SOLANA BEACH — As they have done for the past few years, council members turned to a citizens group to fulfill a funding request from North Coast Repertory Theatre, bringing to 13 the number of organizations to receive money from this year’s Community Grant Program.
One of 18 groups seeking financial assistance during the application process late last year, NCRT submitted a request for $5,000 to underwrite the student production of “Aladdin Jr.” as part of its Art with a Heart literacy outreach program.
Because of limited funding, not all organizations were allocated money when the grants were awarded in December.
Council members asked staff to look into using the Public Arts Commission reserve public art account to fulfill the NCRT request, something that has been done successfully since 2012.
According to its application, the theater school is planning to collaborate with local schools to include an educational component designed to help meet visual and performing arts, common core and STEAM, or science, technology, education, arts and math, goals.
The aim of the project is to build on two themes in the show — Be Yourself and Freedom is Everything. Discussions beyond the production are designed to bring awareness to the plight of girls around the world fighting for an education.
At its Jan. 27 meeting the Public Arts Commission, with Chairman Allen Moffson recused because of his involvement with NCRT, approved the recommendation to allocate $5,000 for the project.
City Manager David Ott said there is approximately $100,000 available in the reserve public art account, which is primarily funded through the transient occupancy tax paid by hotel visitors.
According to the staff report the money can “be used to provide Solana Beach a rich artistic environment.”
“We may just have to be careful of establishing this as a long-term pattern,” Councilman Dave Zito said. “But I think right now we have plenty of money, and it’s a good thing and it’s a good use for the funds.”
“It’s good that they’re spending the money because that’s what it’s there for,” Councilman Mike Nichols added. “To keep a fund balance around ($100,000) is pretty darn good.”
The grant program was established in 2004 with $5,000 each from Coast Waste Management and EDCO Waste and Recycling Services, the city’s two waste haulers, and $15,000 from the city.
The program provides funding to nonprofit, nongovernmental groups and civic or youth organizations serving Solana Beach and its residents.
This year marked the largest number of applications that have been submitted since 2009.