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Carmel seeking 2014 arts grants applications

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Staff report

The City of Carmel is now taking applications for its 2014 arts grants, which help benefit the local arts community, despite the possibility of changes to its awards process.

Brainard

Brainard

In 2013, $727,000 was approved for grants to more than a dozen local arts organizations. This year, another $665,000 has been budgeted by the city council for the grants that could be proposed by Mayor Jim Brainard this spring.

“More than just beautiful music or thought-provoking pieces of art, we view the support of our arts organizations as a strong economic development tool for the City of Carmel. Since the creation of the Arts & Design District in Carmel, we have had more than 350,000 visits each year,” said Mayor Jim Brainard in a statement. “That number grows as more merchants locate in the district and additional public events are added, bringing millions of dollars to our local economy, real revenue that is exceeding expectations and will far surpass the city’s investment in redevelopment.”
Local arts groups are encouraged to apply. The deadline for the initial round of applications is Feb. 28 at noon. A copy of the 2014 Arts Grant Application is available on the city’s website at www.carmel.in.gov/ArtsGrants.

However it’s possible that the funding process for awarding the grants could change.

City Councilor Luci Snyder has sponsored an ordinance that she said would potentially take the politics out of the grant process.

Her proposal has not been finalized, but it will be discussed at the next Finance, Administration and Rules Committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at City Hall.

In preliminary form, the ordinance would request that the board of the Center for the Performing Arts create an “Arts Fund Committee” to distribute the grants. The ordinance also includes a conflict of interest protection clause.

Snyder said her hope was that the new committee would look at which arts groups had good attendance so that they could in turn receive larger grants, eventually creating a symbiotic relationship.

The ordinance would eventually need the support of the majority of the council and could be subject to a mayoral veto.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the city’s financial support for the local arts community. Since 2004, more than $6.8 million has been approved for local community arts programs.


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