Thanks to $16,000 awarded to URBAN-15 by the Texas Commission on the Arts, the San Antonio-based nonprofit arts organization will be able to continue offering critical programming in 2015—including free after-school drum classes at a school for the deaf and drum and dance classes for low-income Southside students. The three grants totaling $16,000 come at an important time for the communities URBAN-15 serves, said Catharine Cisneros, the nonprofit’s artistic director.
“It seems that during difficult times, families seek out the stability that the arts provide,” Cisneros said. “We see a rise in attendance and registration as parents see the value of arts disciplines and activities in the development of their children.”
The TCA awarded a total of 875 grants in its first funding round for fiscal year 2015. The grants total $4.5 million and will go to nonprofits and units of government in 115 cities. These grants include all of the Arts Create program grants, the first of two funding rounds for the Arts Respond Project program, the quarterly Arts Respond Performance Support program, and the quarterly Commission Initiatives and Designated Funding category.
“We are pleased to be able to provide support for so many quality arts activities across the state,” said Gary Gibbs, executive director of TCA. “The substantial work that our grantees are doing not only advances the arts in Texas, but provides valuable art experiences to Texans in rural communities, schools, hospitals, social service settings, and more.”
URBAN-15’s programming at Sunshine Cottage School for Deaf Children began in 2010 with the support of the City of San Antonio’s Office of Cultural Affairs’ Educational Initiative. The TCA grant of $3,500 will allow the organization to continue offering “Radiant Beams,” now an established after-school percussion ensemble in which instructors integrate vocal, percussion, and movement using rhythms of Cuban son, reggae, samba, funk and rock.
A second grant of $1,500 will allow the group to continue free classes at New Frontiers Charter School, while a third grant of $11,000 is dedicated toward operational support for the full range of URBAN-15’s ongoing cultural enrichment programs.
“One of the most significant arts program ever seen in San Antonio was in the 1930’s during the Great Depression when the WPA program brought hope, jobs, and inspiration,” Cisneros said, stressing the importance of government support for the arts. “The WPA was responsible for the construction of the River Walk, the Arneson Theater, The Sunken Gardens and Theater, the Main Post Office and restoration at all the five missions including the Alamo.”