Cultural Council to continue programming even though city ends funding

Camille Doty

Feb. 4, 2012 at 10:03 p.m.
Updated Feb. 4, 2012 at 8:05 p.m.

The executive director of the Cultural Council of Victoria says the group will remain a viable source for the arts community despite being denied city funds.

"We're going to live with what we've got," said Joe Baugh, the executive director.

The Cultural Council's mission statement is to encourage, support, and develop diverse cultural and artistic enrichment for the Victoria Community, according to its website.

The organization, which was established in the late 1970s, received part of its annual revenue from the hotel occupancy tax. Other sources of income come from corporate and individual gifts, according to the organization's website.

According to the Victoria City Council minutes of Jan. 3, the $173,800 allocated for the arts will be divided among the Victoria Symphony, Victoria Bach Festival, Theatre Victoria, Quilt Guild of Greater Victoria, Victoria Ballet Theatre, Museum of the Coastal Bend and the Victoria Regional Museum. The Cultural Council did not receive money in 2012.

For fiscal year 2010-11, the Victoria City Council allocated $26,000 to the Cultural Council during a February 2011 meeting. How much of the Cultural Council's annual budget the city provided was not available.

George Matthews, a member of the committee that reviews applications for funding, said the Cultural Council met the criteria, but none of the projects promoted tourism.

"We had to make some difficult decisions," he said.

Matthews said the Cultural Council entered all of their projects into one application.

Those interested in funds had the option to enter each project separately.

Throughout the years, the Cultural Council's hotel occupancy tax funds have been diminishing, according to Matthews.

Baugh, executive director for the past four years, said he will continue the activities already planned.

The Cultural Council's present project, the Black History Month Poster Contest, is on display at the University of Houston-Victoria in the University Center Building throughout February.

Baugh said the activity is a valuable, teachable tool. Children had to study and come up with their own concepts. The entries ranged from Harriet Tubman to Oprah Winfrey.

"They learn a great deal about African American culture that they wouldn't normally learn," he said.

Baugh said the council helps other groups that wouldn't have a platform to show their art.



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