City Council Backs New Arts Nonprofit, Arts and Garden Show is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.

City Council hosted its first regular meeting in the new Stryker Center on Thursday. (City of Williamsburg)
City Council hosted its first regular meeting in the new Stryker Center on Thursday. (City of Williamsburg)

Williamsburg City Council has put its support behind a new arts nonprofit that aims to make an arts and garden show its signature annual fundraising event.

Praising the potential for long-term success, City Council unanimously approved a $25,000 request from the Triangle Arts and Culture League, a nonprofit with regional Arts Coordinator Terry Buntrock at its helm, during its meeting Thursday.

The $25,000 will come from the city’s tourism contingency fund, a pool of money that started at $250,000 in fiscal 2015 to support tourism programming in the city. Including the deduction for TACL, the fund now stands at $53,835.

TACL will put the $25,000 from the city toward the costs to launch an arts and garden show it hopes will be both the nonprofit’s signature event and successful enough to eventually fund itself and other arts programming in the area, making the regional arts movement less dependent on the local governments.

Much of the money TACL receives from the city will go toward developing a website and marketing efforts.

“This [type of program] is why we started this contingency fund. Also, seeing we’ve had some success with several of the things we’ve funded, we need to continue to think about a sustainable funding model to refill the contingency fund,” Councilman Scott Foster said.

TACL has also requested $25,000 from James City County; York County’s deadline for outside funding requests has already passed.

After running a pilot arts and garden show in conjunction with the Garden Club of Virginia in Williamsburg in February 2015, Buntrock and TACL estimate the not-yet-titled show, which will debut in spring 2017, will bring in $70,000 in its first year and a reliable income of $150,000 each year subsequently to be used for TACL’s overall mission of supporting arts programming in the greater Williamsburg area.

The show aims to drive up overnight visitation by offering 450 premium tickets for multiday programming. TACL has partnered with Williamsburg Lodge, Williamsburg Inn and Williamsburg Woodlands for participants’ lodging.

An economic impact study, conducted by Chmura Economics and Analytics estimates the typical arts and garden show attendee spends $1,209 on travel including overnight stay, and $72 per day when lodging is not included.

If all 450 premium tickets are sold, TACL estimates nearly $550,000 will be spent in Williamsburg over the duration of the show.

“… [B]ased upon the results from the pilot and projections for what the organizers anticipate, they will also be able to spin off enough revenue to support other arts events within the community,” Vice Mayor Paul Freiling said. “I just think that’s a tremendous leveraging of public money as a public investment along with private philanthropy and the dedication of volunteers who want to make not only the community more rich and dynamic but also contribute to the tourism aspect of what we do.”

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