SECA Workshop for 2021 Grant Applications

SECA Workshop
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SECA Workshop

The Special Events & Cultural Amenities (SECA) Commission held a virtual workshop today to discuss applications turned in by non-profit organizations looking for funds.

According to the SECA Program page, the SECA fund is “a separate fund used solely for the funding of social and artistic events and entities, providing cultural experiences for the Naperville community and its visitors” and comes from a 1% citywide food and beverage tax.

Commissioners reviewed, shared thoughts and opinions, and asked questions at today’s workshop. This was just a discussion. No funds have been allocated yet.

Funding requests for the upcoming year have been divided into capital projects, visual/temporary structures, performing arts, new initiatives, themed related, and special events.

Funding Requests

Some of the grant applicants for 2021 include special events like the Naperville Art League’s Riverwalk Fine Art Fair, Jaycees Last Fling, and the VFW’s Memorial Day Parade.

Organizations hoping to receive funding for their new events include West Subruban Irish for Irish Fest and Naperville Sister Cities Foundation for a Cinco De Mayo Celebration.

Naper Pride is looking for some funding for their first Naper Pride Fest and Naperville Neighbors United hopes to receive some funding for a community-wide Juneteenth event.

“We plan to bring in those in our community who are history-making to be able to share their stories, we plan to have some black history trivia, as well as cultural workshops,” said Kim White from Naperville Neighbors United during public comment.

One request that falls under capital projects – the City of Naperville is looking to bring in an art consultant. Commissioners said this person would help to create a non-bias plan and policy for public art in Naperville to help plan public art projects for the future. The art consultant would work in collaboration with community organizations, like the Naperville Century Walk, and community artists. This person would receive a consultant fee, not a salary.

Another capital project funding request was by KidsMatter for its KidsMatter Way-Finding Murals at the Van Buren Parking Deck. The project was started in 2010 but never completed.

“I have three simple goals: I’d like to complete this project from 2010. I also would like to update the existing artwork that’s there because I think that in 2010 it was reflective of who we are at that time, but today it’s no longer reflective of who we are as a community,” said Kamala Martinez, CEO & Executive Director of KidsMatter during public comment. “And then thirdly, I would like to add an art element into this project of music.”

The plan is for the music to play the fight songs of all five local high schools in District 203 and 204.

During the meeting, the commission noted there are more fine arts organizations asking for funds this year due to the effect COVID-19 has had on them.

Commission member Donna Kearney said she felt like a couple of the applications, Naper Pride’s Health & Wellness Fair and I Support Community’s Inside Out Club Weekend Event Series, might not fit under SECA. For the Inside Out Club, she said she didn’t understand the cultural element to it.

Next Steps

The next SECA Commission meeting will be held on December 2 where members will review grant applications. The commission will present their recommendations to city council for approval at a later date.

According to special events coordinator from the city clerk’s office Dawn Portner, there is currently $879,009 of funding available. She said this number could change based on the city’s needs with their COVID-19 response.

NCTV17 is partially funded by a grant from SECA.

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.


photo courtesy: City of Naperville