The Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Division and the Santa Monica Arts Commission have created a transportation grant program to enhance the lives of Santa Monica residents by providing them with increased access to arts and cultural activities available throughout Los Angeles County.

In order to meet that goal while at that same time reducing traffic and fuel emissions, Los Angeles County Proposition A Local Return Funds are made available by the City of Santa Monica for schools and community groups to use buses and other public transit methods to attend cultural activities and special events and to visit cultural and arts destinations.

ELIGIBILITY — The funds are to be used for public transit purposes “that will sustain or improve access to public transit services by the general public or those requiring special public transit assistance.”

Santa Monica Arts and Cultural Transportation Funds may only be used for transportation to bring Santa Monica residents to arts destinations such as art museums, galleries, artists’ studios, theatres and performing arts venues.

This support is available to any Santa Monica-based public school or nonprofit organization wishing to expand its arts education programming.

All destinations must comply with Americans With Disabilities Act accessibility requirements.

Eligible expenditures are for transportation only. Funds cannot be used for admissions, lunches or other non-transportation- related expenses.

Grantees may use a private bus, Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District buses, the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus or other methods of public transportation.

Funding is available for excursions taking place through June 1st.

APPLICATION PROCESS — Applications should be completed (must include an estimate of transportation costs) and submitted to Santa Monica’s Cultural Affairs Division by 5 p.m. Wednesday, November 15th.

Groups are encouraged to visit venues in which curators, artists, lectures or other interactive activities are available.

All applications will be reviewed by city staff to determine eligibility and to ensure that the excursions meet with the city’s funding criteria, with special efforts made to distribute grant funding throughout the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District.

The city encourages applicants to partner with other related groups in the same grade or age range or with the same interests or needs.

All proposals should serve the largest possible number of participants. Applicants must demonstrate that all efforts are made to maximize the use of this funding.

For example, most buses seat 60 people. Therefore, a group of 25 must partner with another group in order to fill the bus.

PUBLIC NOTICE OF TRIP AVAILABILITY — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) requires that this transportation service be made available to all members of the general public and not restricted to a specific group or program.

Therefore, participation in funded excursions must be open to all individuals within the group represented.

As an example, if a third-grade classroom is traveling to the Getty Museum, the trip must be available to any third-grader within the City of Santa Monica.

To that end, the Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Division will be listing all approved grants with contact information on its Web site.

This will make it possible for the parent of a third-grader at another school to contact the trip coordinator to see if there is room for their child to also participate in the funded activity.

INVOICING PROCESS — Final reports and invoices must be submitted and include destination, number of riders, and group(s) served.

Invoicing must be made prior to June 15th in order to receive funding. Invoices submitted after that time will not be honored.

A copy of the invoice and final report form will be sent to grant recipients with their notification letter.

Questions or additional information, Hamp Simmons, Santa Monica Cultural Affairs Division, or (310) 458-8350.