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Davis, California

Friday, July 19, 2024

City of Davis restores Davis Art Grants program


Grants to be distributed by the city to help artist carryout projects.

This past October, the Davis Civic Arts Program received $75,000 from The Cannery as part of the city’s 1 percent for the Arts Program, where new construction sites set aside 1 percent of their construction budget to fund city art projects.

The city council has approved $18,500 of the money from The Cannery to fund the reestablishment of Davis’ art grants.

The grants are intended to help Davis’ artist community by providing them with financial support to pursue projects that are important to them and beneficial to the community. The grants were suspended in 2011 due to budget difficulties; however, the city hopes that these grants will now be available to artists every year.

“[Artists] will apply and then the Civic Arts Commission [… will] review each grant and rate them. Then from there [the Civic Arts Commission] will establish finalists to review and they will make a recommendation to city council as to which grants they think should be funded […] City Council will make the final approval,” said Carrie Dyer, administrative analyst for the Community Engagement and Cultural Services Department.

According to Dyer, there are four qualities that the commission will take into account when approving grants for artists. These include artistic quality, project feasibility, project benefit to the community and proposed budget.

“We haven’t had any grant applications come through yet, but we have had a lot of phone calls inquiring about projects people are interested in doing,” Dyer said.

The deadline for applications for 2016 is Nov. 23 and the City Council will approve them by early February 2016. Grant recipients will have until June 30, 2017 to complete their proposed project, according to Dyer.

Davis has a thriving arts community and, according to Davis Councilmember Brett Lee,  there has always been a desire among city councilmembers to reinstate the art grants.

“We’re really happy that we’re restoring [the grants…] what it does is it restores some funding for the arts from the city, so that’s a good thing,” Lee said. “We’re hoping over time we have more money and we’re able to give more substantial grants to help provide more art in our city.”

Lee stressed the importance of sustainable art funding, so that funds are available every year, not just when there are city construction projects. Despite these concerns, he is optimistic that the arts will continue to be a crucial part of Davis’ culture.

“One of the things you will notice when you walk around Downtown Davis is there’s lots of sculptures, paintings and murals,” Lee said. “The lion’s share of that is done privately […] In the past the city had more money to help sponsor those things and I think that we’re headed back in that direction.”

Stacie Frerichs, executive director of the Davis Arts Center, is also excited about potentially seeing a reemergence of diverse art projects in Davis.

“I think when you have continuity of this type of grant, many people get used to applying and they understand the process; therefore more of the projects that come out are better and more impactful,” Frerichs said. “I think if [the City is] able to sustain [the] art grant program, there will be growth in what people are proposing as well as really high quality community endeavors.”

Frerichs is confident that the grant program will be popular. She hopes that the grants will enable artists to be successful in creating diverse and interesting art. The grants will fund a wide range of budgets for both small and large projects with grants anywhere from $100 to $4,000.

“We have a vibrant artist community,” Frerichs said. “Infusing any amount of money, even if it’s a small amount, will allow more people to do their art and bring more art to our community.”

Written By: JUNO BHARDWAJ-SHAH – city@theaggie.org


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