San Marcos Art Council gets nonprofit funding

SAN MARCOS — The San Marcos Art Council, a nonprofit corporation recently organized for the promotion of arts in the city, received official City Council endorsement in the form of a $2,500 grant Feb. 9. The Art Council’s board includes representatives from the city’s college, school and business communities and is headed by Greg Evans, the creator of the popular comic strip “Luann.”
The grant was given in response to a request by trustee John Lauer at the last meeting. According to Lauer, they’d hoped to receive around $5,000. City Council instead granted them $2,500, about 0.5 percent of the city’s almost $500,000 art development fund.
While no one questioned on City Council had a problem with the art council per se, they all expressed misgivings about supporting it financially.
“I’d like to see the arts thrive in San Marcos, and I’d surely support it, but I don’t want to be the group handing out the money,” Mayor Jim Desmond said. “That would be too political, and I want to be at arm’s length away.” Desmond suggested a neutral third party give out grants in the future.
Councilman Mike Preston was the only vote against the motion.
“I just worry about setting the precedent that … without a lot of discussion, without a lot of information from the city attorney, we’re going to just hand out $2,500,” he said. “I think it opens the door to a lot of other groups.”
City Council agreed to take up the matter of a formal grant process at a future meeting.

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