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story.lead_photo.caption Runners take off from the start in the Spa Running Festival's 10k on Convention Boulevard on Nov. 17, 2018. The Arkansas Spa Pacers Association has requested $7,000 in advertising grant funding from the Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission. - File photo by Richard Rasmussen of The Sentinel-Record

The Hot Springs Advertising and Promotion Commission will vote on seven requests for advertising assistance grants at its February meeting.

Organizations that applied include Low Key Arts, the Arkansas Highlands Folk Project, the Arkansas Spa Pacers Association, the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival and the Hot Springs Jazz Society.

The organizations' grant funding requests total $26,700.

Visit Hot Springs CEO Steve Arrison said around $25,000 is budgeted annually for grants to local events for advertising purposes. The events are ones the commission believes will bring visitors into the community.

Some years, every event that applies for a grant receives funding, while in other years only some of the events that apply receive one. Arrison said the commission aims to increase advertising for both new events and recurring events.

Although all grant award decisions are made by the commission, Arrison said that he, personally, looks at how many visitors the event would bring to town, and how many room nights it would generate for local lodging businesses.

Sonny Kay submitted three applications on behalf of Low Key Arts. The nonprofit organization is requesting a total of $10,500 in grant funding.

For the Valley of the Vapors Independent Music Festival, set for March 20-23 at Low Key Arts, the organization is requesting $2,000 in grant funding.

"Valley of the Vapors is one of five major programs we produce annually," the application reads. " ... Our audience is largely from outside of Hot Springs and require food, lodging and supplies while here; the impact is considerable."

According to the application, the event anticipates drawing an estimated 1,000 visitors from outside Garland County and 200 from outside Arkansas. The estimated number of lodging rooms used during the event is 51 to 200.

For its Hot Water Hills Music and Arts Festival, set for Oct. 2-3 at Hill Wheatley Plaza, the organization is requesting $7,500 in grant funding.

"Hot Water Hills is one of five major programs we produce annually, and is our most visible," the application reads. "In its nine-year existence, it has provided locals and tourists alike with the opportunity for a fun, culturally diverse and unforgettable experience in downtown Hot Springs."

According to the application, the event anticipates drawing an estimated 1,500 visitors from outside Garland County, and 1,000 from outside Arkansas. The estimated number of lodging rooms used during the event is 101 to 150.

For its Arkansas Shorts: A Night of Short Film event proposed for Jan. 2, 2021, at the Malco Theatre, the organization is requesting $1,000 in grant funding.

"Arkansas Shorts is one of five major programs we produce annually and the only dedicated short film festival in Arkansas," the application reads.

According to the application, the event anticipates drawing an estimated 250 visitors from outside Garland County, and 50 from outside of Arkansas. The estimated number of lodging rooms used during the event is 26 to 50.

Charles Moore, a former member of the commission, submitted an application on behalf of the Arkansas Highlands Folk Project, in partnership with Low Key Arts, that has a proposed date of March 31 in the Garland County Library auditorium. The nonprofit organization has requested $1,200 in grant funding.

"The AHFP is a collaboration of the GC Library, Hot Springs Area Cultural Alliance, Low Key Arts and YMCA to introduce the Old Time Music genre and culture that has been overlooked in the Ouachita Mountains," the application reads. " ... The public and media interest in this project may indicate the potential for more related events ... that would generate more overnight stays and dining."

According to the application, the event anticipates drawing an estimated 20 visitors from outside of Garland County short-term, and 1,000 long-term, with four visitors from outside of Arkansas short-term, and 200 long-term. The estimated number of lodging rooms used during the event is "few" short-term and "many" long term.

Cindy Baswell submitted an application on behalf of the Arkansas Spa Pacers Association for the Spa Running Festival that is set for Nov. 13-14 at 134 Convention Blvd. The nonprofit organization has requested $7,000 in grant funding.

The family friendly road running event consists of a half-marathon, 10K, 5K and a 1K.

"The Spa Pacers continue to maintain a strong presence in the Hot Springs community," the application reads. "At year-end our club membership was 222 with 55 new members. ... The Spa Pacers welcome runners/walkers of all ages and ability, even out of town runners visiting Hot Springs, to any of their organized group runs that occur during the week and on Saturdays."

According to the application, the event estimates, based on its 2019 registrations, drawing 1,292 visitors from outside of Garland County and 243 from outside Arkansas. The estimated number of lodging rooms used during the event is 151 to 250.

"This growing group of runners supports the many businesses downtown, restaurants and retail shops, and are great advocates for promoting the historic downtown to friends, family and acquaintances," the application reads.

Jennifer Gerber submitted an application on behalf of the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival that will be held Oct. 9-17 at the Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa. The nonprofit organization has requested $5,000 in grant funding.

"This October, the Hot Springs Documentary Film Festival will be celebrating its 29th year, maintaining our tenure as the longest-running all-documentary festival in North America," the application reads. "Bringing creative and varied voices to underrepresented communities is our passion, and joining forces with organizations such as Visit Hot Springs allows us to inspire our community and empower the next generation of storytellers from the Natural State."

According to the application, the event estimates drawing 4,500 visitors from outside Garland County and 5,000 from outside Arkansas. The estimated number of lodging rooms used during the event is more than 250.

"Every October, this nine-day event takes over the town of Hot Springs," the application reads. In 2019, the Arlington "booked over 640 rooms. A significant number of rooms were also booked at Embassy Suites and Hotel Hot Springs and The Waters Hotel."

Gretchen Taylor submitted an application on behalf of the Hot Springs Jazz Society for the Hot Springs JazzFest, which is set for Sept. 3-6 in the Broadway Entertainment District downtown. The nonprofit organization has requested $3,000 in grant funding.

"This grant has a significant impact on the organization's ability to promote the jazz genre in our community through the annual JazzFest," the application reads. "As a small volunteer-run organization, it is important to keep within the fiscal means of the organization in order to present the JazzFest programs as free or reasonably priced."

JazzFest concerts will range from free to $35.

"In 2020, the Jazz Society and Blues Society are joining their Saturday outdoor concerts under one name to create a day of music in downtown Hot Springs," the application reads. "This will increase tourism to Hot Springs and its merchants over the holiday weekend while condensing efforts for advertising and other related expenses."

According to the application, the event estimates that 44% of its visitors will be from outside Garland County and 20% will be from outside Arkansas. The estimated number of lodging rooms used during the event is 10 to 25.

The commission will meet at 3 p.m. Feb. 24 in the Hot Springs Convention Center.

Local on 02/13/2020

Print Headline: Ad commission to dole out grants for event advertising

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