The Creative Space Assistance Program offers awards between $5,000 and $50,000 to commercial creative spaces facing displacement or new leases at higher and unaffordable rates. Grant funds may be used for revenue-generating space improvements, partial lease payments, and gap financing for creative space purchases. Contact Program Manager Kim McCarson for information.


2023 Creative Space Assistance Program Awards

With over 150 submissions, the following 65 eligible applicants were awarded after evaluation and scoring according to Fiscal Year 2023 Creative Space Assistance Program grant guidelines:

2023 Awardees
Organization Name Award
Almost Real Things $11,880
Antone's Nightclub $50,000
Arroyo Audio $6,120
Art From the Streets $10,148
Art Spark Texas $7,560
Austin Bat Cave $5,544
Austin Book Arts Center $7,442
Austin Creative Reuse $50,000
Austin Visual Arts Association $9,000
Broad Studios $36,210
Cheer Up Charlies $25,825
Cloud Tree $42,252
Club Eternal $21,600
Coronado Print Studio $29,367
Creative Action $50,000
Creekside Studio $5,000
CW LLC $5,400
DAWA (Diversity Awareness and Wellness in Action) $10,298
Eastside Silver Prints $7,049
Flamingo Cantina $7,920
Flatbed Press $20,432
Fusebox Festival $18,534
Future Front Texas $9,360
Give One Studio LLC $27,000
Ground Floor Theatre $18,064
Half Step $30,000
Highland Collective $5,400
Hotel Vegas $50,000
HowMuch?! Studios $9,540
Hyde Park Theatre $14,692
ICOSA Collective $5,258
Juno Black Music $50,000
Kick Butt Coffee $24,710
KOOP 91.7FM $11,797
LadyRahe Music $23,400
Latinitas, Inc. $27,256
Line Upon Line $7,200
Luna Music $6,761
MASS Gallery, Inc. $10,494
Motion Media Arts Center $50,000
Museum of Human Achievement (MoHA) $50,000
New School of Music $29,686
Origin Studio House $19,800
Parker Jazz Club $41,692
Prizer Arts and Letters $6,120
Puerto Rican Folkloric Dance, Inc. $16,164
Pump Project Art Complex $35,728
Red Nightfall Productions $14,623
Rozco's Comedy Club $39,581
Rude Mechanicals, A Theatre Collective $7,380
Santa Cruz Theater $36,990
Takeoff Terminal Studios $49,322
Tapestry Dance Co. $19,953
Texas Music Museum Inc. $42,145
Texas Toy Museum $48,600
The Baron's Men $8,280
The City Theatre Company $37,000
The Electric Church $10,800
The Far Out Lounge & Stage $49,651
The Hideout Theatre $32,950
The Love of China School of Chinese Dance $6,480
Tiger Den ATX $10,789
Traditional Jewish Music foundation $13,320
We Luv Video Film and Cultural Center $18,077
Zachary Scott Theatre $34,316


Creative Space Assistance Program Dashboard

View a summary dashboard for the 2023 Creative Space Assistance Program applicants and awardees.


2023 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 Scoring



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 


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 


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 


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.