May 19 2014 06:37 PM

Arts nonprofit works to keep its programming alive after losing its major funding source

April Game, with artists Mario Torero (left) and Victor Ochoa

Since Art Pulse hit the scene in 2007, the nonprofit seems to have a hand in just about everything.

Executive Director April Game and her team of contractors operate Pulse Gallery at Bread & Salt, which hosts visual-art exhibitions. They run a mentor program that provides career training for local artists. And then there are the media outlets: Culture Buzz, an online website that runs art reviews by the likes of former U-T San Diego arts critic Robert Pincus; Snorkl, a regional arts-events website and email newsletter; and Art Pulse TV, an arts-focused television program that started online in 2009 and aired briefly on NBC 7 San Diego last year (a program to which I once contributed).

In 2012, Art Pulse even came close to purchasing the Encinitas Union School District's Pacific View Elementary site for more than $7 million in hopes of turning it into an arts center, but zoning issues caused the deal to fall through.

Game says that Art Pulse has been scaling back significantly since late last year, noting that Henry Moon the organization's co-founder and main funding source, has had to dramatically and suddenly cut his contributions.

"It's the same old story for nonprofits," Game says. "We're being forced into maturity before we're ready."

Art Pulse TV aired its last episode in December. The show, which Game estimates cost roughly $6,000 weekly, was never able to pick up enough financial support.

"It's sad," she says, maintaining that the show is on hiatus and could return if funding is found. "We were just nominated for four regional Emmys. The quality is there, but we didn't get the sponsorships."

Art Pulse's mentor program didn't receive enough applications that met the criteria this year, so it, too, is on hiatus.

"Culture Buzz is thin but alive," Game says, indicating that Snorkl will continue with a few cuts, as well.

To keep the organization afloat, Game says she'll pursue grant opportunities this summer and is actively fundraising.

One of Art Pulse's main objectives with its arts-advocacy programming has been the creation of a countywide arts council that would act similarly to the city of San Diego's Commission for Arts and Culture, but with a countywide focus. At one time, Game thought Art Pulse could be that entity, but now she says she has hope that a county Board of Supervisors initiative called Live Well San Diego could eventually result in the creation of a new agency for the arts.

"After four years of talking about this, we finally do have warmth from our Board of Supervisors," Game says. "The good news in all of this is there's momentum toward what we've always wanted."

*In a previous version of this article, we indicated that funding shortages caused the deal between Art Pulse and the Encinitas Union School District to fall through. In fact, it was zoning issues. We apologize for the mistake. 

Write to and follow Kinsee on Facebook or Twitter 


See all events on Wednesday, Dec 7