Learn more about the Economic Development Department's Cultural Funding programs for arts, heritage, and music. These programs are funded through the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) proceeds from Austin's convention and hotel industries.

Upcoming Programs:

  • Thrive: Cultural Growth - Focused investment to sustain and grow arts organizations that are deeply rooted in and reflective of Austin’s diverse cultures. Details coming soon.
  • Heritage Preservation Grant - Promotes tourism through the preservation, restoration of historic buildings, or planning educational and marketing projects tied to a historic building site or district. Details coming soon.
  • Live Music Fund - Supports Austin’s professional music businesses, organizations, musicians, and bands that produce and promote live and virtual shows. For information on music community engagement, visit the Speak Up Austin webpage for the Live Music Fund.
Apply to be a Panelist

The Economic Development Department is looking for panelists to review, score, and determine which applicants receive funding through various programs. Submitting this form does not guarantee participation. 

 

Apply to be a Panelist

 

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Upcoming Panel Opportunities: 

Heritage Preservation Grant – Deadline to Apply: August 24 

 

Thrive: Cultural Growth – Deadline to Apply: September 30 

Cultural Funding Review Process Overview

Reports

June 2021 - Cultural Funding Review Interim Report (PDF, 855 KB) The Interim Report by MJR Partners captures work on the Cultural Funding Review, including stakeholder input, analysis, and recommendations for program development and improvements.

March 2021 - Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) Funded Cultural and Heritage Preservation Grant Contracts Memo (PDF, 213 KB) This memo includes an update on the current and future financial outlook for Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) revenues and information on the status of current HOT Funded contracts and future program planning.

Community Meeting Recordings

 

General

 

Arts

 

Music

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Who does the Cultural Funding Review Impact?

Creative individuals, community groups, and organizations interested in pursuing project or organizational support through the City’s cultural funding programs.  Tourists and residents that have an interest in the activities cultural funding programs support.   Cultural groups, legacy businesses, and organizations working on community-centered cultural, heritage, and historic preservation projects.   Performing musicians, live music venues, and music industry businesses that produce events.

The Cultural Arts Division’s funding programs will still be open to individual artists, groups, and organizations proposing collaborative music projects through Nexus, Elevate, and Thrive.  

We strongly encourage all music discipline applicants to read the separate program descriptions for both the Music & Entertainment and the Cultural Arts Divisions. Each funding program will have specific requirements and funding priorities. Staff are working on designing tools and materials that will help potential applicants best determine what funding opportunities might be the right fit for their body of work.  

 

Can I apply to more than one Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT)-funded program with the City of Austin?  

Yes, organizations can apply for funding from the Heritage Tourism, Cultural Arts, and Music & Entertainment Divisions if eligible, but must apply with different proposals. Proposals must be for different scopes of work, and expenses can only be paid for once with grant funds. In the Cultural Arts Division Cultural Funding Program, applicants can only receive funding in one Cultural Funding program at any given time.

 

Will all musicians, live music venues, professional music organizations and music-focused nonprofit organizations now be directed to apply to the Music & Entertainment program? What will happen to music genre applicants who previously received funding through the Cultural Arts Division? 

Music discipline applicants will be empowered to choose the funding programs that best fit their scope of work and needs.  

 

How are you defining cultural organization?  

A cultural organization is a business established with the primary goal of preserving, producing, and/or promoting artistic expression, traditions, customs, or stories within creative or historic contexts. 

 

How are you defining racial equity? 

Throughout the Cultural Funding Review we have defined racial equity in keeping with the City of Austin’s Equity Statement: Racial equity is the condition when race no longer predicts a person's quality of life outcomes in our community. The City recognizes that race is the primary determinant of social equity, and therefore we begin the journey toward social equity with this definition. The City of Austin recognizes historical and structural disparities and a need for addressing these wrongs by critically transforming its institutions and creating a culture of equity. 

 

How will racial equity be prioritized and implemented in these new programs? 

To honor this commitment to racial equity, our programs will prioritize proposals that: 

Directly enhance cultural experiences for tourists and convention delegates, including projects that highlight underrepresented histories and narratives.  Support the work of individuals and organizations from the Black/African American, Native American, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Middle Eastern, Pacific Islander, LGBTQIA+ and Disability communities and other historically under-represented and underserved communities.  Sustain and grow Austin’s cultural infrastructure so that all may share in the economic and employment benefits of the heritage preservation and creative sectors.