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San Antonio City Council allocates federal COVID-19 relief dollars to the arts, migrant resources

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Texas Public Radio
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The Blue Star Arts Complex, also known as Contemporary Art for SA, showcases the work of local, national and international artists

Members of the San Antonio arts community thanked the city council on Thursday for allocating $5 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to be help local artists and arts organizations recover from the pandemic.

City officials say nearly one out of every five local professional artists lost their jobs to the pandemic.

Mary Heathcott, the executive director of the Blue Star Arts Complex, was among those to address council members in their chambers.

"While we have collectively suffered a negative impact in our city of more than $75 million as a result of losses sustained by arts and cultural organizations throughout the pandemic, we remain committed to our work, despite the historic challenges we're endured. As we know that art helps heal our communities," she said.

The Blue Star Arts Complex exhibits the work of local, national, and international artists. Others that will receive funding include Artpace Inc., the McNay, the Briscoe, Doseum, and Witte museums, the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Tobin Center, and the Woodlawn Theater.

One hundred and thirty six individual artists will share $1 million in recovery funds, while 46 non-profit arts organizations will divide $4 million among themselves. Forty percent of the artists to receive funds are musicians or musical organizations.

The council also approved $1.5 million over two years from funds under the American Rescue Plan for local organizations to assist migrants in San Antonio.

City officials say many of the migrants currently arriving in San Antonio are from Venezuela, which has endured political and economic turmoil.

The funding will be divided among American Gateway, Catholic Charities, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, and American Organization for Immigrants.

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Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at brian@tpr.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian