Economy puts Red Hot Art in danger

Spring arts festival relied on foundation support

STEVENS SQUARE — The arts have not fared well in the down economy, and now Red Hot Art is the latest arts program facing a serious financial shortfall.

With foundation grants drying up, the annual spring arts festival in Stevens Square Park is far behind its fundraising goal, said Steven Gallagher, executive director of the Stevens Square Community Organization (SSCO).

Gallagher said park rental fees, food service, advertising and other costs for the festival amount to about $12,000–15,000 per year. In the past, grants from foundations covered about 85 percent of total costs, he said.

As of December, SSCO had only $3,000 set aside for Red Hot Art.

“This year, in a month’s time I wrote 38 grants to get some funding and nothing came through,” Gallagher said, adding that grants were scarcer than they’d ever been in his experience.

SSCO would need firm funding commitments by February to avoid canceling the festival, Gallagher said.

Red Hot Art has taken place on the first weekend in June every year since 2002. The SSCO acts as fiscal agent for the festival, which receives volunteer support from the Stevens Square Center for the Arts.

For more information on Red Hot Art, visit the festival’s website.