Art for tourists

Four big names on the Orlando arts scene divided $471,482 in cultural grants last week, the first art subsidies handed out by Orange County government.

The winners were the Orlando Museum of Art for a Monet exhibit to be shown only here and in Caen, France ($150,000); the Zora Neale Hurston Festival in Eatonville ($150,000); the Florida Film Festival ($146,282); and the Orlando International Fringe Festival ($25,300).

Last month, a selection committee narrowed grant applicants from 22 organizations. The key to the winners' success was their ability to draw tourists.

"The groups that were recommended do provide to tourists some of the more highly visible kinds of arts we have, from high art to street culture," says Terry Olson, the county's Arts and Cultural Affairs administrator.

The cultural grants came from the county's $90 million tourist-development fund, which, according to state law, must be spent to promote tourism.

Olson's agency also has $28,418 to hand out this year in "micro-grants." It's easier to get the small grants, but like the big boys, applicants must create art that will attract tourists to be eligible.

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