Beyond our borders

City restarts popular program turning Austin creatives into ambassadors

City restarts program turning Austin creatives into ambassadors

Octopus Project Sound on Sound
Local creatives can now apply for a city stipend to travel. Photo by Daniel Cavazos

In 2014, the City of Austin pressed pause on a popular program for local creatives. On September 27, nearly four years later, the city announced it's restarting the Creative Ambassadors Program, adding much needed support in a time of uncertainty for local artists. 

The ambassadors program targets Austin artists (the definition of which is broad, and may include musicians; visual artists; filmmakers; performing artists; and Austin-based individual artists and arts organizations) who are traveling outside of Texas in support of their work.

Those interested in becoming a creative ambassador must submit an application beginning October 1 through December 1. After going through a selection process by committee, Creative Ambassadors will receive an official city designation and a small $1,000 stipend for their travel. In total, 10 artists will be elected for the year.

In a time of increasing uncertainty for area artists — because of both living costs and the general conversation around Austin's culture — commitments like these, however small, are increasingly important.

“This initiative opens new avenues of dialogue between Austin and markets worldwide, and increases the international presence and reputation of our local artists," said Meghan Wells, manager of the Cultural Arts Division, in a September 27 release. 

Grants like these can be a particular boon to touring Austin musicians, a sentiment echoed by Erica Shamaly, the City of Austin's manager of music and entertainment. "This collaboration provid[es] capacity for our artists to share their art with the widest audience possible, while fostering new networks with other cities around the world," she said in a release. 

Being a Creative Ambassador does require doing ambassador-ish things, like meeting with government or arts agencies and visiting with national and international delegations when they're in Austin.

To learn the full list of requirements, and to apply, head to the city's Creative Ambassadors Program website.