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Boulder County Cultural Council and SCFD: Your Taxes Fund Local Arts | Community Corner



Editor’s Note: Yellow Scene’s Managing Editor, De La Vaca, is a member of the Boulder County Cultural Council and did not participate in this Community Corner.

Aleta Sherman with Howie’s Dragons. Image courtesy of Aleta Sherman.

Boulder County is so lucky to be part of the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD) seven-county tax district that helps fund over 70 organizations in Boulder County. The Boulder County Cultural Council oversees the distribution of Tier III SCFD funding, which goes to the smaller, usually Boulder-based, organizations. The Tier I and II SCFD funding goes to organizations that serve a larger geographical area, like the Denver Art Museum or the Colorado Music Festival.

What is the source of SCFD funds?

The SCFD, created within Colorado law and approved by Colorado’s General Assembly, has been renewed by voters multiple times over more than 30 years. Each county receives a share of the SCFD sales tax collected according to the amount of tax collected in each county.

What do the SCFD tax revenues fund?

In Boulder County, there are usually 70 to 80 organizations that apply for SCFD Tier III funding. These organizations offer visual, musical and performance arts, as well as science and nature, programming. Boulder has a particularly large and varied community of organizations that apply compared to some of the other counties in the SCFD. The Tier III organizations in Boulder County include the Dairy Arts Center, Frequent Flyers, Thorne Nature Experience, CenterStage, Growing Gardens and WOW! Children’s Museum.

How are the funds distributed?

In the spring of each year, the Boulder County Cultural Council reviews applications for funding from eligible organizations and makes recommendations on Boulder County’s funding priorities. Our county’s priorities, as reflected in the rubric that the council members use, are focused on providing diverse offerings to our citizens, and that the organizations and programs be accessible and appealing to all facets of the Boulder County population. The recommendations of the council are then reviewed and approved by the board of county commissioners and the SCFD Board of Directors. The funding in the last few years has had a range of $1,500 to $27,000, based on size of the organization.

What about our Boulder County Cultural Council?

The Boulder County Cultural Council (BCCC) is made up of nine volunteers who live in different parts of Boulder County. Council members adhere to the concepts of stewardship of public funds and seek to create a fair, ethical, respectful, open, and objective evaluation process for all organizations. All county cultural council meetings are open to the public.

We are one of the most diverse councils, with a near-even distribution of men and women, a wide variety of backgrounds (two professors, an engineer, a magazine editor, a potter, and so on), and ages ranging from 30 to 70. The council members are appointed by the Boulder County Commissioners and serve three-year terms, renewable twice. The current group is very thoughtful and committed and has persevered through the pandemic with all virtual meetings. As performances and venues start to loosen from COVID restrictions, council members love nothing more than attending scientific and cultural offerings around the county.

Aleta Sherman has been Chair of the BCCC for three years and on the council for six. In her career, she is an engineer focused on helping companies with process improvement and creative solutions. She grew up in Texas, has lived in Boulder County for over 20 years, now in Niwot, with her husband, daughter and pup Oliver.

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