Arts Funding

Cultural Arts Operational

The Cultural Arts Operational Support Program invests in arts and culture organizations that offer programming available to the general public and visitors to San Antonio. The goal of the program is to support extraordinary and innovative presentations that showcase artistic excellence and the multicultural diversity of the City of San Antonio.

  • Investments are made for two years and are based on an organization’s most recently filed IRS Form 990. Adjustments will be made to second-year funding allocations based on the maximum investment allowed under these guidelines and determined by the most current 990s.
  • The San Antonio Arts Commission (SAAC)  and/or funding staff have the option to recommend one year of funding if the service level or financial history of an agency is determined to be unstable or unsustainable.
  • Continuation of annual investment is dependent on availability of funds and the continuation of an equivalent level of service and financial position of the funded organization.


After successful briefings with Mayor, City Council and the San Antonio Arts Commission, the Department for Culture & Creative Development is pleased to announce the FY2017 Art Funding Process will open on Friday, March 4, 2016 at 8 a.m. The deadline for all application submissions is 4 p.m. on Friday, April 1, 2016.


Application System Assistance is available to all eligible applicants. Experts will be on hand to guide applicants with registration, system log-in, and ID creating.  Applicants will also be trained on the system’s features and document upload. All attendees are encouraged to bring a flash drive containing electronic copies of the documents (.pdf format) to be uploaded and prepared narratives (MS Word format). 

To RSVP, contact Victoria Garcia at 210-207-8488 or For information, contact Laura Nunn at 210-207-6961.


Application System Assistance

Date Time Location
March 15, 2016 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. Downtown Central Library, 600 Soledad St.
March 16, 2016 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. Downtown Central Library, 600 Soledad St.
March 22, 2016 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. Downtown Central Library, 600 Soledad St.
March 23, 2016 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m. Downtown Central Library, 600 Soledad St.

Checklist - This checklist is to assist applicants with the necessary files to upload to the application.

Please download and complete the following forms. You will be required to upload the completed forms at the end of the online application:


Deadline: CLOSED


Organizations that apply to the Cultural Arts Operational Support Program must have 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status and a proven track record of producing and presenting quality programming including but not limited to music, dance, drama, literature, painting, printmaking, sculpture, folk arts, photography, film and media arts. Such organizations will have as their mission and focus the creation, teaching, preservation and/or presentation of arts and culture programming. In addition, eligible organizations will

  • have a business office address in the City of San Antonio that is accessible to the public (P.O. boxes are unacceptable).
  • be governed by a board of directors/trustees that meets regularly.
  • have a salaried full-time or part-time administrator who is responsible for and authorized to address the contractual obligations of the city contract and the business management of the organization. Verification of administrator employment is required at time of application.
  • offer programs, events and services that benefit the citizens of San Antonio, are open to the public, and are accessible to persons with disabilities.
  • be the primary presenter/producer of the work and responsible for all aspects of its provision to the community. Applications through a fiscal sponsor are not allowed.

Deadline to apply for the funding category is February 29, 2016. Please check back for more information regarding next DCCD funding cycle.


Organizations that apply for Cultural Arts Operational Support are not eligible for [Festival & Community Celebrations] and/or [stART Place]. However, an organization that receives funding in the Core Program category is eligible to submit applications for the Technical and Economic Development Program.

Award Amounts

Funds are awarded on a reimbursement basis. Organizations that apply for funding must match the award by a ratio of at least 1 to 1. For example, an organization that receives $20,000 must provide another $20,000 from other sources of funding. Here is a breakdown by operating budget.

*Community or culturally specific organizations in this budget range may receive an award of up to 50% of the actual operating expense budget. In-kind contributions listed in an organization’s 990 tax form will be allowed for computation of an organization’s total expense budget. The amount of the inclusion is limited to 50% of verifiable cash expense budget.

Operating Budget Size Award Size Cash Match Ratio:
Over $ 2 million Up to 10% of actual operating expense budget 1:3
$800,000 to $2 million Up to 20% of actual operating expense budget 1:2
Up to $800,000* Up to 35% of actual operating expense budget 1:1

Verification of Arts-Related Budget
The actual arts-related expenses from the last completed fiscal year as shown on the organization’s filed 990 tax forms must be verified. For organizations that are solely arts or cultural institutions, the total expenses listed on IRS Form 990 will be accepted. For those organizations that have additional programmatic missions, i.e., social service or education, only those portions of the budgets that relate to the creation, presentation, or preservation of arts or cultural programming will be accepted. Budget verification occurs every year for organizations receiving Cultural Arts Operational Support based on the two-year funding cycle. Applicants must submit a current IRS Form 990 to verify the organization’s good standing with IRS regulations and requirements. No extensions will be accepted. Awards are for two years but are subject to annual budgetary adjustment to meet the adopted maximum award allowed by the adopted funding guidelines.

In addition and for informational purposes, all organizations must submit a current, board-approved financial statement to facilitate determination of the organization’s current financial position.

General Application Process

Each application goes through several tiers of review. First, DCCD staff reviews it for eligibility. Second, independent panels and staff make comments and assign scores. Third, staff develops a funding recommendation, which the Arts Funding Committee reviews. After deliberation, the Arts Funding Committee issues a preliminary funding recommendation to the San Antonio Arts Commission (SAAC). Fourth, SAAC holds a meeting at which appeals may be heard and then issues a final recommendation. Fifth, the final recommendations are forwarded to City Council for consideration and approval.

Guidelines Available
Application guidelines are made available on the Department for Culture and Creative Development website.

Workshops Available
Staff conducts several workshops to provide guidance and instructions of guidelines and application process. It is mandatory that all potential applicants have staff attend at least one workshop in order to be eligible to submit.

Application Submitted
Electronic applications (narrative and support materials) are submitted to DCCD on-line and are required to meet one specific deadline. No application will be accepted after the deadline. Applicant receives acknowledgment of application receipt. Applications are forwarded to arts funding staff.

Applicant Categories
Applicants apply to be reviewed by one of three categories:

Museums, Visual Arts and Exhibition Institution - Organizations whose primary focus is the presentation, preservation or creation of visual art forms, artifacts and other objects of scientific, artistic, cultural, educational or historical importance and makes them available for public viewing through exhibits that may be permanent or temporary.

Live Performance - Organizations whose primary focus is the presentation, preservation and/or creation of live performance, including, but not limited to: music, theatre, dance, and the spoken word.

Community Based Organizations - Small to mid-sized organizations that are deeply rooted in a community, often culturally specific, and whose mission or focus is to create, present and preserve artistic and culturally relevant programs that respond to the needs of economically or culturally underserved communities

New applicants may be subject to scheduled DCCD staff site visits after the eligibility requirements are met to review various aspects of the organization’s operations.


Step One: Staff Review
Staff reviews applications for completeness and eligibility. Staff may contact applicants if questions arise. Application materials are assigned and made electronically available to panelists about a month before the panel convenes.

Step Two: Panel & Staff Review
Applications are reviewed in different categories by panels comprised of seven members, made up of one member of the Arts Funding Committee, two local peer experts and four experts from outside of the San Antonio area. All panels are assembled to ensure knowledge and experience in the area under review and diversity with regard to race, ethnicity, and artistic points of view. Panels will deliberate their final score in a public setting but applicants are not allowed to interact with the panels. Panels will rank each application based on two criteria including Artistic/ Cultural Excellence and Community Engagement and Audience Development. City shall require that no panelist have a conflict of interest with an applicant it is reviewing. Staff will review and rank applications on Financial Position and Administrative Capacity.

Step Three: Funding Recommendations
Staff develops funding recommendations for each application after all applications are reviewed and scored. Application panel comments, scores and funding recommendations are forwarded to applicant and the Arts Funding Committee. The Arts Funding Committee convenes in a public accessible meeting to discuss each application and staff funding recommendations. Each applicant is given opportunity to present to the Arts Funding Committee before the Committee determines its preliminary funding recommendations. Staff forwards preliminary funding recommendations to each applicant. Applicants are given an opportunity to submit a request to appeal if it meets the approved appeals guidelines (See page 6). SAAC convenes in a second publicly accessible meeting to discuss any appeals and to deliberate on final funding recommendations.

Considerations for Determining Funding Recommendations

  • Applications scoring below 75 (scoring of 74.5 to 74.99 will be rounded up to 75) will not be eligible for funding through the Arts Funding Program; however, applicant may be qualified for other funding sources, if available.
  • Dollars available;
  • Applicant’s total scores (DCCD will consider all scores and comments provided by the panelists);
  • Minimum and Maximum awards and matching requirements provided under these guidelines;
  • Equity of programmatic service to ensure that dollars support a balance of artistic and cultural offerings to existing and new audiences;

Step Four: City Council Approval
Staff forwards SAAC’s final recommendations to City Council for final consideration and approval.

Review Criteria

Applications will be evaluated and scored as follows:

It is important that applicant organizations address these criteria in the narrative of their application.

Artistic/Cultural Excellence (50%)

  • Quality of the artists, professional staff, works of art and services supported by the organization and proposed programs.
  • Artistic and cultural relevance of programs that support the San Antonio experience for both residents and visitors.
  • Evidence of how artistic offerings further the development of the creative needs in the community and respond to SA2020.
  • Opportunities created through the proposed programs for initiating meaningful educational/community dialogue.

Community Engagement & Audience Development (35%)

  • Strategies for increasing and engaging culturally diverse audiences with excellent art.
  • Evidence of innovative strategies to develop new artistic experiences and audiences.
  • Ability to engage underserved populations who have limited access to and experience
    with the arts.
  • Strategies and relevant programs that further community involvement.
  • Strategy for documenting and evaluating audience engagement and growth.
  • Indication of fostering partnerships that promote engagement for locals and visitors.
  • Presentation of a specific marketing/promotion plan, including budgeted allocation of dollars.

DCCD staff will evaluate and provide a financial score using support materials, site visits, and/or information on file and the following review criteria:

Financial Position and Administrative Capacity  (15%)

  • Accurate arts and culture budget showing a diverse base of financial support through earned income and other non-City funding.
  • Proven history of planned growth and innovation that support organizational stability.
  • Evidence of a proactive board governance structure, level of involvement and responsibilities.
  • Confirmation of a formal strategy to manage administrative and fiscal challenges and/or potential changes in leadership and key staff positions.
  • Effectiveness and efficiency in the organization’s operation and delivery of services.
  • Past contract compliance, performance reviews and fiscal/programmatic responsibility, as applicable.
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Saturday, February 24, 2018