The cultural funding program of the City of El Paso Museums and Cultural Affairs Department (MCAD) is awarding $418,256 in support to 73 local non-profit cultural organizations and artists for performances, services and works throughout El Paso for the 2017 fiscal year.
The cultural funding program is a way for MCAD to directly invest in the arts, to foster cultural activity and build a vibrant creative community. Live performances by local actors and dancers, writing workshops, festivals in Downtown El Paso and new artworks are a few examples of the investments the City of El Paso is providing to the local creative community.
An example is Fab Lab El Paso, a non-profit organization specialized as a digital fabrication and makerspace. After seeing a need to reach the area’s youth, Fab Lab created Fab Kids, a design and makerspace for 8-14 year olds. With funding they received last year, they were able to offer this program for free.
“MCAD’s continued funding and support for 2017 means we will be able to increase capacity for workshops to purchase more materials and serve more participants in our new lab at Artspace in downtown El Paso. There are many cutting-edge ideas for artistic expression that we cannot wait to share; from drone-controlled splatter painting to fluorescent protein petri dish art!” said Creative Director of Fab Lab El Paso Cathy Chen.
Funded projects range from whole seasons of events by performing arts groups to teaching artist sessions in neighborhood spaces. MCAD annually grants out approximately a quarter of its Cultural Affairs Division budget to support arts and cultural activity geared towards El Pasoans and visitors.
Last year, supported organizations, artists and projects served approximately 400,000 El Pasoans and visitors in programming across the city.
The competitive grant making process entails an application review by a panel of community members. Since overhauling the process to foster greater openness in 2007, the program has awarded a total of $3.2 million to the local artistic community and been cited as a model of transparency by the Texas Commission on the Arts.