The Economic Development Department’s Cultural Arts Funding Program supports cultural arts programs for the Austin community by contracting with arts organizations for specific services. The Cultural Arts Division has administered various funding programs since 1981 through the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) authorized by state law.

Current Funding Opportunities: Thrive and Elevate Grants

The City of Austin’s Economic Development Department is providing over $13 million in support through the Thrive and Elevate Grant programs, offering funding to local arts organizations and artists. This is a joint application that helps applicants receive the greatest amount of applicable funding, and will be available in English and Spanish. Applications open June 25 and close July 23.

Learn More about Elevate

Learn More about Thrive

Cultural Funding Programs

Thrive, Elevate, and Nexus cultural funding programs were developed in consultation with Austin’s creative community from 2019-2022. Funding prioritizes equity through a combination of seed funding, broad sector support, and targeted investment. Read the Cultural Funding Report (PDF, 1.8 MB)El camino hacia la equidad cultural (PDF, 2.2 MB)

Closed Grants:

Apply to be a Review Panelist 

We invite community members and arts professionals to get on our roster of potential panelists to review, score, and determine which applicants receive funding through various programs. Submitting this form does not guarantee participation.

Ineligible Applicants:

  • Full time and permanent City of Austin employees

  • Individuals younger than 18 years old

Apply to be a Panelist    Solicite ser miembro de un panel

Panelist Responsibilities

Cultural Funding Program Review Panels

These programs focus on helping sustain and grow arts organizations that are deeply rooted in and reflective of Austin’s diverse cultures. Panelists should expect a time commitment of approximately 40 hours from June through September. Compensation is provided to those selected to serve on a panel. 

 For 2025, you may apply to be a panelist for future program launches. Individuals selected to participate on the future grant panels will be notified via email. 

Panelist Responsibilities:

  • Training:

    • Approximately a 5-hour time commitment.
    • Complete the virtual 3-module self-paced Panel Training.
    • Attend a 2-hour live, virtual facilitated conversation scheduled throughout July. 
    • Training Modules will include:
      • Equity and Unconscious Bias
      • Panel Expectations, Program Guidelines, and Rubric
      • Technical Training for using Submittable
  • Review Applications: 
    • Approximately a 30-hour time commitment over 4 weeks.
    • Independently review and pre-score all applications in August. 
    • Panelists are expected to review, score, and enter tentative scores and comments on all applications. 
  • Panel Discussion Meetings:
    • Approximately an 8-hour time commitment.

The panels will include the following characteristics:

  • Individuals diverse in ethnicity, race, age, gender, and ability

  • Individuals both local to Austin and from out-of-town

  • Individuals who are arts administrators and/or practicing arts professionals

  • Individuals with artistic discipline expertise

  • Individuals with equity expertise

  • Individuals with community‐based artistic practice expertise

  • Individuals with non‐profit expertise

For questions, contact Jesus Pantel at or 512-974-9315. You can also attend the Cultural Arts Virtual Open Office Hours on the second or fourth Tuesday of the month from 10 a.m. to noon.   


Helpful Information

  • Arts Commission - Find information on the Arts Commission members, upcoming meetings, and more.  
  • ATXN Video Archive - Access recordings of City Council meetings, including Budget Work Sessions. To filter for Arts Commission events, click on the “Boards and Commissions” tab, and then select “Arts Commission” from the “Filter by Subcategory” dropdown menu. 
  • Community Navigators – The Economic Development Department’s Community Navigator Program offers one-on-one coaching, virtual classes, and help applying for government and philanthropic support.