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.

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)

Apply to be a Review Panelist 

The Economic Development Department is gearing up to launch Thrive and Elevate Grant Programs this summer. We invite community members and arts professionals to apply as review 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  

Thrive / Elevate 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 will be provided up to $900.  

Apply to be a panelist by May 20. Individuals selected to participate on the Thrive or Elevate panels will be notified by June 18.  

Panelist Responsibilities:

  • Training:

    • Approximately a5-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 a30-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: 
    • Approximatley 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.   

Closed Grants:


Application Preparation

There are currently no open grant applications. Below is helpful information to prepare for upcoming opportunities.   

Vendor Registration 

Learn how to become a registered vendor with the City of Austin. All funded individuals and organizations must be registered vendors. Registered vendors may also receive solicitation notifications for other contract opportunities. Registrations can be update or submitted online.


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 home page to apply.  
  • 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 home page to apply. 
  • 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.

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.