City Council to make decision on grants

<p>The Cannon Beach Yoga Festival, financed partly by the city through the Tourism and Arts Commission, received praise for its innovation and criticism for its cost.</p>

CANNON BEACH —Cannon Beach’s Tourism and Arts Commission, which devotes a portion of the city’s lodging taxes to arts-related events intended to draw overnight visitors from more than 50 miles away, is likely to have more money to work with during the 2014-15 fiscal year than it anticipated: roughly $282,000, according to city projections.

But with eight local organizations asking for a total of $353,500 in funding requests, the commission’s members must be discerning in how they divvy up those dollars.

Earlier this month, each of those organizations made its annual pitch to the commission. Their representatives gave presentations that spoke to the organization’s goals for the coming year and why the commission should grant their funding requests.

At its May 13 meeting, the commission finalized its recommendations, totaling $277,000. The recommendations will go to the City Council, which will consider them at its June 10 work session.

A final decision, however, must be made in an official council meeting.

Arts Association

The commission was impressed by the Cannon Beach Arts Association.

“And I’m thrilled to be able to say that,” said commission member Linda Beck-Sweeney, noting that the organization seems to be on track again after a period of difficulties.

This year, the council recommended that the arts association receive $13,000 of its $14,866 request.

Chamber of Commerce

In light of the recent resignation of Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Eric Johnson, Beck-Sweeney recognized that the chamber is in a “tough spot.”

However, she felt that the organization used its funding wisely last year in its public relations and marketing efforts.

“We’ve seen real results, and they’re the only group that (is) communitywide,” she said. “They’re advertising everybody. They’re marketing everybody. And with that in mind, I would continue to support that.”

The chamber requested separate funding awards for three different projects: a year-round marketing effort to promote Cannon Beach as a tourist destination (request of $58,505); a “North Coast partnership” among the Cannon Beach Chamber, the Astoria Chamber and the Seaside Visitor’s Bureau (requested $20,000); and a website update complete with new professional photography (requested $15,000).

However, commission member Val Ryan, in attendance via speaker-phone, disagreed with Beck-Sweeney.

“We have given them, and given them, and given them, and given them,” Ryan said. “It’s not time to stop giving, but it’s just definitely time for us to pull back on that one.”

In the end, the commission recommended that the amounts be $41,000, $17,000 and $13,000, respectively.

Children’s Center

By all accounts, the fifth annual Savor Cannon Beach – a wine festival held in March, where a portion of it serves as a fundraiser for the Cannon Beach Preschool & Children’s Center – was a success.

The children’s center requested $49,800; the commission recommended $32,000.

Gallery Group

The commission’s verdict on funding the Cannon Beach Gallery Group – an organization consisting of 13 local galleries that puts on two arts festivals, Spring Unveiling and summer’s Plein Air & More – was short and sweet.

“My thought is: Give them as much money as we possibly can,” Ryan said. “They have certainly proved themselves to be successful.”

New commission member Claudia Toutain-Dorbec concurred.

“I think (the Gallery Group) really adds to what the city of Cannon Beach wants to reflect to the outside world,” she said. “It’s who we are and definitely promotes that (image) tremendously.”

The gallery group requested $45,500; the commission recommended $42,000.

History Center and Museum

Asking for significantly less money than every other organization except the arts association was the Cannon Beach History Center and Museum, which was shooting for $15,000.

Its allocation would fund the Cottage & Garden Tour, a fundraiser for the center that features a self-guided tour of approximately 10 homes and gardens in town. The event attracts more than 500 attendees.

The commission recommended that the center receive $14,000.

Coaster Theatre

The commission felt that the Coaster Theatre’s funding requests were too high for the amount of visitor dollars it brings in annually.

“It’s an institution. We’re very, very lucky to have it. I’m very proud of it, I always tell people about it,” Toutain-Dorbec said. “But when I look at how much money they’re asking (for), it gives me pause.”

The Coaster requested $66,829 for special events, marketing and public relations.

The commission recommended that the theater receive $50,000.

Friends of Haystack Rock

The Cannon Beach Yoga Festival, an event organized by Friends of Haystack Rock, is a pricey event to put on, but one that is getting stronger year after year, the commission decided.

“I think this is a well-conceived, well-executed, limited event,” Beck-Sweeney said. “It’s a totally different tone of event than anything else we do, and this last one was really successful.”

Friends of Haystack Rock requested $45,000; the commission recommended $36,000.

Tolovana Arts Committee

The Tolovana Arts Colony’s author showcase, Get Lit at the Beach: A Gathering for Readers, is an unmistakably Cannon Beach event that deserves most of the funding it requested, the commissioners said.

The arts colony requested $23,000; the commission recommended $19,000.

“Each one of these events that I’ve attended over the last couple years has really made an impression on me,” commission member Robin Risley said. “I just think it’s one of the pieces of Cannon Beach that we need to really promote.”

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