Solstice Funds Withheld

The Santa Barbara Arts Commission reaffirmed its decision to withhold a $15,000 grant that’s gone to the Summer Solstice parade for the past 25 years, despite clear instructions from the City Council’s Finance Committee to do otherwise. Earlier this year, the Santa Barbara Arts Commission decided not to provide Solstice any money via its competitive grants category, arguing that Solstice already received a $45,000 line item grant from City Hall and that there was nothing in the competitive grant application to show the money would be spent on anything different than preparing for the parade. (In fact, the $15,000 traditionally funded artists’ workshops.) Three weeks ago, the Finance Committee voted 2-1 to have the Arts Commission reconsider, but last week the commissioners stood by the initial decision to deny Solstice the grant money. They contended that Solstice director Claudia Bratton had been warned that her grant application must reflect the different functions underwritten by the two separate grants and that it was unfair to other grant recipients to lose out because she failed to follow protocol. When the matter goes back to the Finance Committee in October, the discussion could be testy. Councilmember Iya Falcone-running for mayor next year-argued Solstice should get some money because the grant helped to teach artistic and social skills to at-risk youth. Councilmember Helene Schneider, also running for mayor, countered that it was bad process and unfair to other recipients to award money to Solstice after-the-fact.

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