I’ve been having these ongoing talks with the San Antonio River Authority for maybe two months. It was a bit confusing at first. There’s the San Antonio River Foundation, which is the non-profit arm of SARA (San Antonio River Authority), and it was through them that I first began interacting. This is because I have a friend who works for the Foundation. This is how these things usually begin. You know someone who knows someone.
My first plan was to find out how I might gain access to a portion of the river down by Mission Espada to mount a performance work with projection and dancers. I was gently steered towards using a plot of land which is slated to become Confluence Park (near the Mitchell Street bridge). I was a bit hesitant, but the more I learned, the more interesting the possibilities became.
The larger event with be called something like The River Fest. I’m not sure the full name has been worked out. It will begin at noon and last until nine at night. There will be art, and arts education projects. There will be food trucks. Bands. And when the sun sets, the project I am working on will be presented. I believe I gave some sort of vague working title such as “River: Giver of Life.” I have a basic idea of how I want the work to unfold. Now I need to reach out to the choreographers I have in mind. Shoot and edit several sequences. And through an equitable and, I hope, fun collaborative process, give shape to the whole piece. It will be a Jump-Start-At-Large performance art piece.
They have a good team at the River Authority/Foundation, who are planning some wonderful events to engage the public, with an emphasis on environmental responsibility.
I had a good meeting yesterday with the River Authority and I feel that things are well on track for a great event. The Confluence Park festival will be September 13.
The other thing that has been dominating my time lately is grant writing. The San Antonio Department for Culture and Creative Development provides city funding to non-profit arts organizations. The process has changed dramatically this year. All of the organizations who have enjoyed previous funding will take a major hit. The funding amounts will be cut. And the percent of the grants which recipients are awarded will need to be matched by a greater percentage than ever before. So, I have been putting in long hours with other members of Jump-Start to get this massive grant in before the deadline. A wise decision, because it seems that the website where all of the grant language and support files to be uploaded is buggy and quite inelegant. After fighting with the website last night for several hours, I’ve finally concluded that it’s a bit more stable than I initially thought, but it’s still a fucking mess. (There’s an added problem that some of the other arts organizations have been, unintentionally, spreading misinformation. I need to stop listening to this sort of hearsay, because I keep forgetting how appallingly technologically illiterate are so many arts administrators). Anyway, the deadline is, I believe, Friday. Jump-Start’s self-imposed deadline was supposed to have been last night. If we get all this submitted today (which is the current plan), we will be well ahead of the curve.
And then the wait begins.
I’m not the only one in the organization who is nervous. Because we have moved to a much smaller space, and because of a few other challenges, we will be requiring a smaller amount of funding this year from the city than we have requested in perhaps over a decade. But the truth is, we really need every penny we’re asking for. There is no guarantee we will get the full requested amount (or, well, anything—though this, I have been told, is very unlikely). It’s frustrating to me because in spite of recent challenges, we have presented a large amount of programming, including quite a few events which we have added to our season in addition to our original proposed performance plan presented for the previous funding cycle.
Okay. This coffee cup is empty. Time to head over to the studio and see if we can’t get that grant finished.