Agendas and Minutes

Citizens' Budget Committee (View All)

Economic & Cultural Development Grant Meeting

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Economic and Cultural Grant Presentations
Draft Minutes
April 9, 2008 7pm
Civic Center, Council Chambers, 1175 East Main Street



The Citizen’s Budget Subcommittee meeting was called to order at 7:07 pm on April 9, 2008 in Council Chambers at 1175 East Main Street, Ashland Oregon.


Committee members Chapman, Douma, Navickas, Silbiger, Stebbins, Hartzell, and Everson were present, Heimann was absent.


Silbiger/Chapman m/s Everson as chair. All ayes.




Lee Tuneberg, Administrative Services/Finance Director spoke that grants are governed by Resolution 2007-08.  This year there is $125,410 available and 25 groups applied for a total of $320,690.
Southern Oregon Concert Band
Stated they are a vibrant and vital part of Ashland’s community.  This next year they will be celebrating 100 years since its formation.  They provide free concerts.  In addition to audience donations the band supports itself through dues and donations from the band members.  This year they raised their dues to cover the costs of performance hall rentals, printing, postage, and other performance related costs.  Requesting grant proposal to update and renew their music library which is currently out of date, missing pieces, or written for much smaller bands.  Dues are currently twenty-five dollars, many in the band donate in addition to that.  Some members can not afford the dues and so others pay for those members.  Currently there are sixty-five members.  The honorarium paid to the conductor is $1350 to cover the cost of his 9 months of work.  The $300 honorarium to the equipment manager and librarian are to cover their travel costs.
The original request was for $4500, broken up into several allocations.  The first allocation will be used to promote Ashland International Art Festival. The second allocation is for the continuation of their after school programs and the third allocation is for the creation of a haunted themed installation for Halloween.  The largest allocation is for the after school program which provides safe, productive alternatives for youth.   Silbiger asked how many students they typically work with.  Stated she’s new and unsure as to the total but will provide this information tomorrow.
Youth Symphony
Thanked the City for its long-time support.  This is their 20th anniversary season and this year they have 170 students participating in the three ensembles; youth strings, youth orchestra, and youth symphony.  Most of their concerts are here in Ashland.  They were able to present one chamber music concert this year thanks to last year’s grant from the City.  They stated their largest audiences are always the Ashland audiences.  They were asked if they were tracking how many people travel more than 50 miles to attend their concerts.  They said it is difficult to track, and generally the Ashland concerts are filled with Ashland and Medford residents.
St Clair
Thanked the City for the support of the Rogue Valley Blues Festival in the past.  This year they are asking for support for both the Eclectic Music and More Series and the 9th Annual Rogue Valley Blues Festival.  Stated that with the economy as unsteady as it is they feel they need to keep their ticket costs as low as possible to continue to attract a sizable audience.  At the same time their expenses keep rising.   This is their 13th season.  They gave an overview of some of the upcoming year’s productions.  Stated the Blues Festival is becoming a destination event for a growing number of people.  Stated that the daytime venues for the Blues Festival reported an increase in revenue due to last year’s festival. 
Oregon Stage Works
Gave an overview of their recent work and their work with other community groups, also gave an overview of upcoming productions.  They have been fortunate in receiving funds from both foundations and local businesses.  Some of the funds have gone to the development of a website which aids in people being able to purchase tickets from both in and out of the area.  Since the beginning of 2008 their attendance is hovering at about 80%.  Oregon Stage Work’s Ashland Children’s Theatre has become a cultural and educational resource of significant value to the children of the Rogue Valley.  They have year round classes and performances for children.  They serve around 150 children through their year-round program - 1/3 who are on scholarship.  Their theatre attendance is around 6100 people per year.  They have seen an increase in people attending from out of 50 mile radius, particularly in the summer months.  With their new website they should have a better way of tracking where people are from.  They figure they are pretty close to having 25 percent of their audience be from 50 miles or further away.
Ashland Bed and Breakfast
They are an organization of 24 inns working together to market Ashland and Bed and Breakfast Stays in Ashland.  They operate a website and an 800 number that they take turns answering referring callers to inns with rooms available.  They have an annual budget of under $10,000 per year, all of which comes from dues.  Nearly all the budget is used for marketing.  Requesting $2500 for spring and shoulder months marketing and will work to cooperate with SOVA for larger marketing areas.  Success in bringing more people in will benefit the City’s tax revenue and the restaurants, shops, and theaters in the area.  Currently there are decreasing numbers of inns in Ashland due to economic factors, and housing prices.   The money going to SOVA would help to pay for billboards, websites, TV programs, etc. in other regions like the Bay Area where they could not afford to advertise if marketing on their own.  Membership in the Bed and Breakfast network is voluntary and they estimate roughly 40 Inns/Bed and Breakfasts are in the area.
SOU Foundation – Native American Programs
They are a youth academic and cultural support program.  It is a year-round program that culminates in a week long program at SOU.  This year is the 13th year.  Students of the program take classes during the day and in the evenings participate in local activities.  The $5000 request would support 6 ½ students attending.  Students attend from all over Oregon, northern California and this year there may be students from as far away as Alaska.  Additionally, this program has proven to the students and their families the understanding that Ashland and SOU are a safe place for students to attend.  Additionally the program supports the annual Spring Pow-Wow.
Siskiyou Singers
The group has been in existence for 26 years.  They put on an average of 6-8 concerts each year at the SOU concert hall.  They are also the entertainment for the annual Feast of Will.  Currently they have 135 singers, 2/3 of whom are from Ashland, the remainder are from Grants Pass, Applegate, Talent, Phoenix, Medford, and even a few from California.  They gave overview of some of their recent improvements including; expansion of their website, the new programs where they present concerts in local schools once a month, and this year they are touring for the first time to Budapest and Prague.  They are requesting $6500 to keep tickets affordable, to buy storage space for their risers, storage space for their music library, and cover the cost of their rehearsal space.  Also they would like to provide scholarships for singers and assistance in covering the cost of purchasing music.  Finally the request would assist in covering the cost of the international tour.  Lastly, they need funds for continuing the school concert program.   Members pay $30 per term, two terms per year.  Most of that money goes towards paying the director’s salary. 
Ballet Rogue
Ballet in the Park has been going on for 24 years.  There has been an increase in attendance this year.  Ballet in the Park has benefited both the local economy and the cultural atmosphere in Ashland all at no charge.  They also provide an educational dance program for children prior to performances.  This year they are adding an additional class for teens and pre-teens.  This year they are having other companies join in with Ballet Rogue in Ballet in the Park performances.  With recent economic changes they have lost about $3000 in funding this year.  They have a few sponsors who advertise in their program who assist with costs.  Their biggest revenue comes from the annual production of the Nutcracker at the Craterian in Medford.
Rogue Opera
They thanked the City for last year’s grant.  They are requesting funds this year to help support the costs of producing six programs.  They are one of the only opera programs in Oregon and the only one between Eugene and Sacramento.  Their program, Opera in the Schools will provide opportunity for over 19,000 students to experience opera.  Their singer training programs are in collaboration with SOU, who provide space for the classes.  The programs are provided for free for the students who gain college credit for participation.  They have a new database tracking system which should help them to track where people who participate in the performances or programs are coming from.
Ashland Gallery Association
They thanked the City for their previous support.  They want to enhance tourism, support local business and enhance cultural development in Ashland.  They do this by promoting art sales through its business members.  Their marketing efforts year-round are aimed at bringing tourists into Ashland.  Specifically, they would like to use the funds for promotion of First Friday, and A Taste of Ashland.  A portion of the grant funds goes to creating the gallery guide.  The funds will help to pay for a marketing coordinator to help market Ashland and will coordinate working with the Ashland Chamber of Commerce, and SOU.  Lastly, they will use funds to work with SOVA to enhance their hardcopy brochure and their website to give Ashland a greater presence.  People currently can not fully access the gallery guide on-line.
Dancing People Company
Thanked the City for last year’s support.  They have been working for 2 years.  Their goal is to bring more diverse artistic exposure to Ashland by providing an increase in artistic dance.  They currently produce 4 productions per year.  Two of those performances have an educational component, two are strictly professional productions.  They gave an overview of what schools they have been teaching in.  They have many classes they provide for the community in a variety of genres.  For this grant they are asking for about one quarter of the cost of their solstice performance which happens for three nights in December.  At this event they bring together local musicians, dancers, and performers to collaborate on a single performance.  They estimate that about 6 % of the audience at those performances come from out of the area.
City of Ashland- Public Art Commission
The Commission was approached by parents from Bellevue Elementary School about creating a tile mural in conjunction with the renovation that is about to take place at the school.  They proposed 2 12’x12’ panels to be mounted on the outside of the gymnasium.  The mural would involve participation by the entire student body. The school’s design committee chose the theme of nature.  This project supports their goal to have neighborhoods create artistic projects in their own area.  This project will help the students feel connected to the school and create a permanent cultural addition to the community.  They would have assistance from SOU capstone students, the Bellevue School’s Artist in Residence program and interns.  However, this project can not go forward without this grant.
Jefferson Center
They are an all volunteer non-profit organization in it’s 4th year of operation.  They thanked the City for last year’s grant.  That grant helped them to greatly extend the publicity for their major summer event.  As a result of last year’s summer event they were able to attract 250 people to their fall lecture on the SOU campus.  For both programs people came from Ashland and other communities and spent money in local businesses.  Some student in last summer’s program received academic credit for their participation.  They gave an overview of their upcoming programs.  The current grant proposal would be used to present their fall lecture series at the SOU campus.  SOU gives no financial donations other than the donation of their lecture space.  Due to this year’s budget deficit the board decided to focus on the Fall/Spring lecture series and not the Summer Institute.
Southern Oregon Film Society/Ashland Independent Film Festival
They thanked the City for their support.  They have been involved with the City for the last seven years.  They have a large budget but also have many supporters and in-kind donations as part of the budget.  They sold 16,000 tickets this year to roughly 7,000 people and estimate about 20% of those people came from out of the area.  They handed out most recent economic impact estimate from the recently finished film festival.  Estimate they gained about 500 new patrons this year.
Southern Oregon Repertory Singers
Grant request is for their Songs of Shakespeare performance.  This performance was chosen for its potential to further tourism and culture in Ashland.  Performance is on OSF stage, all songs are words of Shakespeare.  Grant would specifically go to marketing and advertisement.  They want to target AAA’s VIA magazine and other choral groups.  Thanked the City for the effort they put in with this grant opportunity.  OSF does not supports them financially however have kindly agreed this year to add a banner to their webpage with information about the Songs of Shakespeare performance.  They typically have 600 people in attendance and are hoping to increase this audience.
Ashland Artisan Gallery and Art Center
They are a visual arts organization that serves southern Oregon with arts education, exhibition, and art services.  Their focus is on artist support, art education, and collaboration.  The grant would be used to support art education and cultural programs.  They are planning an open studio tour in the summer.  They will also be hosting the “drop-in and draw” program for children to attend and work with an artist.  They are members of the Ashland Gallery Association.  The difference is that the Gallery Association focuses on galleries and they focus instead on the artists.  They have been in existing for five months.
Friends of the Ashland Public Library/Chautauqua Poets & Writers
Thanked the City for past support.  They bring to the area nationally known authors for public reading, workshops with teachers and students.  Past events have brought in award winning poets and authors.  They make sure authors host workshops and stay in the area for more than just one day.  These events bring people in from a quite wide area.   Events take place in shoulder season which adds to the year-round economy.  They are requesting this year’s grant in order to continue this program, keep the tickets free or low-cost, and to bring in two major writers during next school year.  Additionally the funds will be used to expand the program.
Rogue Valley Symphony
Thanked the City for its support over the past 17 years.  They gave overview of their upcoming productions.  They bring in world-known soloists who perform and stay in Ashland.  They have a new program called “connecting with the classics” which goes into Ashland schools to provide concerts to students.  This past year chamber group has performed in each of the Ashland elementary schools.  They are working with the middle and high schools to start providing master classes for student musicians.  They provide concerts during the office season which helps improve the year-round economy.
Lithia Arts Guild
They stated their mission.  They host the annual Mid-Summers Dream Art and Music Festival.  They work to create additional venues for artists, artisans, and musicians to create a living.   The group started 4 years ago.  In the first year of the Mid-Summer Festival there were 81 artists, two stages and 4000 attendees.   Last year had 100 artists and an increase in overall per booth income.  25% of the Mid-Summer’s budget goes to musicians and sound technicians.  The artisans pay $85 for the weekend and 10% of their sales which in turn gets spent on advertising for the event and for rent to the school district for the location.  They have considered doing a Fall harvest festival event but currently don’t have enough volunteers to produce one.
Peace House
They are a center for education and action regarding non-violent principles.  They have successfully revitalized and strengthened relationship with SOU.  Now have an official internship and practicum site for students.  This year they will resume co-producing academic conference with SOU. The grant application is for support for a peace village festival. The purpose of the festival is to promote peace and sustainability in the community.  This festival stimulates local economy.  Approximately 1500 people attended in the first year.  They were not able to pay for the entertainment last year but are hoping to be able to pay them this year.  They do have some sponsorship from local business (both in-kind and cash).
Science Works
Thanked City for previous grants.  According to their records currently 85% of their 50,000 visitors per year come from outside of Ashland.  Last year they took previous footage made for public service announcements and leveraged the City’s grant to create a video.  The video was used for fundraising purposes which allowed them to increase their fundraising by almost 60% last year.  They want to once again leverage the City’s grant and Coming Attractions Theaters agreed to let them put 6 different 30 second spots in their theaters in three different states.  They also want to enhance visitor experience by upgrading entrance and the membership purchasing program. 
They are working to make sure money spent around the valley to stay in the area by promoting local restaurants, produce, and shops.   They are doing informational nights to help people learn about farm share programs.  They are currently working on survey research for the Rogue Valley Growers and Crafters Market in order to help them find a permanent location for both the Ashland and Medford farmers markets.  They have worked with the Ashland School District with their school food improvement project.  They received a grant to expand that farm to institution work so they are beginning meetings with SOU and are hoping to meet with other hospitals and retirement communities in the area.  Working to find location to grow hops for the local breweries.  They are working with Jackson County Expo to bring a more agricultural focus to their harvest fair.  Thanks to last year’s grant they are working with the Conservation Department to expand and improve the green business program.
Multicultural Association
The Multicultural Association has been active for 14 years.  They are working with KSKQ to provide local multicultural radio programming.  KSKQ previously was only available to be heard on-line but with recent technological improvements is now available in the Ashland area.  The Multicultural Association wants to partner with SOU to provide a lecture series on KSKQ.  They want to create a forum for people to discuss multicultural and international issues.
ArtWork Enterprises, Inc.
They have been around since 1991.  They present three theater festivals each year including the Ashland New Plays Festival.  They are hoping to use this grant reduce their risk and focus on advertising so that they can return to being self-sustaining.  Last year’s money has greatly improved their financial situation and the increase in their marketing efforts.  This could be most dramatically shown in the increased number of people visiting their website.  Their website traffic gets quite a few people from outside the area so they assume people are increasingly coming here from outside of Ashland.
Mr. Tuneberg requested that committee members send spreadsheet to Bryn with their suggestions in order to start the discussion tomorrow.
This meeting adjourned at 9:33 PM.
Respectfully Submitted,
Diana Shiplet
Executive Secretary

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