The city of Dallas may pick up $22 million for the arts. The Moody Foundation in Galveston has offered $12 million to the AT&T Performing Arts Center, to help pay down its current $27 million debt. The foundation will give another $10 million to establish a grant program for small and emerging arts groups in the city. There’s a condition for that second pot of money: City council will have to agree to change the name of City Performance Hall in the Arts District to Moody Performance Hall. The city’s cultural affairs commission will discuss the matter Thursday.
Smaller arts organizations have long complained the city and donors fund larger institutions like the Performing Arts Center at their expense. But if it all works out, small groups — groups with budgets less than $1 million — will be able to apply annually for grants up to $25,000.
Jennifer Scripps, director of Dallas’ Office of Cultural Affairs, says the AT&T Performing Arts Center had been courting donors. But the city stepping up to help with the center’s debt was an important signal.
“It gave confidence to other philanthropic entities that we were all in it together, and that’s a really encouraging sign. You can give a lot of the arts groups that were very vocal credit. They were heard.”