Longview divides grants to 8 arts groups, 29 events through September 2020

Exhibits and events this year that feature everything from local icons to season’s greetings is getting a greenback boost from last year’s guests of Longview hospitality.

The Longview City Council finalized how eight cultural arts groups and museums will share $285,000 generated in hotel/motel occupancy tax revenue during the 2018-19 fiscal year.

The groups asked for a total of $471,814 to pay for 29 events scheduled this month through Sept. 30, 2020.

The city’s Cultural Arts Advisory Commission interviewed the groups and reviewed applications before using a points-evaluation system to determine how much of the available $285,000 in tax revenue that each group would receive.

“It’s a scoring formula that they use,” Community Services Assistant Director Dietrich Johnson said.

Arts commissioners evaluate the groups based on administrative areas, the artistic value of the events, matching funds that the organizations have and the ability of the proposed events to attract tourists, he said.

The largest grant was to Longview Ballet Theatre, which is getting $57,000 for its April 3 performance of “Cinderella.” The group requested $99,000.

Longview Symphony League Inc. asked for the most money, requesting $116,425 to fund four performances including “Home for the Holidays” on Dec. 6 and “An Evening of Romance” on Feb. 16. The league was approved for a $52,000 grant.

Many of the events receiving funding are scheduled from January until May, when the city will celebrate its sesquicentennial, known as Longview 150.

The Gregg County Historical Museum, which is getting a $43,000 grant, has a Longview 150 exhibit on May 5 that is among its six events for which it requested financial aid.

Two other museum events — Portraits of Past-Black History Month on Feb. 4 and Dalton Days on April 4 — also coincide with the sesquicentennial.

Longview Museum of Fine Arts has scheduled an exhibit that will highlight one of the world’s most renowned group of high kickers.

“Kilgore Rangerettes-An Artistic Subject” begins its run in the museum April 11. It is one of four events for which the arts museum is getting $44,000 in municipal funding.

Other groups receiving cultural arts grants are the East Texas Symphonic Band, Longview World of Wonders Museum, Theatre Longview and ArtsView Children’s Theatre, which was awarded $49,000 of the $50,000 it requested.