program Commitment 

  • Agree to participate in technical assistance or other capacity building support (business development workshops, financial planning, etc.)  
  • Agree to participate in or host one professional development opportunity for the community (speaker, workshop, webinar, panel, etc.). 

 

Career Development Program Commitment 

  • Agree to engage in career development opportunities with the Austin Independent School District, other school districts operating in Austin, or other entities that provide information about career options for students K-12.