Santa Clara approves funding for Shakespeare in the Park production company

The Santa Clara City Council discusses allocation of RAP tax funding, Santa Clara, Utah, June 26, 2019 | Photo by Ryann Richardson, St. George News

SANTA CLARA — A local nonprofit production company received approval Wednesday for $10,000 in Recreational, Arts, and Parks from Santa Clara City Council.

RAP funding is supported by a portion of sales and use taxes. HAM Productions is a nonprofit arts entity founded in 2018 that is responsible for the Santa Clara City Shakespeare in the Park event in April.

City Council awarded HAM Productions $6,000 in 2018 to organize the first Shakespeare in the Park event. The council also stated an additional $2,000 would be allocated if the funds were available by the end of the 2019 fiscal year. Washington County later awarded the nonprofit $7,000 and co-founder Heidi Lee and her husband raised over $4,000 to cover additional expenses.

Lee returned to the City Council Wednesday to request $10,000 for the second annual event to be hosted in 2020.

Councilman Herb Basso expressed his concern regarding the sharp increase in requested funds. The 2019 event was budgeted to cost HAM Productions $14,900, but Lee said this year’s production is expected to cost $22,250.

This increase in cost is largely due to a lack of storage space for props and set pieces during the off-season and during the event itself. Expenses also encompass props and set design, portable bathrooms and electrical equipment. Lee said during last year’s event, there was a storage shed the production was able to use, but the shed will not be available during the 2020 event.

Basso also conveyed hesitancy to fund the event for a second year in fear of the funding becoming an expectation. Basso said he would like to see the organization behind the event stand on its own.

Lee said the nonprofit does receive additional RAP tax funding at the county level, but private donations make up only a small portion of the funds. HAM Productions was also able to cut costs by borrowing equipment from local professionals and other theaters.

“To put a show of that caliber on outside, the costs are kind of big,” Lee said.

The city received two applications requesting RAP tax funds for the arts. The other applicant, Susie Neilson from the Santa Clara Historical Society, requested and was awarded $2,500.

Santa Clara was allotted over $91,000 in RAP tax funds for the 2020 fiscal year and expects to receive another $8,000 in the future. The council voted in a previous meeting to award 80% of these funds to parks and reserve 20% for arts.

The city is in the midst of a 10-year commitment to provide $5,000 in RAP tax funds to Tuachan Center for the Arts. The Santa Clara Princess Pageant was also awarded $1,300, and the Glockenspiel was awarded $700 for fees and maintenance.

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