Phoenix Announces Grants to Help Arts Organizations Affected by COVID-19

Arizona Theatre Company received a $50,000 grant from the city of Phoenix.
Arizona Theatre Company received a $50,000 grant from the city of Phoenix. Tim Fuller
There’s a bit of good news on the arts front, now that dozens of cultural organizations have received funding from the city of Phoenix to help them weather the COVID-19 public health crisis.

Phoenix City Council approved grants totaling $1,885,000 for dozens of arts and cultural groups on July 1 as part of a $2.6 million arts and culture coronavirus relief program. It’s one of several relief programs created using $293 million the city received through the federal CARES Act designed to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

Grant amounts were tied to organization budgets, with the largest grants going to groups with the largest budgets.

Seven groups with annual budgets of at least $10 million, including Phoenix Art Museum and Phoenix Symphony, received $50,000 grants. So did five groups with budgets between $5 million and $10 million. Those organizations include Arizona Broadway Theatre and Arizona Theatre Company. Ten groups with budgets between $1 million and $5 million also received $50,000 grants. They include Herberger Theater Center, Phoenix Center for the Arts, Phoenix Pride, and Valley Youth Theatre.

Another crop of organizations got $25,000 grants through the city’s arts and culture coronavirus relief program. Six, including Arizona Jewish Historical Society and Black Theatre Troupe, have annual budgets between $500,000 and $1 million. Ten, including Great Arizona Puppet Theater and Phoenix Film Foundation, have budgets between $250,000 and $500,000.

click to enlarge Black Theatre Troupe received a $25,000 grant from the city of Phoenix. - LAURA DURANT
Black Theatre Troupe received a $25,000 grant from the city of Phoenix.
Laura Durant
Smaller $15,000 grants went to arts and culture groups with smaller budgets between $25,000 and $250,000. Those recipients include organizations working in dance, music, theater, and visual art — including Alwun House, Artlink, nue[BOX], Roosevelt Row, Scorpius Dance Theatre, and Space 55. Ten projects created by organizations that include the African Association of Arizona and Reframe Youth Arts Center received $8,500 grants.

There’s additional good news, as well.

Sixteen Arizona organizations received CARES Act Funding totaling $1.2 million from the National Endowment for the Arts. Both the city of Phoenix and the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona received $250,000 awards, which will be regranted to arts organizations in these communities.

Several metro Phoenix groups received $50,000 each from the NEA — including Arizona Opera, Ballet Arizona, Childsplay, East Valley Children’s Theatre, Phoenix Conservatory of Music, Phoenix Theatre, and West Valley Arts Council. The awards were announced on July 1. That same day, five Arizona arts organizations were awarded grants ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 by the Western States Arts Federation.

click to enlarge Both Ballet Arizona and Desert Botanical Garden got $50,000 grants from the city of Phoenix. - ROSALIE O'CONNOR
Both Ballet Arizona and Desert Botanical Garden got $50,000 grants from the city of Phoenix.
Rosalie O'Connor
On July 3, Governor Doug Ducey announced that the state of Arizona will allocated $2 million to Arizona Commission on the Arts, one of more than 50 groups affiliated with the NEA. The funds will come from the state’s crisis contingency and safety net fund, and be used to issue grants for arts and cultural programming, including arts education. Only small businesses with fewer than 50 employees or nonprofit organizations will be eligible for these grants.

The move came just over three months after Arizona adopted a "skinny budget" for fiscal year 2021, which began on July 1. That budget did not include $2 million in arts funding requested by Arizona Commission on the Arts, which left arts advocates wondering whether the commission would have to significantly cut its grant programs.

Most recently, on July 8, Arizona Commission for the Arts announced 86 recipients for AZ CARES grants funded as part of the $75 million in CARES Act funding the federal government allocated to the NEA. The long list of metro Phoenix arts organizations to receive a $5,000 grant includes CALA Alliance in Phoenix, Detour Company Theatre in Scottsdale, Theater Works in Peoria, The Bridge Initiative in Tempe, and The Millet House in Mesa.

Earlier this year, a group of Arizona arts funders and service organizations awarded $171,830 in emergency relief grants to 235 artists and arts professionals. The grants were designed to help creatives impacted by pandemic-related event cancellations and terminated contracts. The group is continuing to raise money for COVID-19 relief grants, and expects to announce additional awards in the future — which means more good news may be on the horizon.
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Lynn Trimble is an award-winning freelance writer and photographer specializing in arts and culture, including visual and performing arts
Contact: Lynn Trimble