Steps are being taken toward getting the local arts scene back on track when it’s safe to do so.
The Mercer Island Arts Council approved a financial resource request as recommended by city staff at its April 14 virtual meeting, and staff was set to present it to city council at its April 20 online meeting.
The appropriation request is in the amount of $20,000 from the recovery budget for arts.
“This was funding that was set aside in the 21-22 budget process in anticipation of needing some funds to support implementation of this reset plan as it started to unfold,” said Sarah Bluvas, the city’s economic development coordinator.
Bluvas added that 4Culture awarded an arts sustained support grant to the city in the amount of $10,580. Staff will meet with city council in May to request authorization to accept the grant and appropriate the full amount to support the 2021 Arts Reset Plan.
The Arts Council continued its discussion of the Arts Reset Plan draft at its recent meeting.
When the city is allowed to bring back events, the Arts Council proposed that funds could be used for band fees, sound engineering, COVID-19 protocols and more at a possible limited Mostly Music in the Parks concert series; art making supplies; advertising to promote programs; and possible contracting with a community organization to present an event.
Since the budget doesn’t provide operating funds beyond 2021, Bluvas said, “We will need to go back to city council later in the year when they go through the process of amending the biennial budget.”
Bluvas anticipates there’s much more work to be done on the reset plan through the summer to achieve its ultimate goal of receiving more funding next year.
Along with the pending reopening of the community center and its indoor gallery, Bluvas envisions a community art project where residents, for instance, can focus on their unique COVID-19 experiences. They could possibly begin the project with art making this year and delve into a larger project in the future.
For the gallery, the Arts Council proposed that funds could go toward contracting a curator, marketing and promotion and operating supplies, and for the community art project, the latter two elements could be applied as well.