Glossary of Administrative Terms

Review the definitions for administrative terms you may come across in a grant application from the Economic Development Department. For a full list of terms relating to your specific program, refer to the following City of Austin webpages, which also include program guidelines and other helpful information:

Types of Artistic/Cultural Enterprises

Community Based Entities: Such entities include but are not limited to culturally based organizations or groups. Community based entities could also include groups or organizations representing LGBTQIA and disability communities, nonprofits, affordable housing developments, and similar.

Creative Business: A creative business is an individual or a group whose primary activities are arts and culture based and does not have 501(c) nonprofit status.

Culturally Based Organization: An arts organization run by and for members of a specific culture, as understood by the commonly used elements of that term. An arts organization whose artistic efforts reflect a stewardship of a deeply rooted cultural heritage as reflected in the customs, traditions, language, history, art, and institutions of the represented group.

Cultural Institution: The Cultural Funding programs define this as a nonprofit organization whose primary mission is to present and produce arts and cultural activities, has a high degree of financial sustainability, has well established relationship-oriented contributions, and is seen as an indispensable part of a community. It is important to note that an organization can be an indispensable part of the community but has not received the historical financial support necessary to achieve cultural institution status as defined here. A cultural institution will have reliable and consistent access to multiple types of these hallmark attributes, including but not limited to:

  • multiple paid full-time staff, including dedicated development and marketing staff, often with access to employment benefits such as health insurance and/or paid leave
  • an endowment and/or cash reserves
  • a diversity of operating support grants
  • consistent corporate sponsorship and private donations
  • steady earned income (representing a significant percentage of the annual budget)
  • a permanent location in the form of owned property or a long term (10+ years), rent controlled lease
  • a diversity of capital campaign or physical infrastructure funds (grants, government contracts, individual, and corporate)
  • fee based membership to industry networks such as Americans for the Arts

Independent Promoter:
Must meet all of the following requirements:

  • No more than 3 employees, and
  • At least 2 years documentation showing that Applicant has curated and promoted live shows featuring musicians and bands, and
  • Must not be contractually tied to one venue.

Individual Artist Project:
Artistic work, activities, or services created/performed by an individual artist, or a collection of artists not formally organized as a group. A group of artists collaborating on a project is not necessarily considered a formally organized group.

Live Music Venue: An establishment where live music programming is the primary function of the business, or the business is a live music destination. The venue clearly establishes the ability of an artist to receive payment for work by percentage of sales, guarantee, or other mutually beneficial formal agreement for every performance. A live music venue is a destination for live music consumers and its music programming, and is the primary driver of its business as indicated by the presence of at least five (5) of the following:

  • Defined performance and audience space;
  • Mixing desk, Public Address (PA) system, and lighting rig;
  • Back line;
  • At least two (2) of the following:
    • sound engineer,
    • booker,
    • promoter,
    • stage manager, or
    • security personnel;
  • Charges cover charge through ticketing or entrance fee;
  • Promotes specific acts through show listings in printed and electronic publications;
  • Hours of operation coincide with performance times; or
  • Programs live music at least five nights per week.

Museum / Art Gallery:
Facility whose primary function and mission is to exhibit, present, or sell artistic work in a variety of media. Artwork must be produced by an artist, artist collective, or arts and culture organization and accessible by public audiences. (For the purposes of this program, this will not include City-run/owned, state-run/owned, or federally-run/owned facilities.)

Performance Venue / Theater: An establishment whose primary function and mission is to present live performances, plays, live music, film screenings, or other performances of artistic work produced by an artist, or arts and culture organization, accessible by public audiences.

Professional Musician: Must meet at least one of the following requirements:

  • At least 2 years of documentation showing that Applicant has regularly performed as a professional musician—solo or as part of a band—in live performances to public audiences, or
  • 6 released recordings (singles), or
  • 6 promotionally released music videos.

Grant Program Related Definitions

Account Holder: this is a term used by Submittable to describe the person who owns the Submittable Account, and is responsible for starting, submitting, and administering an application or grant award.

Arts and Cultural Organization: An organization that either has Federal 501(c) status or is incorporated within the State of Texas, and its primary mission is to produce, present, or promote arts and culture. Over 50% of its programming must be arts and cultural activities.

Audience Served: The general audience, community groups, neighborhoods, attendees, and individuals supported by an applicant’s proposed activities. Note about audience served: this is not the same as service to key constituencies (community groups in alignment with the City’s equity goals). Please see the definition for key constituencies for more information.

Authorizing Official: The individual who holds authorizing power over a project or grant award. This is the person who will sign a grant contract.

Capital Expenses: Money spent by a business or organization on acquiring or maintaining fixed assets such as equipment, instruments, etc.

City of Austin Council District: The City of Austin is made up of ten single-member districts. To determine where address is located, go to and click “I Want to…” then click “Find my Council District”.

City of Austin Fiscal Year: The City of Austin Fiscal Year runs from October 1st through September 30th of the following year. For example, the City of Austin Fiscal Year 2024 is October 1, 2023, through September 30, 2024.

City of Austin Musician Pay Rate: As directed in Resolution No. 20230720-123, the pay rate for musicians for live City music performances is no less than $200 per musician for groups of up to six people; $150 per musician for groups between seven and ten people; and $1500 total for groups of musicians of ten or more.

Commercial: An arts/project activity prepared, done, or acting with sole or chief emphasis on salability, profit, or success of a product or service.

Creative Collaborator/Collaborator: A creative contributor that has a share in the creative direction of the project or proposal. This term is also used to reference anyone coming in to support the main applicant in Submittable.

Creative Spaces: Commercial locations that include both for profit and nonprofit creative businesses including live music venues, recording studios, performance venues/theaters, museums, art galleries, etc.

Cultural Arts: The conscious use of skill and creative imagination, especially in the production of aesthetic objects (music, dance, theater, folk art, literature, performance art, visual art, media, etc.).

Cultural Arts Fund: City of Austin cultural funding grant fund sourced through Municipal Hotel Occupancy Tax revenues and facilitated by the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division of the Economic Development Department. The Fiscal Year 2024 grant programs funded through the Cultural Arts Fund are “Nexus”, “Elevate”, and “Thrive”.

Cultural Tourism: The use of the performing and visual arts, as well as food, festivals, architecture, and other phenomena that contribute to the cultural vitality of a city, in order to attract tourists to a specific city/geographic region.

Delinquent Status: An applicant who has failed to comply with or complete all requirements of another Economic Development Department funding program.

Earned Income: Revenue raised by selling items or services, such as admission, concessions, and space or equipment rental. Donations and grants are considered unearned income.

Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ): The unincorporated area that is contiguous to the corporate boundaries of Austin and is located within five miles of those boundaries. Use this map to determine if a location is located in Austin Full Purpose and/or Austin ETJ.

Fair Market Rate: The typical pay for a specific job in Austin. The Music and Entertainment Division’s standard rate for artistic fees is $200 per hour, per artist. See also Living Wage and Equitable Wage.

Fiscal Sponsor: A nonprofit corporation with 501(c) status that applies for financial support on behalf of another organization or individual in order to enable the latter to receive the benefits of tax-exempt status. There are several forms that Fiscal Sponsorship can take, but in every case, the Fiscal Sponsor takes responsibility for external parties that the funding will be utilized for tax-exempt, charitable purposes as defined in the Internal Revenue Code.

Grant Writer: Grant writers are hired professionals who complete grant applications on behalf of organizations or individuals to procure financial assistance. They may also assist entities with identifying grants that are appropriate for them, and structuring a plan to secure that funding.

Key Constituencies: The people deeply impacted by your work, which may include your audience, community members, and/or participating artists and administrators. These ‘key constituencies’ are identified and named by the applicant.
Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA): Austin–Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Willamson Counties. MSA Eligibility Search – Look up the home address to ensure it’s located in the Austin-Round Rock, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) via the Geocoding Mapping System.

Municipal Hotel Occupancy Taxes: As outlined in State of Texas Statute Chapter 351, municipalities are authorized to charge a tax of up to 7% on individuals staying overnight in hotels or other accommodations, which creates revenue that must be used for one of nine allowable uses, including the promotion of the arts and to “promote tourism and the convention and hotel industry.”

Non-Commercial: An activity that is not commercial as defined under Commercial under this Section.

Qualified Census Tract (QCT): A qualified census tract is a geographic area defined by the Census Bureau in which 50% of households have an income less than 60% of the Area Median Gross Income.

Sponsored Project: The individual or group that is under the umbrella of the 501(c) organization, or Fiscal Sponsor. Note: Sponsored Projects are not eligible to apply for programs that require nonprofit status, like the Thrive program and the Elevate for nonprofits grant. Sponsored Projects are only eligible to apply for Nexus or Elevate for Individuals and Creative Businesses.

Tourist: An individual who travels from the individual’s residence to a different municipality, county, state, or country for pleasure, recreation, education, or culture (Texas State Tax Code Chapter 351(p.1)).

Unearned Income Revenue: that is donated, such as grants and donor contributions.

For-Profit Business Entity Definitions

Corporation: A legal entity that is separate and distinct from its owners. Under the law, corporations possess many of the same rights and responsibilities as individuals. They can enter contracts, loan and borrow money, sue and be sued, hire employees, own assets, and pay taxes.

LLC – A Limited liability company (LLC): A business structure that offers limited liability protection and pass-through taxation. As with corporations, the LLC legally exists as a separate entity from its owners. Therefore, owners cannot typically be held personally responsible for the business debts and liabilities.

Partnership: An arrangement between two or more people to oversee business operations and share its profits and liabilities. In a general partnership company, all members share both profits and liabilities.

S-Corp – S corporations: Corporations that elect to pass corporate income, losses, deductions, and credits through to their shareholders for federal tax purposes.

Sole-Proprietorship: An enterprise owned exclusively by one natural person and in which there is no legal distinction between the owner and the business entity.

Not for Profit Business Entity Definitions

Non-profit: An organization that qualifies for tax-exempt status by the IRS because its mission and purpose are to further a social cause and provide a public benefit.

Trust: A relationship in which one person holds title to property, subject to an obligation to keep or use the property for the benefit of another.