The City of Austin is trying to address skyrocketing rents, if not for artists, then at least for arts nonprofits. This month, Austin’s Cultural Arts Division announced the new Art Space Assistance Program (ASAP), which will “assist arts organizations facing displacement, those previously displaced, or those facing lease renewals at significantly higher rates.” Money from the program will be available on a competitive basis with priority given to organizations that are dealing with “immediate and critical needs.”
The idea for ASAP stems from the city’s 2016 Austin Music & Creative Ecosystem Omnibus Resolution, which sought to address the lack of affordable space within the music community. ASAP is being launched with $200,000 of funding; organizations can apply for grants of up to $50,000 to cover tenant improvements and up to $35,000 for rent stipends. Grantees will be juried by a panel that includes, per the city, “public and private sector leaders in the arts, banking, and real estate.” Applications for the program are due on August 1, 2017, and awards will be announced on August 31, 2017.
Along with ASAP, the city has also launched a Creative Space Survey that will be conducted annually. If you’re in Austin, the city wants you to voice your concerns — responses are due August 31.