The Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation

Art Center of Corpus Christi Free Admission & Education Development Project

Grant Information
Categories Community , Arts , Education
Location South Texas
Cycle Year 2010
Organization Information
Organization Name (provided by applicant) The Art Center of Corpus Christi
Organization Name (provided by automatic EIN validation)
Contact Information
Contact Name Jessica Thomason
Phone (361) 510-6887
100 Shoreline Boulevard
Corpus Christi
Additional Information
Used for The Art Center of Corpus Christi respectfully requests a grant for $10,000, to help with efforts to compensate for the loss of $30,000 in city funding provided to the Center annually. These funds will allow for The Art Center to offset necessary costs required to maintain its free admission policy and to offer more free (or very low cost) classes and workshops to at-risk children and groups with special needs. Funding will also allow for The Art Center to expand its Education Program Coordinator's job position from part-time to full-time, to manage increased programming to outside groups.
Benefits The Art Center's free admission policy benefits the over 160,000 artists, residents, visitors and students that walk through its doors annually. Its low cost and free classes and workshops, provide for learning opportunities to individuals of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds, who may not have exposure or access to such programming. The Art Center is a great benefit to the community as it acts as a catalyst to uplift, connect, and inspire individuals across the Coastal Bend, through the transformative power of the arts.
Proposal Description It costs The Art Center $1,200 a day to operate its beautiful, bay front facility. Its utility bill alone exceeds $50,000 a year. The Art Center prides itself on being one of the few cultural organizations in Corpus Christi and throughout the Coastal Bend that does not charge an admission fee, to offset these costs.

A grant for $10,000 from the Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation, will directly serve the over 160,000 individuals that benefit from The Art Center’s free admission policy and low cost arts education programming annually. This funding will be used to maintain The Art Center’s facility and increase the Education Program Coordinator’s job from part-time to full-time, to accommodate the many needs of the growing education program. The Art Center will approach additional foundations and individuals, to assist in reaching our goal of making up for the loss of $30,000 in city funding. By not having to rely on admission fees and tuition costs, The Art Center will be in a better position to not only maintain its open admission policy, but also expand its much-needed services to those who would most benefit from them.

The Art Center remains a bustling arts community, with a membership base that exceeds 700 and a guest register that includes over 200 addresses with zip codes from outside the area. Founded in 1972 by dedicated arts advocates, The Art Center has upheld its mission “To nurture and promote local and regional artists, and to create a welcoming environment for creative expression through offering diverse exhibitions and educational programs to ALL segments of the community.”

Over the past 38 years, The Art Center has evolved into a vibrant focus of creativity, located in the heart of Corpus Christi’s bay front district. Its facility houses 10 art groups, 5 exhibition galleries, and studio space utilized for classes and workshops. Art Center programs include a burgeoning exhibition schedule that rotates monthly, and presents up to two thousand works of art to the community each year. It is a unique institution in the Coastal Bend as it promotes a civic appreciation of the arts, while providing instruction and education for regional artists, along with a venue to exhibit their works.

Education is central to The Art Center’s mission, and an integral component in all its activities. The objective of The Art Center’s education program is to increase the awareness and understanding of the rich, cultural, and artistic resources available throughout South Texas, by offering creative, art centered programs for children, youth, adults, and groups with special needs. This is accomplished through an active schedule of classes in painting, drawing and clay, and through summer art camps, workshops, and fine art activities for field trips. In 2009/10, approximately 218 students enrolled in ongoing classes. The popular summer art camp drew in up to 200 youth, ages 7 to 14, for a six-week season of summer classes that included activities in painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking.

The Art Center’s education program has expanded to include more workshops to outside groups with special needs. In 2009/10, this outreach included a clay workshop for students at the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Center. Additional outreach was conducted by the Education Program Coordinator at the Jewish Community Center, where she presented to a group of 4th graders information on careers in the art field, and completed an interactive project on using the right side of your brain. A special workshop was also completed at the Portland Library, where twenty, 4-6 year old children completed a painting project based on Van Gogh’s famous piece, “Starry, Starry Night.” Planned outreach includes these programs, along with a painting class for 3 to 10 year olds at the “Rise School” for developmentally disabled children. Starting in the fall of 2010, the Education Program Coordinator will also coordinate field trips for the Trinity Towers Retirement Center to the Art Center’s Clay Studio for an interactive workshop titled, “Young at Heart.”

According to a 2002 study by American for the Arts, arts education has a tremendous impact on the developmental growth of every child, and has proven to help level the “learning field” across socioeconomic boundaries. The same study also concluded that arts education nurtures important values such as team building skills, respecting alternate viewpoints, appreciating and being aware of different cultures and traditions. Support to replace city funding, will allow for The Art Center to continue to instill these important values into the community it serves, by ensuring that no one is turned away from benefitting from its arts programming, due to an inability to pay.