Community Arts Partner Funds

Our goal is to create a community network that supports and sustains the arts-rich life of every child. Austin artists and community arts organizations are vital in helping Austin ISD continue to be an arts-rich school district. Community Arts Parter (CAP) funds are designed to provide students with access to in-school or out-of-school arts-based experiences.

Looking for an arts partner to bring to your classroom or campus? To search through a comprehensive database of Austin-area community arts partners by genre, offerings, and grade level, visit the MINDPOP Matchmaker tool at Many arts partners have offered and will continue to offer virtual experiences.

Community Arts Partner (CAP) funds are located in your campus BTO under CLI-MISC.

These funds are:

  • Designed to provide students with access to on- or off-campus, arts-based experiences
  • Meant to increase students’ access to arts experiences not already provided by the campus
  • Support the goal of each student experiencing at least two arts experiences in the academic year
  • Allocated to the campuses directly to their BTO

These funds are not:

  • Designed to offset the existing budget for any purpose
  • Meant to support arts students to experience more of an arts experience that they already are experiencing
  • To be used to purchase materials (with few exceptions that must be approved by the CLI department prior to any vendor agreement)

Please contact your campus bookkeeper for specific funds and allocation details. The next section contains more detailed information about these funds.

How to Access Community Arts Partnership Funding

There are four major steps to accessing your campus’s Community Arts Partner Funding:

  1. Plan Your Experiences For the Semester (both CLI-funded and campus-funded).
  2. Submit your Chart of Expenditures.
  3. Enter RQs and Transportation Requests. (Note: Step 4 may have to be done before Step 3.)
  4. Submit Budget Change Request.
  5. Submit Invoices.

Detailed directions for each step are listed below, though these primarily apply to bookkeepers. CLI campus bookkeepers: We have a CLI Bookkeeper Training BLEND course that you should have been added to. Please check your list of BLEND courses and contact Lydia Nelson at to be added to it.

Step 1: Plan Your Experiences

Identify the arts partnerships that you would like your students to experience this semester. This includes both CLI-funded and non-CLI-funded arts experiences. To discover community arts partners that meet your unique needs, visit MINDPOP Matchmaker. You can also find vendors on the AISD Fine Arts approved arts vendors list.

Though funding is allocated per student, it does not have to be spent per student. Austin ISD’s goal in making campuses arts-rich is that each grade level should experience two arts partnerships. This funding should be used as a resource to meet that goal.

A few past examples include: taking your students to see a play at a local theatre; bringing a community arts partner to your campus to provide a workshop for students; facilitating a collaboration between a local artist or community arts partner and your students to design and create a new mural at your school.

Important note: Unless the arts partner is new to working in AISD, to receive compensation, all partners must be approved vendors with the district. If a partner has never worked in the district before, campuses can submit a one-time, single-service agreement for the semester. Please direct all inquiries about contracts or service agreements to Veronica Salazar at (Contracts and Procurement Office).

Community Arts Partner (CAP) Funds cannot be used to:

  • Purchase classroom art supplies;
  • Purchase food for events;
  • Pay for subs for events;
  • Go on field trips that are not Fine Arts experiences (e.g., The Thinkery, Alamo Drafthouse, IMAX movies, the Capitol).

Reminder: Please be aware of the district policy when planning your event.

  • If your students are traveling off-campus, please adhere to district policy on purchasing tickets (e.g., P-card, PO, etc.).
  • If you’re bringing a local artist or a community arts partner on-campus, please ensure that they are an approved vendor with a valid agreement in place and submit a purchase requisition at least three weeks before the scheduled activity begins.
  • The Creative Learning Initiative is neither responsible for the execution of individual service agreements between community arts partners and individual campuses, nor for the entering of RQs. This all must be done by the campus.

Step 2: Submit Your Chart of Expenditures

Principals and bookkeepers will work with teachers to chart how their school plans to use their allotted CLI funds for the semester, including off-campus, on-campus, and transportation needs. They will also plan any campus-funded arts experiences. (This process will help with the campus arts inventories at the end of the year!)

Bookkeepers must submit these plans via a Chart of Expenditures (template in bookkeeper BLEND course) to Lydia Nelson for approval well in advance of the arts partnership, and must receive CLI department approval before proceeding with purchase requisitions. Please make sure the completed chart has your principal’s signature prior to submitting to CLI for approval.

  • For fall 2022 arts partnerships, the Chart of Expenditures must be submitted for approval by Tuesday November 1st.
  • If there are vendors or events that we have questions about, we will contact you directly.
  • If there is an event that will not be approved for use of CLI funds, we will notify you.
  • Once you receive a complete approval for your planned experiences, bookkeepers can begin the next step.

In March 2023, CAP funds at any CLI school that have not been allocated to a specific experience will be placed into a “pot” where all CLI schools can apply to use these additional funds.

Step 3: Enter RQs and Transportation Requests

At this point, you have submitted your Chart of Expenditures and received approval for your planned events. Now you can proceed with the booking and paperwork process for each of your events.

Booking and Paperwork

Purchasing tickets with PCard for approved vendors:

  • Make purchase with PCard.
  • Reconcile with CLI funding account number 199 [ORG]11Y11.00LJ 6499

For approved vendors with an AISD contract in place:

  • Submit a requisition for the vendor.

For approved vendors that do not have an AISD contract (need a single service agreement):

  • Complete a single service agreement and submit to the Contracts & Procurement Department for approval.
  • Submit requisition for the vendor.

Transportation Requests

If your experience requires transportation, a portion of the allocated funding can be applied towards an AISD Bus.

  • Sign in to Web Trips and enter the request as a regular field trip.  (Do not go through the approval path. Note: special training is required to use Web Trips. Contact the AISD Transportation department for more information).
  • Enter your trip details and DO NOT enter your funding number here. 
  • In Trip Comments enter: “Bill to CLI funds” and your funding number using this template: 199 [ORG]11Y11.00LJ 6494

Note: The Creative Learning Initiative office does not directly pay for individual campus experiences. All paperwork and payments must go through the campus bookkeeper. It is the responsibility of the campus to make timely and appropriate arrangements for student transportation. Late requests (within 10 days) will not be approved for the use of CLI funds.

Step 4: Submit Budget Change Request

After your Chart of Expenditures has been approved, and you have purchased tickets and/or submitted RQs, you will need to submit a Budget Change Request (BCR) to move funding into the appropriate 00LJ accounts to cover your experiences. The BCR will be completed by the campus bookkeeper and submitted directly to your assigned campus budget representative. You can find the BCR and instructions on how to complete it here.  Please direct any questions about the BCR to your budget representative.

  • Funds requested for tickets will go to 199 [ORG]11Y11.00LJ 6499
  • Funds requested for Contracted Services will go to 199 [ORG]11Y11.00LJ 6298
  • Funds requested for Transportation will go to 199 [ORG]11Y11.00LJ 6494

The Creative Learning Initiative office does not directly pay for individual campus experiences. Funds start in the campus account. All paperwork and payments must go through the campus bookkeeper.

Step 5: Submit Invoices

At the end of each semester, bookkeepers will email copies of all invoices to Lydia Nelson at

  • Scan all invoices for the semester, fall or spring, into one PDF.
  • Email one PDF to Lydia Nelson (Please create a new email with the subject line: Campus Name – Spring or Fall – CLI Invoices).

Important note: Any expenditure that does not have an invoice or was not approved by the CLI Department will be changed to charge a campus account number.

If you have any questions about arts partnerships, please contact:
Lydia Nelson at


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