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After contentious discussion, Arts Commission approves community initiative applications

Wednesday, September 20, 2017 by Jessi Devenyns

On Monday, Sept. 18, the Austin Arts Commission worked its way through a list of 14 Community Initiative applications that were submitted in August for approval. The overall monetary value of these grant requests totaled $43,250. Out of the 14 applications, half were pulled out of the vote for further discussion. Applications submitted by the Austin Creative Alliance (Keep Composers), Vortex Repertory Co., Lisa Kay Pfannenstiel, Liz Santamaria, Big Medium (Hyperreal Film Club, Anthony Maddaloni) and Luis Ordaz Gutierrez were unanimously approved without discussion. The applications pulled for further discussion were those made by the Texas Book Festival, Big Medium (ARTiculation event), Capitol View Arts, the Trail Foundation, American Short Fiction, Juan Izaguirre and the Austin Creative Alliance (Stand-Up Empire). Of those pulled for discussion, all were approved for funding except for one made by Juan Izaguirre, who requested funds to screen a nine-minute film. Commissioner Bears Fonte, who pulled Izaguirre’s application, said, “This sounds to me like a filmmaker who has not had all his friends see his film.” Commissioner Krissi Reeves also opposed funding the film screening saying, “It seems like $3,750 dollars is excessive to screen a nine-minute film in the park.” While the majority of commissioners agreed that the requested amount seemed excessive with respect to the activity, commission Chair Lulu Flores said, “(Izaguirre) wants to raise awareness at a Chicano park and preserve cultural awareness of the Latino community.” Despite her arguments, this application remained the only one unapproved for the evening.

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