ArtsFund and Commerce Distribute Millions in Arts-Focused Funding

This week, 586 arts, cultural, science, and heritage nonprofits across Washington will be receiving relief checks totaling $9,102,500 from ArtsFund thanks to a new partnership with the Washington State Department of Commerce. This is the first time a government agency has worked with ArtsFund to administer a grant program. ArtsFund was pleased to partner with Commerce to ensure the Nonprofit Community Recovery (NCR) grant program centered around arts and cultural nonprofits as the sector works to recover from profound pandemic impacts.

In total, $10,780,000 million in grants was distributed, providing critical COVID-19 pandemic recovery relief to 702 nonprofits across Washington state. In addition to arts, cultural, heritage, and science organizations, neighborhood associations, sports and recreation nonprofits, and veterans organizations impacted by the pandemic were also funded. Over 70% of the awardees reported pre-pandemic budgets under $500,000.

The NCR program enabled ArtsFund to expand our reach to 34 of 39 counties across Washington. NCR grants met over 91% of the recipients’ requested amount of funding.  A twelve-person panel of statewide sector representatives reviewed the applications and approved the awards.

Over 90% of all recipients expect their post-pandemic earned revenue to be reduced by more than 30%. Samples listed below reflect the depth and breadth these awards will have on the communities they serve:

Children’s Museum of Walla Walla (Walla Walla County) provides visitors of all ages and cultural backgrounds the opportunity to learn, explore and imagine through interactive play.

Deaf Spotlight (King County) inspires and showcases Deaf Culture and Sign Languages through the arts.

Delridge Neighborhoods Development Association (King County) integrates Art, Nature, and Neighborhood to build and sustain a dynamic Delridge.

Edmonds Center for the Arts (Snohomish County) celebrates the performing arts, strengthens and inspires their community and stewards the development and creative use of the ECA campus.

Haida Roots (King County) preserves the endangered Haida language, connects community members living in the Seattle area to the Haida culture and language, and supports the creative evolution of new indigenous music, art, and books.

Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture (Spokane County) engages audiences in the appreciation of art, history and culture of the Inland Northwest through collection stewardship, exhibitions and programs that educate, enrich and inspire.

Orquesta Northwest (King County) enhances community life by providing inclusive Latino arts and culture programs, projects, and events that build intercultural understanding, promote equity and diversity, encourage civic engagement, and strengthen the voice of the marginalized Latino community.

Port Gamble S’Klallam Foundation (Kitsap County) improves the quality of life for Port Gamble S’Klallam tribal members while increasing the understanding of the Tribe’s rich cultural heritage with people who reside in the Puget Sound area and visitors from far and wide.

Vibrant Palette Arts Center (King County) empowers artists with disabilities and raises the visibility of their work, to build a more inclusive arts community reflecting the talents of Seattle’s diverse population.

Yakima Music en Acción (Yakima County) grows confident young leaders throughout the neighborhoods it serves by widening access to professional-level music learning, igniting collective pride, and empowering and unifying students and families.

206 Zulu (King County) provides accessible spaces while serving communities through the upliftment, preservation, and celebration of Hip Hop culture.

7th Street Kids (Grays Harbor County) fosters and encourages the growth and development of children and children’s theatre throughout the Gray’s Harbor community.

Following over a year of pandemic related closures resulting in dramatically reduced earned revenue, we know this funding is desperately needed to help arts and cultural nonprofits meet the substantial costs of reopening and reengaging with audiences in person. Grant recipients cite the top uses for funding, in order of priority, include staff salaries, programming, rent/mortgage, and reopening education and awareness communications. We hope this public-private partnership between Commerce and ArtsFund ultimately serves as an example of the power of collaborative funding projects centered around arts and culture to restore communities and reimagine new paths forward.

For more information on the NCR program, visit artsfund.org/ncrgrants.

To view a complete list of grant recipients, visit artsfund.org/NCRgrantees.


Header Image: Seattle Rep, Participating students from Seattle Rep’s August Wilson Monologue Competitio, Feb. 21, 2020, photo by Angela Nickerson.