More than beer money

Bayou City Art Festival gives back to Houston, helps keep arts education alive

Bayou City Art Festival gives back to Houston, helps keep arts education alive

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Non-profits partners received generous donations from the Bayou City Art Festival for helping mobilize volunteers. Courtesy of
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Kim Stoilis (L), Bayou City Art Festival executive director, and Annelle Metoyer, Capital One Bank market president, presented the festival's non-profit partners with a $135,000 check. Courtesy of
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The 2011 Capital One Bank Bayou City Art Festival at Memorial Park may be a distant memory for art lovers, families and presenting artists. The community awaits the next carnival where a juried arsenal of creatives showcase original, imaginative works.

But for the art bacchanal's non-profit partners, the festivities are far from over. Their respective budgets just got a sizeable cash boost thanks to the festival's emphasis on collaborating with and supporting the local economy.

"It is a pleasure to be a part of the community, to give back to our community and to invest for good in our city," Annella Metoyer, Capital One Bank market president, said.

During a happy hour at Saint Arnold's Brewery co-hosted by Capital One Bank and the Art Colony Association, the festival's 501(c)(3) parent, the organizers bestowed a total of $135,000 in donations to organizations that played a sizable role in mobilizing volunteers as well as those that performed critical functions, ensuring the event's success.

"We have given $2.6 million back to local non-profits in our 40-year history," Michael Piana, Art Colony board president, said. "From its inception, the festival was meant to beautify the city and support the local economy through grass roots efforts."

Among the recipients were Art League of Houston, Bering Omega Community Services, Buffalo Bayou Partnership, City ArtWorks, Downtown YMCA, Heritage Society Houston, Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Houston Center for Photography, Lawndale Art Center, MECA, Memorial Park Conservancy, MFAH, Opera in the Heights, Orange Show Center for Visionary Art, Several Dancers Core, SNAP and SPARK.

The funds came from concession sales, entry fees, tickets to socials and the Capital One Bank title sponsorship. Festival artists retain 100 percent of their sales.

FotoFest and the Museum of Cultural Arts Houston (MOCAH) were recognized as Most Outstanding Non-profit Partners for recruiting the largest number of active volunteers through the festival's new online system, receiving an additional $2,000 award. 

"These funds will go directly to our education programs," Kristin Skarbovig, FotoFest education program manager, said. "It will enable FotoFest to subsidize teacher training programs, especially important at a time when art programs budgets are being reduced."

The recognition took on personal meaning for MOCAH's marketing and administrative director, Stacy Robinson-Newton, who met her husband of 10 years while volunteering at the festival.

"The additional award is essential for MOCAH," Robinson-Newton explained. "It will allow us to grant scholarships to students who wish to participate in our summer programs."

Bayou City Art Festival executive director Kim Stoilis couldn't stop beaming. Everyone was smiling. It's impossible to frown with cash on hand, tasty pub grub and a mug filled to the brim with Saint Arnold Summer Pils. Salut!