SEATTLE: In response to COVID-19’s devastating impacts on the nonprofit arts and cultural sector in Washington state’s Central Puget Sound Region, ArtsFund has announced grants to arts and cultural nonprofits totaling $4,831,100. This total includes both an early distribution of ArtsFund’s keystone annual operating support grants as well as emergency support payments from ArtsFund’s COVID-19 Arts Emergency Relief Fund.
“This is not business as usual. In a typical year, ArtsFund makes grant decisions in late June, with grant totals based on the outcomes of its annual fundraising campaign,” said Susan M. Coliton, ArtsFund Interim President & CEO, in a statement. “With the unanticipated, immediate, and devastating impacts of the pandemic on arts nonprofits, we expedited our annual grants process to meet the escalating need. We also established an Arts Emergency Relief Fund to provide emergency grants to help arts organizations maintain core functions and core staff so they are able to reopen when possible. Both of these funding efforts are central to ArtsFund’s mission to strengthen community through support of the arts.”
ArtsFund’s keystone grant making program, now in its 51st year, provides general operating support enabling grant recipients to invest the funds where needed most to advance their missions. These grants, totaling $2,191,100, are being awarded to 66 nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Washington’s King and Pierce counties.
An additional $2,640,000 in emergency relief grants, ranging from $5,000 to $75,000 each, have been distributed to 80 King County cultural nonprofits. These grants provide short-term relief in the form of unrestricted funding to arts organizations which have been particularly hard hit during this public health emergency. A second round of relief grants will be awarded soon.
ArtsFund has also announced updated data on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the nonprofit cultural sector in the Central Puget Sound region. Collected from April 6 to 20, this data comes from 90 organizations representing arts, culture, and science nonprofits, and details extensive financial, labor, and programming impacts on the region. According to the report, the projected loss of revenue for the fiscal year 2020 is between $133,245,923 and $135,340,923; 4,976 employees have been furloughed or laid off, including 638 full-time, 1,508 part-time, and 2,830 seasonal and contractual staff. In addition, 97 percent of the region’s arts, cultural, and scientific nonprofits have had to cancel programs as a result of this crisis, and 76 percent of cultural nonprofits have had to cancel fundraisers as a result of the pandemic.
“Fundamentally, ArtsFund’s purpose is to foster the health of the arts community and amplify the contributions the arts make to the health of the greater Puget Sound community,” said Anthony R. Miles, ArtsFund Board Chair, in a statement. “As we have over the past 50 years, ArtsFund will continue to evolve, pivot, and respond, as necessary, to help meet the needs of the sector and to preserve access to arts and culture for the community at large.”
Founded in 1969, ArtsFund strengthens the community by supporting the arts through leadership, advocacy, and grant making. In its 50 years, ArtsFund has supported nearly 240 arts nonprofits with nearly $89 million in grants.