About 150 local arts and culture nonprofits get thousands of dollars from the city’s hotel tax every year. The department that manages arts funding recently changed that program, tweaks they hope will bring more – and more diverse – cultural nonprofits into the fold.
In the past, each organization had to fill out a long application if they wanted a shot at the money.
“I can say this from having filled out the application from my days as a contractor with the city – everybody dreaded it,” said Larry Baza, chair of San Diego’s Commission for Arts and Culture. “It was so long and redundant.”
Those thick applications were reviewed by panels of community volunteers who were tasked with scoring everything from the financial health and organizational structure of a nonprofit to the value of its programming. The panelists, however, didn’t have any formal training, which led applicants to question whether they were being treated fairly.
Baza was appointed chair of the commission right around the same time Dana Springs was named executive director. One of the first orders of business for the two new leaders, they said, was streamlining the funding process.