Festivals & Community Celebrations

The Festivals & Community Celebrations Program was developed in response to the increased number of arts and cultural festivals and celebrations in our community and requests to support them. The goal is to support extraordinary artistic presentations and performances through a competitive process specific to festivals and community celebrations that give increased access to the arts, culture and diverse heritage in San Antonio.


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 victoria.garcia@sanantonio.gov. 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.

ChecklistThis 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 interested in applying must meet the following conditions in order to be considered:

  • At the time of application, the applicant organization must be a San Antonio–based nonprofit with 501(c)(3) status or an artist or artist’s collective with a proven track record of producing a community-recognized festival with wide audience accessibility.
  • The festival has a clear and credible programmatic focus area of arts, culture or heritage, in which festival participants or audience engage.
  • The festival must have been in existence a minimum of three years.
  • The festival will occur between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017.
  • Attendance at prescribed application workshops is mandatory. At minimum, one key representative from each organization will be expected to attend. Workshops will address application instructions, requirements and review process.
  • Religious organizations may apply provided the festival has an arts and culture focus and impacts the broader San Antonio community.
  • All programs, events and services must be open to the public and ADA compliant.
  • Applicants will submit biographies of festival administrator and/or artistic director, curator, and principal artist(s)
  • Applicants must be able to meet the required 1:3 cash match by raising the funds from other sources, not another City of San Antonio department.


  • Organizations that apply for Cultural Arts Operating Support or the stART Place Program cannot also apply to Festivals & Community Celebrations.
  • Organizations that submit an application under a fiscal sponsor are ineligible.
  • Events that are officially recognized as part of the annual FIESTA are ineligible.
  • DCCD will not consider multiple requests for the same festival or from the same organization.
  • Festivals that are religious in nature or specifically serve only church membership or faculty/student body are ineligible.
  • The City will not fund religious events that promote or celebrate any sect, church, creed or sectarian organization, conduct any religious service or ceremony, neither for the inhibition or promotion of religion, nor to convey a religious message.
  • The City will not fund any programs that are not accessible to all citizens, including persons with disabilities.

Deadline to apply for the funding category is February 29, 2016.

Award Amounts

Awards will be up to 20% of the event’s overall budget. Not all requests will be funded.

Funds may be used only for the following (must be itemized in submitted budget):

  • Contracted services and artist fees including travel and per diem. Guest artist fees and travel expenses including lodging.
  • Production expenses. Production management, rental of staging and sound and lighting equipment specifically designated for the festival.
  • Space rental. Includes stage rental for the festival only.
  • Marketing and promotion. Includes media ads, graphic design, website management, and promotional material and printing costs.

Application Process

  • All application forms, documents and support materials are to be completed and uploaded on-line on or before the deadline. Support materials include:
    • festival history and the audiences that it serves
    • a short biography for each of the key participants
    • a copy of the media/marketing plan for the festival
    • a budget form (template provided)
    • a document outlining festival sponsorship levels
  • Applicants need not include a requested amount as part of the application.
  • All proposals will be reviewed by an independent panel, which may include DCCD staff, members of the San Antonio Arts Commission (SAAC) and local, regional or national experts and patrons of the arts.
  • Applications will be reviewed and scored based on established criteria.
  • Applications scoring below 75 will not be eligible to receive funding.
  • SAAC and/or the Arts Funding Committee will review preliminary and final funding recommendations during a publicly held meeting, considering:
    • Total funds available annually for programmatic disbursement, including dollars allocated to this program.
    • Application total score. DCCD will consider all scores and comments provided by the panelists.
    • Minimum and maximum awards and matching requirements allowed by the adopted policy.
    • Equity of programmatic service to ensure that dollars support a balance of artistic and cultural offerings to existing and new audiences.
  • Applicants may submit a request to appeal in accordance with the appeals guidelines.
  • City Council makes all final funding recommendations.

Review Criteria

Audience Engagement (45 points)

  • Demonstrated efforts to achieve broad, diverse accessibility and participation.
  • Festival relevance and capacity to engage audiences and communities.
  • Evidence of strong marketing and promotional materials and efforts.
  • Evidence of reasonable fees or free admission.

Programmatic Excellence (35 points)

  • Evidence of quality of artistic selection.
  • Expanse and diversity of artistic/cultural offering.
  • Demonstration of innovative and excellent programs.
  • Qualifications of staff that supports the festival implementation.
  • Uniqueness of programming and relevance to the overall cultural fabric of San Antonio.

Fiscal Position and Capacity (20 points)

  • Development of thoughtful, rational plans for the festival’s financial sustainability.
  • Demonstrated staff capacity to administer the award and carry out the event.
  • Realistic budget including diverse sponsorship levels.
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Sunday, February 25, 2018