Historic City News readers are invited to attend Monday afternoon when the St Johns County Tourist Development Council hears the recommendations its funding panel on how to spend $550,000 in bed tax money for funding requests in the Arts, Culture and Heritage category — good news for twenty-two program operators, for others, not so much.
The funding panel established a score of 70% or more as the cutoff for funding during the Fiscal year beginning October 1, 2013.
The St Augustine Yacht Club, who requested $7,500 to produce the Holiday Regatta of Lights and an additional $1,500 to produce the Blessing of the Fleet, for example will receive up to $1,000; which must be used for the rental of equipment during the Regatta, only.
That was the best news that followed in a report prepared for the Council by Executive Director Glenn Hastings.
The largest request that will receive no funding is the St Augustine Art Association, who requested $60,000 for the Art and Craft Festival that they have produced for the past 47-years — they scored only 61.6%. The $1,500 to produce the Blessing of the Fleet was the smallest request — they also received the lowest score.
The Cultural Center of Ponte Vedra Beach received the highest number of rejections; including the Plein Air Painting Competition, Art of Living Well Farm-to-Table, Ponte Vedra Beach Home, Art and Design Week, Spring to the Beach, Holiday Creations and Shoppes, and production of Last Good War. A total of $19,000 in funding request missed the mark; earning individual scores between 47.8% – 62.6%.
Last year, Romanza St Augustine received $60,000 to produce the 10-day Romanza Festivale, and the Celtic Music and Heritage Festival. Both events attracted cultural tourists who, because of the way the events are staged, brought additional pedestrian traffic throughout town. This year a separate $30,000 request was made for each event.
Romanza Festivale received a 74% score and up to $25,500 in funding. Celtic Music and Heritage Festival, on the other hand, only received a 62.8% score and, therefore, nothing for their $30,000 request. Instead, the funding panel looked favorably on a $60,000 request from Artbreakers; awarding the unproven Celtic festival operator a 91% score — and full funding for their entire $60,000 request.
During the last City Commission meeting in St Augustine, Phil Genovar, representing the St Augustine Easter Week Festival, asked for reconsideration of new parade permit fees that he says are now so high, they could make the difference between having an Easter Parade or not. The City took no action saying that they needed more information and will take it up again at a future meeting. More potentially bad news for Genovar; the funding panel scored his request at 62.8% — leaving his $10,000 funding request unfunded by the TDC.
Others who missed the cutoff include the Ponte Vedra Auto Show, St Augustine Beach Blastoff, four productions by the Limelight Theatre, a Celebration of African American Music, and the Food and Wine Festival produced by the St Augustine Independent Restaurant Association.