Economic and Cultural Grant Presentations
April 05, 2006 7pm
Civic Center, Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street
CALL TO ORDER
The Citizen’s Budget Subcommittee meeting for Economic and Cultural Development Grants was called to order at 7:07 pm on April 05, 2006 in Civic Center Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street, Ashland, Oregon.
Councilor Silbiger and Jackson were present. Budget Committee members Thompson, Everson, Stebbins, and Mackris were present.
STAFF PRESENT: LEE TUNEBERG, ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES & FINANCE DIRECTOR
BRYN MORRISON, ACCOUNT REPRESENTATIVE
VERONICA WARD, ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
ELECTION OF A CHAIR
CM Mackris / Everson nominated Thompson as chair. All Ayes.
STAFF REPORT AND PRESENTATIONS: In order of receipt.
Lee Tuneberg, Administrative Services and Finance Director stated that the City of Ashland provides this grant every year and that the funds are based upon the revenues received by the transient occupancy and hotel motel tax. He also briefed the Grant Sub Committee on the current proposed budget year funds with the projected revenue of $1,514,000. Mr. Tuneberg referenced City resolution #2004-32, the Council goals stated within that resolution, and the specified percentage 1/3 of those revenues to be used for economic and cultural grants. Within resolution #2004-32 it is also identified how much is to be granted to the Ashland Chamber of Commerce and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The remaining amount for grants this year is $1,408,705.00; earlier this year council identified that any monies not allocated are carried over and added to the grant funds available for the next budget year. The $1,048,705.00 includes $5000 from this fiscal year that could not be used by the grant recipient.
Mr. Tuneberg proposed limiting presentations to three minutes with the 26 applicants and he directed attention to the material provided by the applicants. The process of how to proceed was discussed as well as the question of a conflict of interest. Mr. Tuneberg stated that this is a small community and quite often people on the Committee could also be on the board for one of grant applicants. Mr. Tuneberg added the City Attorney determined there is no conflict of interest if a Committee member participates on the board of an applicant for grants if that Committee member does not have a paid position or receive a personal financial gain from that applicant. The degree as to which the Committee members participate was up to them.
The grant applicants are listed in the same order as to the order that the applications were received.
Ashland Independent Film Festival: Requested $30,000 – Tom Olbrich, Executive Director for Ashland Independent Film Festival (AIFF) presented. Mr. Olbrich passed a handout to the Committee and verbally corrected the grants program budget as presented. The correction was to the personal services; Section A line 1 is $7,000, line 2 is $7,500, line 3 is $8,500, and line 4 is $0 (zero). He noted that this year they were attempting to give his position benefits and is down under total benefits. The other correction was on section five; the tourism should read 66.67%. Mr. Olbrich asked the Committee to look at the economic impact that AIFF has on the city of Ashland year round and culture development on the area, supported quotes from surrounding businesses. The Committee asked to expand on education program of the AIFF. The director spoke about their mission statement and that most of the involvement is on the university level and through the film festival. This year they started working with the current film and video programs at the K-12 level. The work has been focused mainly at the middle school, the Ashland High School, and two other high schools in the region as well as Lincoln Elementary school. The AIFF is hoping by next year to have a summer film camp.
The Committee asked about success of last year and the noted the requested grant funds had doubled from the year before. The Committee questioned the success or benefits the increased ticket sales gave to the AIFF and had this success allowed access to other funding sources or opportunities.
Mr. Olbrich responded that increased ticket sales also increases the work and other costs as well. They are increasing the number of memberships and sponsorships and they are reaching regionally and nationally for grants. The bottom line for them this year was can they proceed this at this level or do they need to reduce the size of the festival and step back. Their goal is to ask everyone for what their expected needs are to keep the business going.
The Committee asked if the AIFF didn’t receive the grant this year at they thought it would be the beginning of the end for the festival. Mr. Ollbrich stated yes, at least to the size of the current festival. The Committee asked about the financial spreadsheet. The festival stated that they do not make money most of the year and that it is limited to film festival time. They try to increase their funds every year.
Rogue Valley Symphony: Requested $14,750 - Gina Ing, development director and Denis Miller presented. Two years ago the symphony expanded the season from three concerts a year to five concerts a year. They were able to expand the season because of the grant received last year from the City of Ashland. Audience support is strong and it is hard to get a seat for a concert in Ashland. The symphony has six rehearsals and five concerts a season. They continue the five concerts this year in the recital hall at the university. They also have a Valentines Day concert. The grant funds requested this year are to help cover two specific items which are the student outreach and continuing the expanded programs in Ashland. They noted that the symphony has 70 musicians on the roster and 35 of those musicians also live in Ashland. Two thirds of the rehearsals take place in Ashland and they bring musicians from many different places in Oregon. The development director listed the benefits of the symphony to Ashland and the local business; she also noted that the Rogue Valley Symphony is the third largest symphony in Oregon. The have a $900,000 economic impact on the City of Ashland. The symphony stated they have programs in all elementary schools in Ashland.
The Committee asked for clarification on the funds requested in this grant. The Rogue Valley Symphony responded that the funds would go towards the expanded concert season and the symphony’s education programs.
Subcommittee chair Lynn Thompson stated to the applicants in the audience that due to time constraints with the presentations and the fact that the Committee has a large amount of information required with the applications, it would be most helpful to have a very brief description of their organization and what the grant funds will go towards.
Nuwandart: Requested $5,500 - Art gallery venue, supportive of local artist and art education in the community. The Committee asked if the new small theatre space would generate additional revenue. Nuwandart answer yes, they are working with Ashland Community Theatre to generate revenue by ticket sales. The Committee asked about the tax status of the 5013c. Nuwandart is also the North American Art Patrons Association (NAAPA). This parent company name allows them to field more opportunities. The Committee asked if NAAPA acted as the fiscal sponsor of Nuwandart or just a program within NAAPA. The North American Art Partrons Association is the fiscal sponsor for Nuwandart in regards to the grant.
Ashland Gallery Association: Requested $33,200 - Richard Le Vitt presented. Mr Le Vitt mentioned the history and impact they have had in Ashland and noted that Ashland was rated number two in the nation moving up from number ten. He mentioned the different events and activities they provide; the Gallery Guide, Taste of Ashland, First Fridays, Manual Art show, and the support of art education in Ashland schools. They planned on using the grant funds to expand their website, a parallel website, and supplementing their volunteer staff. Their volunteers are stretched thin. The Committee asked for clarification to the answer the gallery gave for the question number 3, the purpose of the grant. Mr. Le Vitt responded that it was for Chamber of Commerce and Ashland guide raising advertising cost. The Committee asked if they were not fully funded the grant, what would they cut. Mr. Le Vitt said they would have to curtail regional and national advertising. He also stated that the gallery was not fully awarded grant funds last year and they the gallery invested some funds in strategic planning to see where they had the most leverage. Advertising would be cut first; they would keep the staff and the website if possible. It is not one gallery asking for grant but 30 small business members. Some of the costs detailed in the application are recurring costs that were also in last year’s application, for example the First Friday gallery maps. The expense for first Friday is they do pay a designer for putting together first Friday.
Community Works: Requested $10,000 - Arne Green presented. Mr. Green described the past programs of Community Works and mentioned the Lithia Springs program that has been around for 32 years. They have a total budget of close to $2 million dollars and most of the employees live in Ashland and benefit the Ashland economy. Mr. Green stated that the non-profit social service sector is in great need for government funding and grants. A candle factory was donated by a local entrepreneur Randy Jones. Community works would use some of the grant funds to hire a sales and marketing person for the candle factory and are in negotiations with bear creek with regards to the candle factory. They just leased a 2000sq building for shelter workshops. Community Works teach employability skills to troubled kids and get them ready to enter the professional world of holding a job and the skills needed to do so. They are grossing $80,000 and would like to double that over time, some of that money would go back into the business and some would go back into the social services that they support.
The Committee asked about the grant funds from the prior year being used to fund their sales and marketing associate and if this year would be a continuation of that or an addition. Mr. Green stated it would be a continuation of the same funding as the prior year. If Community Works receives more in grant funds this year then they would double the salary but if they don’t then it would be a continuation.
St. Clair Productions: Requesting $6,000 - Ariella St. Clair presented. St. Clair productions host the Rogue Valley Blues Festival for the last six years, this festival continues to grow. Last year over 1000 people attend the concerts and workshops at the historical Ashland Armory as well as musicians that played at local restaurants. Ms. St. Clair noted that the local business recorded 50 increases in number of people in their establishment during the Blues Festival. St. Clair Productions has booked Odetta, a folk musician, next year for the Blues Festival and this would increase attendance and bring people from out of town. They would like to add a “Battle of Bands” for people under the age of 21yr old. The Committee asked specifically what they are asking the City to fund. St. Clair responded that the grant funds go towards any and all expenses for over all operating budget, for example booking agents, advertising and musician fees. The price for booking the artist Odetta is $4500.
Arts Council: Requested $12,500 - Lyn Godsey presented. This year, the grant funds would be going towards a program that started last January 2005, The Southern Oregon Snow Sculpture Competition that is now the Oregon Snow Sculpture Event. They are looking at becoming a sanctioned National event so that the artists can compete at National and International competitions. The focus for the grant funds is on the tourist possibilities to increase with this program. Arts Council has partnered up with Ski Ashland and Windmill Inn of Ashland in participation of the event. There was a great community attendance and support at the snow sculpture competition. Ms. Godsey expressed that the Arts Council would like to expand the program, advertise locally and create the marketing to attract more visitors. The Committee asked about the shift in grant focus from Artist in the Schools to Snow Sculpture and questioned if the Arts Council was going to continue the Artist is the schools. Ms. Godsey said yes.
Multi Cultural Association: Requested $10,000 – Connie Saldana presented. The purpose of the grant this year is to help build a new radio station here in Ashland. It is a low power FM station. They have ten thousand volunteer hours working towards getting the station going, received 25 show proposals from local community members, and are currently on live stream on the web. The Multi Cultural Association explained what their goal is for the community and the programs that are planned. The grant funds would be used to buy hardware and broadcast equipment to get the station on the air.
The Committee asked how close financially they are from getting on air. Ms. Saldana stated that they budgeted $30,000 for start up (equipment, installation, and consulting fees) and has asked for $10,000 from the City of Ashland in grant funds as well as applied for additional grants. Other funds will be generated through building memberships and fundraising. Ms. Saldana also stated that the focus of the station is to allow any community group a voice on the radio. Some groups they are partnering with are Peace House, different Hispanic groups, Dude (a disability advocacy group). They also have language and cultural education programs. The Committee asked if the Multi Cultural Association had opportunities to work through RVTV, they responded with the fact that they have a good connection with the individuals that helped to start RVTV and could have the opportunity to work with RVTV in the future when the station is built.
The Jefferson Center for Religion: Requested $10,000 - Robert Semes Executive Director, presented. Mr. Semes explained that they are an educational center providing critical thinking in religion and philosophy. The Center provides an annual three day summer institute held in Ashland this coming year. The grant funds would go towards four specific areas; one, underwriting the theme of this year’s institute. This will draw nine scientists and scholars from all over the world to Ashland. Mr. Semes stated that the Center expects 200 registrants this year and estimates that up to one third will travel from outside of Ashland which would add to tourism. Two, the grant funds would go towards establishing a fall and spring lecture series that would start in October 2006. Third, the grant funds would go towards an outreach program at Southern Oregon University, and four, to add funding for a part-time employee as administrative assistant. The Center currently no paid employees only volunteers. Committee member Jackson requested clarification on the thought behind the tourism promotion on the application. Mr. Semes answered that it was there expense for promotion of tourism. He explained that 70% of their budget would be used in advertising “promoting tourism” and 30% as cultural development. Mr. Semes described the detail of advertising for the events of the Center. The Committee asked about the charges for the events. He stated that the charge for the three day institute is $175 and that students are charged at half price.
Lithia Arts Guild: Requested $15,431 – Sophia Bogle and Marcus Scott presented. The grant funds would go towards two projects. First, the funds would allow them to complete the vision of the hall way at school Briscoe art wing. The art wing thus far has allowed them to hold several art center fairs; assisted the Arts Guild in fulfillment of their school partnership to teach art to large groups of children, and the art wing is also a low cost studio space for local artist to rent through the Ashland Schools Partnership. This partnership last year provided 270 hours of art education to children for the cost of materials for the events. The second project the grant funds would go towards is the Midsummer art event estimated 5000 attended last year’s event. The goal this year is also to create and fund these additional events; the Holiday Market, Heart Fest, and Day of the Dead. Funds from the grant would assist in advancing these programs and events. The Committee asked for elaboration on festival funding for entertainment art projects and operations, Mr. Scott went over the details of paying the entertainment, the construction of a main stage, building a sound system and art supplies. They would like to pay the local artist for their work. The stage would be a removable stage. The Committee asked what is the commission received from the artists. Mr. Scott replied that 10% of the artist’s commission is given to the Art Guild and 3% of the 10% is directly given to the Ashland school District to offset the payment for the Briscoe Art Wing. The remaining amount went towards advertising and security.
Youth Symphony of Southern Oregon (YSSO): Requesting $5,500 – Director and board member as presenters. The YSSO explained the importance of the association and how it benefits the many members of the community. They explained that the YSSO has 185 student musicians that participate in the program. Ashland is home to the students, families, and audience that are part of the YSSO. Thanks were given to the City of Ashland for the past support. The YSSO strives to be good stewards for private and public funds. The committee asked if there was a cost to fund the hosting of other musical groups that come to Ashland like the Palo Alto music group. Sharon Wilson, director, stated that they are not direct expenses to the YSSO and hosting or funding of the sleeping arrangements and meals are funded by the families of the students.
Second Street Musicians: Requested $3,250 – Margaret Scarborough presented. Ms. Scarborough described what the organization is all about and explained the purpose of their organization existing is for education and fun for all. Winter of 2005 they put on three benefit concerts. This is an organization that provides a place to work with professional musicians; they are a community ensemble of young string players. The Second Street Musicians main goal is to supply benefit music performances. This year they have a spring performance and this summer a performance for Schneider art museum. This year they have underwritten five music groups. The organization has been able to exist by the tuition of current members. This year grant funds are needed for outreach marketing and to increase the number of performances. The organization also assists in paying tuition for members that can not afford to pay. They noted that the cost associated with underwriting these performances is taking up most of their budget, this year they would like to underwrite an additional performance for this year with awarded grant funds.
The Committee asked if they are anticipating the publicity as a one year project or are they developing materials that they will be able to use over a longer period of time. Ms. Scarborough stated that any development will be implanted and carried forward to use in the future. This is specifically to pay a marketing agency to help in advertising publicity; the marketing agency has provided an estimate for their service. The committee asked if this spring concert was for the benefit for the organization. Ms. Scarborough responded that yes they are for the first time charging a ticket price and the proceeds would stay with the organization. The Committee also asked about tuition for orchestra members. Second Street Musicians charge $125 for 10 sessions; they also noted that coaches are usually members of other local community musical groups that are highly skilled.
Dancing People Company: Requested $7,000 - Peggy Paver as presented. Ms. Paver began with the history and goals of the Dancing People Company. She stated that they have partnered with Ashland High school. They went into the high school and provided a week worth of workshops and classes. They intend to expand this week of workshops and performances into the middle school next year. The company’s intent on use of grant funds this year is focused on a performance of the Winter Solstice this coming December 2006. They would like to partner their company dancers with local community dancers. The Committee questioned the tax status of the Dancing People Company. Ms. Paver stated they filed in February of 2006 and their 501 C3 status is pending. They should receive the status in May per IRS letter. The Committee discussed the increase or projected increase in revenues for this coming year. Ms. Paver stated that they plan to double their performances this year and that would significantly increase the revenues from ticket sales. The committee questioned why they company plans to double the performances this year and how they feel that would be possible. The answer was that last year they were a new company and were not as well known in the community. They feel that this year the community could support the increase in performances. The Committee asked where the performances are held. Ms. Paver stated that a few of the performances are held at the Ashland High School and that the Winter Solstice event is scheduled for the Ashland Armory.
Science Works: Requested $20,303 – Chris Wallace Hostetler presented. Ms. Hostetler discussed that the focus is to bring science to more people, increasing the growth of the science provided as well as the hours open to the public. This is their third anniversary this year and they have increased their number of attendance as well as the number of school children. They are focused on having the capacity of growth in the community. Ms. Hostetler stated that school groups and tourists are the main attendance that they see. They plan to better track the demographic in attendance to the museum. The Committee asked who provided the technology assessment for Science Works and also for explanation of question #5 on what percentage dollars will be used in providing technical and financial assistance for the expansion of existing businesses. The reply from Ms. Hostetler was that the local company Vortex Inc. provided the technological assessment, the percentage was interpreted as the tech advancements would increase their capacity of membership data, donor management, and visitor services basically the people coming through the door. They allocated 25% to tourism that visit their website and 70% deals with education program tracking. The Committee stated that clarity on the questions on the application should be reviewed.
Konaway Nika Tillicum: Requested $5,000 – The presenter gave a brief overview of what their organization is; they are an academic and cultural support program for Native American youth grades six through twelve. Their main component a summer academy for Native American children held at SOU. The proposed grant funds would be for an Educational Public Powwow. This powwow has become an annual attraction for the past two years drawing in tourism and spreading cultural awareness. Through this performance they offer an educational experience, public participation. The grant funds would mainly go towards the publicity for powwow through flyers, notification to local businesses, RVTV, local newspapers, and through native news letters and newspapers throughout Oregon. The little remaining grant funds would then go towards the purchase of water for the groups participating in the powwow.
Chautauqua Poets & Writers Board: Requested $5,000 – Kathi Bowen-Jones and Patty Wixon presented. Ms. Wixon spoke about their statement and mission of the Poets and Writers Board. The Poets and Writers Board purpose is to bring poets from all over the country to Ashland. Ms. Wixon stated that most of the funds received are from donations given to the Poets and Writers Board; these funds are used to bring poets and writers to perform here in Ashland. The goal of the Poets and Writers Board is to keep the performances/ readings a community event. The ticket prices vary depending on the artist performing and the cost of obtaining that artist. For the performance by Naomi Shihab Nye the price for a patron ticket was $25 and $10 for general ticket. Ms. Wixon stated that the interaction at the Naomi Shihab Nye performance was wonderful and that the attendees ranged from young adults, University students and a large group of senior citizens. The Committee asked if the Chautauqua Poets and Writers group are fiscally funded by Ashland Schools Foundation. Ms. Wixon stated they the Poets and Writers Board are not their own 501C3 and that the Ashland Schools Foundation does fund the Chautauqua Poets and Writers Board. The Committee and applicant then discussed the historical relationship between International Writers Series and the Chautauqua Lecture Series, how the Chautauqua Poets and Writers Board was formed and how they became a non-profit agency. The applicant explained to the Committee the specific expenses for securing the authors through a deposit and clarified the amounts shown on page 3 and page 5 of the application.
SOWAC: Requested $8,000 – Dennis Davis and David Tally presented. Mr. Davis explained what SOWAC is and their function. He stated that SOWAC is an educational facility to assist individuals that would like to go into business for themselves. The organization has undergone a significant reduction in staffing the past year from 8.3 FTE to 3 FTE. The Committee asked about the main location for services provided, if those services were for the greater Rogue Valley area and what benefit the services of SOWAC provided for the Ashland community. Mr. Tally stated that they average 50% of their clients are either Ashland residence in the process of starting a business or existing businesses that need assistance. Mr. Tally stated that SOWAC has a good presence with the clients and small businesses in Ashland.
Thrive: Requested $11,000 – Wendy Siporen presented. Ms. Siporen explained the mission of Thrive, which is to develop a thriving local economy of independent and locally owned businesses that are socially, financially, and environmentally sustainability. Their work is to deepen the local economy by promoting business to business sourcing and educating consumers on the potential impact of the money they spend. Thrive works to connect local buyers to consumers which has also benefited many local restaurants that carry the locally made products. These local restaurants have seen sales go up in the items that are locally produced. Ms. Siporen also explained the Rogue Flavor Campaign, which is a campaign that’s focus is to buy locally from an economic stand point. The Rogue Flavor guide book was made to help locals and tourist find locally made items. This features a range of businesses from “mom and pop” operations to larger operations with many employees. Ms. Siporen stated that .3 of their business members are based in Ashland. Grant funds this year would go towards continuing and expanding their food connections as well as the Rouge Flavor programs. With Quarterly business workshops and an “Eat Locally” challenge this summer. They plan to incorporate a part time business outreach position to work with business members of Thrive. Committee member Everson stated that she was impressed with the $60,000 working budget for this program. Ms. Siporen stated that Thrive’s model is to grow things slowly and as they gain more funding do more with the program. She also noted that many of the events are possible by the donations of vendors and the time of the volunteers.
Children’s Musical Theatre of Ashland: Requested $25,000 - Ronda Taylor presented. Ms. Taylor stated they are a children’s theatre and their mission is that every child who auditions will be placed in a show, no one is turned away. The Theatre offers training for children in public speaking, responsibility and to be team oriented. The Theatre offers training in singing and dance as well as acting. Their goal is to be a seriously fun theatre for aspiring performers. Ms. Taylor stated that the Theatre offers the training for young actors for other theatres in the area like the Cabaret, OSF, and High school performances. Their premier production this April 13th is Grease the school performance. The Children’s Musical Threatre does not have their own threatre and much of their expenses are in renting facilities for performances. The president takes on many roles as the director, musician, he is in charge of advertising, training. The committee asked if all the performances were musical. Ms. Taylor noted that yes all the performances in the Children’s Musical Theatre are musical performances. She also listed the Wizard of Oz and West Side Story as future performances. The Committee asked how the production of Grease was funded. Ms. Taylor responded that they do charge tuition of $125 for the 8-10 week training. At the time everything in addition to that had been an out of pocket expense. The tuition amount paid for costumes and a portion of the rights to use the script. The Committee then asked if they have a ticket or entry fee for the performances. Ms. Taylor responded that they plan to try an entry fee of $10 for Adults and $7.50 for children. With the revenues from the ticket sales they would pay for the rental of the facility and roll the left over funds into the production of and expenses for the next performance, Wizard of Oz. The Committee then asked the young performers with Ms. Taylor what they liked best about the Theatre. The two actors both stated that they liked the singing and dancing the best and that it was a lot of fun.
ArtNow: Requested $1,500 - Katherine Gosnell presented. ArtNow is a funding organization for the Wild Art Car Club of Oregon. The Art Car Festival was very successful last year. The festival allows individuals to express their views and share their art form with the public. The 4th of July is a main event day for the Art Car Festival and last year they had 22 art cars entries in the parade. During the July 4th celebration ArtNow also have a kid’s craft area with other fun activities for all ages. They also have a very successful puppet show. This year the puppet masters are asking for a small stipend, last year they volunteered their time and performed for 100 people. The children’s activates last year had 400 youth participants. This year the board for ArtNow would like to extend some of their programs. The board received feedback that structured sessions or discussions with the artists would be appreciated. This year they will schedule sessions with selected artists on the afternoon of July 4th. They would reimburse the artists for their additional contributions for the weekend event. They would like to also provide a stipend for the youth coordinator. In conclusion, Ms. Gosnell spoke about how ArtNow benefits the community. It provides the community the opportunity to speak with folk artists about their unique work. The 4th of July tent provides a reach to many community members and allows them the avenue to be creative. The Committee asked about the financial request on the application about funding for housing and food for weekend at $2, 800 and who that money was for. Ms. Gosnell answered that those funds would go to the artists coming into town for the weekend. In the past, ArtNow had received donations from local restaurants, housing facilities, and local homes for the artists. But that the $2800 is “in case” they do not received the same support from the local community they have in the past.
A Five Minute break was taken by the Committee
Rogue Opera: Requested $12,000 – Lorrie Hall presented. Ms. Hall started with a thank you for past support to the Rogue Opera; without the grant funds from the City of Ashland the Opera would not be able to offer their many outreach programs. The funds granted this year would go toward the Rogue Opera Mission which is manifested in five programs: opera in the schools, youth behinds the scenes mentoring, tickets for youth, and two new series in collaboration with SOU, the complete singer training series and the opera workshop. To date 189,000 students have witnessed opera in their schools and this year 15,000 attended opera in the schools. The Committee confirmed that the Rogue Opera had to cancel one of their shows. Ms. Hall responded that they did cancel one show due to record low ticket sales and did not want to jeopardize the funds available to continue with two of their mission goals; to educate youth and train young performers. In order to avoid this situation again next year they will greatly reduce production cost and do a semi-stage production. The Committee questioned how the education programs would interact with or without a production. Ms. Hall responded that the only education program affected was the behind the scene youth mentoring program; this is the program that youth can come in a job shadow. Rogue Opera was disappointed to have to cut this program and they plan to bring it back next year.
Southern Oregon Repertory Singers: Requested $7,500 – Dennis Funk presented. The Repertory Singers are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. The grant request this year is specifically for the “Songs of Shakespeare” concert held at Oregon Shakespeare Festival in July this year. The Songs of Shakespeare is a unique evening of music based on the words or plays of Shakespeare. Their intent is to introduce at least one new work annually at this event. Mr. Funk explained how this event is a magical evening for all. The cultural development portion of this event would be the commissioning of Shakespearian actors. The Repertory Singers would like to expand their audience by increasing the advertising budget. Mr. Funk stated that they Repertory Singers currently have an audience that comes from San Francisco, Sacramento, Redding and Oregon.
The Committee asked how the Repertory Singers have the arrangement to use Oregon Shakespeare Festival grounds for their event. Mr. Funk responded that it was just a matter of approaching them. One factor that assisted the Repertory Singers in obtaining approval to use the Shakespeare stage is that the event of Songs of Shakespeare is held on a Monday evening when Shakespeare is dark and provides something for out of town guests to do on a Monday evening. The admission fee is $15 a ticket and that price has been kept affordable for community members. Mr. Funk explained that some costs are fixed like house and piano but if funding is low, advertising is the first item to be cut. The OSF Theater seats 1200 and if the event was to fill the house then they would break even. Mr. Funk clarified that typically ticket sales cover half the cost of production in most events.
The Committee asked what had changed this year that required the group to request funding of $7,500. The costs have been there as the budgets have tightened they have had to cut the commission works for music, the hiring of actors and advertising. The grant funds would allow them to expand on mainly the advertising and allow room in the budget to commission works and hire actors. Mr. Funk noted some of the advertising opportunities in store. The Committee asked where the ticket revenue projections per event were listed. Mr. Funk stated that they did not breakout the specific ticket revenues for the Songs of Shakespeare event but over all the projected ticket revenues were $23,150.000. The Committee then asked what the other revenue sources were. Mr. Funk responded that most other revenues have been donated by fundraising, donors and patron’s.
Peace House: Requested $9,766 - Holly East presented: Ms. East explained the purpose and benefit of the Peace House to the community as detailed in the application. The Peace House has three programs that challenge social and economic inequities in Ashland and promote economic sustainability. Those three programs are Uncle Foods Diner, Peace Garden, and Youth and Militarism Program. Ms. East noted that Peace house is going in a new direction; they have developed a new foundation, a new board of directors and have developed policy and procedure methods. The Peace House requests grant funds this year due to the instability of 2005. Ms. East did verbally correct the application where it stated the Peace House had the software and technical equipment for Power Point which they do not. Ms. East noted the number of meals the Peace House has provided over the past year. Peace House does not receive Social Service funding from the City of Ashland.
Oregon Stage Works: Requested $51,000 – Peter Alzado and Kate Sullivan presented. Mr. Alzado stated the purpose and mission statement of the Oregon Stage Works as well as the accomplishments over the past year. The purpose of the requested grant funds this year would go to support for producing Oregon Stage Works’ Ashland Children’s Theatre, production support and workers compensation for six of the play subscription series, and to support the production of other non-profit agencies. Last year Oregon Stage Works grant funds received last year was to fund the Children’s Theatre. Last year they were awarded $6,000 and had applied for $17,438. This year they have increased their request to $51,000 due to the knowledge of what is available through the grant program. Last year the Oregon Stage Works broke even and this year they plan to expand their programs. The Committee asked what the tuition is for the Children’s Theatre. Ms. Sullivan explained the fees and how they are split for the age group difference, $70 for an eight week session for the younger students and up to $160 for an eight week session for the older students. They also offer scholarships and work trade arrangements for students. Ms. Sullivan stated that their organization has turned a student away that could not afford the classes. The Children’s Theatre program is a year long event. In the future they would like to expand and travel with the group.
Siskiyou Singers: Requested $7,000 – Jeff Lawniczak and Janet Anderson presented. Mr. Lawniczak gave a brief history of the Siskiyou Singers and explained that they are a choral group in Ashland. Siskiyou Singers is made up of 120 members that perform six concerts at SOU a year, as well as perform at The Feast of Will, the Historic Ashland 4th of July Parade, and the Festival of Lights. The also have a community outreach program where they go around and sing at the elementary schools. Their operating budget of $40,000 and charge $30 a year for membership. Ticket sales are good; the price per ticket is $12 with 1200 to 1400 seats sold in the 3-4 concerts a year. The grant would allow them to keep prices low, membership scholarships available and to expand the community outreach program. Last year’s awarded grant went to pay for sheet music, soloist from the community that are paid $150-200 per performance, and orchestra instrumentalist.
Ballet Rogue: Requested $10,000 – Correction to page 4, question 9 on grant application. The grant was received from the Meyer Trust Foundation not the Carter Foundation. Correction to Ballet in the Park - Budget 2006; the Monday Performance is $4,143 not $3,250. This is the 21st year for Ballet in the Park. The presenter stated Ballet Rogue draws individuals that come from all over the United States, from Florida, Texas, New York, and California. Two additional performances are planned this year in addition to the ballet in the park. “All that Jazz” from Grants Pass and “Kinetic Images” from Lake Oswego. The presenter stated that all of the money for Ballet Rogue comes from fundraising and grants. Ballet Rogue has many volunteers and a supportive group of parents that step in and help out. The Committee asked how Ballet Rogue would know where the audience is from. The presenter stated that Ballet Rogue last year had sent out 3,100 brochures with pamphlets survey, they also track where the donations come from, and track calls received. The presenter read the answer to question 4 on page 2 of the application; in regards to the tourism that Ballet Rogue brings to Ashland.
Bryn Morrison, Account Representative went over the procedure for the Committee to follow before the second grant meeting April 6, 2006 7:00 P.M. at the Council Chambers. The Committee members have to individually review the application information in preparation to discuss the allocation of funds to the grant applicants.
Meeting adjourned at 10:06 pm.