Cultural Arts Division brings opportunities for local artists with diverse backgrounds —
August 9, 2020

Cultural Arts Division brings opportunities for local artists with diverse backgrounds

By Carola Rivera

Culture Alive

As the New Year begins, the City of Austin’s Cultural Arts Division brings opportunities for artists through its new Culture Alive funding initiative and the 2017 Faces of Austin project.

The new Culture Alive program will support a variety of artistic expressions and traditions practiced within diverse ALANA (African American, Latino, Asian, and Native American) communities and/or cultural groups in Austin. Awards up to $5,000 are available for eligible applicants to enrich the Austin community through the documentation, practice, and sharing of traditional art forms.

“Keeping alive the distinct cultural traditions within our diverse community is key to the long-term preservation of Austin’s heritage, artistic landscape, and neighborhood identity,” Cultural Arts Division Manager Meghan Wells remarked. “Culture Alive is an important step towards that goal…”

This program is geared specifically to support ALANA communities in Austin through an arts-centric platform for community building and strengthening cultural traditions. ALANA groups and individual artists representing underserved communities, including low-income, immigrant and refugee communities, first time applicants, and projects involving seniors or youth are encouraged to apply.

Artists and arts organizations may apply for funding of projects including the creation of artwork, documentation, and presentation of folk and traditional art forms. This includes individual artists working in contemporary art forms and/or making contemporary work that is inspired by or draws upon folk or traditional art forms. Projects may be a single event or activity, or a series or combination of multiple events or activities. All projects must have a public component such as a performance, concert, exhibition, film, reading, workshop or other activity that is open to and engages members of a larger community.

Culture Alive funding will be awarded on a monthly basis, and applications will be due the last Monday of each month. Monday, Jan. 30 is the first deadline to apply.

The Cultural Arts Division is also encouraging filmmakers to submit their short films for Faces of Austin. Established in 2005, Faces of Austin showcases shorts by local filmmakers that reflect the diverse faces, voices, and experiences of our City. Selected films will be screened during the SXSW Film Festival as part of its Community Programming in March, and will also be shown on the City of Austin’s channel, ATXN, and via the City’s website. One film will also receive a “Judge’s Choice” designation from a special guest judge. New for Faces of Austin 2017 is a cash honorarium of $500 for each selected short film and $1,000 for the Judge’s Choice.

Faces of Austin has enabled us to spotlight the vast array of talent within our local filmmaking community,” Wells remarked. “From light-hearted profiles of Austin locales to moving tributes of individuals who have shaped the fabric of our city, this program serves as an important outlet for Austin’s creative community.”

Short film criteria include 10 minute maximum length; by an Austin-area filmmaker or commissioned through an Austin organization; original non-fiction or fiction work no older than 3 years old; filmed in Austin or highlights Austin-area topics or organizations; does not violate copyright law by using copy written work, including music, without permission; does not solicit funds or a particular political call to action; must be appropriate to show in a public setting to an audience of all ages; may not be also selected by SXSW as part of its SXSW Shorts Competition; preference will be given to films that are about Austin’s artists and Austin’s creative community; and applicants must be 18 and older.

A selection panel comprising project advisors, media experts, and City staff will review each artist’s materials submitted by the deadline, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017. Selected submissions must meet requirements and demonstrate a high quality.

For more information on these programs, please visit

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