Arts groups see surge in United Arts money

An­nual grants get­ting $793K more from Or­ange County

Orlando Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Matthew J. Palm

The an­nual United Arts op­er­at­ing-sup­port grants will bring ex­tra hol­i­day cheer to Cen­tral Florida arts and cul­tural groups — to the tune of $793,000 more from Or­ange County. Some or­ga­ni­za­tions will see their grant triple; oth­ers will see tens of thou­sands more to help with the ba­sics of run­ning a non­profit — elec­tric­ity, fa­cil­ity main­te­nance and the like — as well as pro­gram­ming.

This year’s pot of money, which United Arts of Cen­tral Florida split among 34 no­table cul­tural non­prof­its, grew from $1.495 mil­lion to $2.288 mil­lion. The funds will go to or­ga­ni­za­tions such as the Or­lando Mu­seum of Art, Enzian The­ater in Mait­land, Or­lando Fringe, the Or­ange County Re­gional His­tory Center and the Gar­den The­atre in Win­ter Gar­den.

“This is a big help,” said Gabriel Preisser, ex­ec­u­tive and artis­tic di­rec­tor of Opera Or­lando. His or­ga­ni­za­tion’s grant more than tripled — from $7,600 last year to $27,000 this year. “It al­lows us to in­vest in our in­fra­struc­ture and staff.”

The Or­lando Sci­ence Center saw a gain of nearly $100,000 — from $176,700 awarded in De­cem­ber 2018 to $271,200 this year.

“This fund­ing will en­able us to con­tinue and ex­pand our pro­gram for teens called Cat­a­lyst, which builds es­sen­tial STEM skills while also giv­ing them valu­able ca­reer

de­vel­op­ment ex­pe­ri­ence,” said JoAnn New­man, pres­i­dent and CEO of the sci­ence center.

The pro­gram, which takes place weekly dur­ing the school year, en­cour­ages cre­ativ­ity, col­lab­o­ra­tion and crit­i­cal think­ing. Stu­dents are in­tro­duced to top­ics such as 3D print­ing and pro­to­typ­ing, wear­able tech­nol­ogy and cod­ing.

“This is how we work to grow to­mor­row’s work­force to­day,” New­man said.

Among other large or­ga­ni­za­tions, Or­lando Bal­let also re­ceived a boost of nearly $100,000, from $177,700 to $271,300. The Or­lando Phil­har­monic Orches­tra re­ceived the largest al­lo­ca­tion, with its grant in­creas­ing from $199,400 to $276,800. The Cen­tral Florida Com­mu­nity Arts grant nearly dou­bled, from $21,500 to $41,500.

For mid­size groups, the grant to the Holo­caust Memo­rial Re­source & Ed­u­ca­tion Center of Mait­land more than dou­bled. The center, which is plan­ning a move to a new mu­seum near down­town Or­lando, re­ceived $61,900 this year, up from $30,300. The Al­bin Po­lasek Mu­seum & Sculp­ture Gar­dens nearly dou­bled its grant, go­ing from $16,400 last year to $31,300.

Among small groups, Cre­ative City Project — which presents the an­nual Im­merse Fes­ti­val — more than dou­bled its grant, from $5,000 to $13,700. The Timu­cua Arts Foun­da­tion, which presents con­certs and a va­ri­ety of other cul­tural events in Or­lando, was awarded $6,800 this year af­ter not re­ceiv­ing a grant in 2018.

“The op­er­at­ing-sup­port grant is a big deal for us,” said ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Christo­pher Belt. “We will use it to in­crease our or­ga­ni­za­tional ca­pac­ity to de­liver our uniquely in­te­grated per­form­ing and vis­ual-arts pro­gram­ming.”

To re­ceive the money, or­ga­ni­za­tions must demon­strate their pro­grams are high qual­ity, show man­age­ment and fis­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity and per­form outreach and ed­u­ca­tion, with an em­pha­sis on di­ver­sity.

They are scored by pan­els of judges from or­ga­ni­za­tions such as Or­lando Magic, Univer­sal Or­lando and Dis­ney; their scores de­ter­mine the amount of fund­ing.

Belt said Timu­cua’s award was a vote of con­fi­dence in the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s pro­grams.

“What it means to us is that thanks to the sup­port of the com­mu­nity, we have suc­ceeded in in­creas­ing the qual­ity and quan­tity of our of­fer­ings,” he said. “We pre­sented 100 con­certs, plays, and lit­er­ary events in 2019 and taught tu­ition-free mu­sic com­po­si­tion classes to dozens of stu­dents through our Works With Sounds pro­gram.”

The ex­tra money in the grant pool was part of a spend­ing pack­age de­signed to strengthen cul­tural or­ga­ni­za­tions ap­proved this fall by Or­ange County com­mis­sion­ers. The fund­ing comes from the Tourist De­vel­op­ment Tax, a 6 per­cent levy on stays in ho­tels and other short-term ac­com­mo­da­tions. By law the money must be spent in the ar­eas of tourism, sports and cul­ture.

“We are thank­ful to Or­ange County for pro­vid­ing the in­creased fund­ing for these grants and giv­ing United Arts the op­por­tu­nity to en­hance its sup­port for all its funded groups,” said Bren­dan Lynch, chair­man of the board of United Arts of Cen­tral Florida, in an­nounc­ing the grants. “It is crit­i­cal to the mis­sion of United Arts to pro­vide this es­sen­tial sup­port for our cul­tural or­ga­ni­za­tions.”

Even with the ad­di­tional money, the grants ful­filled only 58.5 per­cent of fund­ing re­quests, the United Arts an­nounce­ment said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.