Festival funding hasn’t kept up with event growth

By Curtis Riggs | July 9, 2008

Still $8,500 short
CAVE CREEK – While there were triple the number of entries in the Cave Creek Film and Arts Festival this year the funding for the annual arts event has not kept pace.

The transition from a Town-financed event to a non-profit status has been a relatively easy one for the film/arts festival, however, thanks to the generosity of local merchants who are beginning to view the community as a bona fide arts town.

The arts festival, which received non-profit tax status last fall, has been struggling to stand on its own two feet since then. Last year, the Town of Cave Creek provided $60,000 to make the spring/summer festival a reality. The Town had the same amount budgeted this year, but only provided half of the money because of its own budget constraints, said festival committee treasurer Ralph Mozilo.

Having to come up with $30,000 in prize money every year is one of the biggest hurdles for the festival committee. Mozilo stresses the committee is still about $8,500 short of raising enough to cover the prize money with just a week to go before the annual awards gala at Harold’s.

It typically costs about $85,000 to put on the festival every year.

“We are struggling a little bit,” Mozilo said, despite taking in $7,200 in festival entry fees because of the growth of the festival this year.

Both Mayor Vincent Francia and Festival Chairwoman Judy Bruce are delighted with the way the community has rallied around the festival even if it is still $8,500 short.

“Everybody in Cave Creek has lined up to do something,” Francia said of the 52 donations of $250 or more to this year’s festival. “I’m surprised because money has been tight all around.”

The majority of the donations came from Cave Creek businesses. Eleven businesses or individuals gave up to $5,000 this year. Nine entities contributed up to $1,000 and 32 gave up to $250.

“All Cave Creek businesses are on board because they really believe in this,” Francia said.

Bruce is “thrilled” with the way businesses have responded to the growth of the festival.

“I am surprised with how generous the local businesses have been,” she said.
The generosity of businesses and local residents are not the only ones putting the festival committee in reach of its goal.

nancy crozierCave Creek resident Nancy Crozier established a $500 annual contribution in the name of her deceased mother Bobbi Tunstall this year. She established the Bobbi Tunstall Memorial Award For Southwestern Art, which will go to the best Southwestern entry chosen this year.

Festival Chairwoman Bruce also established a $500 memorial award for her deceased mother, Patty Paxton. This memorial award will go to the second-place winner in the youth art category.

Both Crozier and Bruce hope their memorial awards encourage others to establish like donations.

“I hope it will be a catalyst to others in the community who have had a friend or family member die,” Crozier said. “I hope it serves as a challenge to others to think about next year.”

Bruce said she would like to see the establishing of memorial contributions “catch on.”
The Sonoran Arts League has established the annual $1,700 “Spirit of Cave Creek” award that will go to the entry that most exemplifies Cave Creek.

Photo caption: Cave Creek resident Nancy Crozier has established a memorial award for the Cave Creek Film and Arts Festival, in the name of her late mother, Bobbi Tunstall, in the two held pictures, a lover of Southwestern art.
Photo by Curtis Riggs