The Arkansas Arts Council will receive $441,500 in funding from the National Endowment for the Arts that will be used to create financial relief for nonprofit arts organizations statewide.
“This award will help save jobs in Arkansas’s arts sector and help keep arts organizations going through these tough times,” said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. “Small and mid-sized arts organizations in particular are struggling in the wake of canceled events and fundraising activities. This NEA funding will help artists and arts organizations thrive long term in Arkansas.”
Congress appropriated $75 million to the NEA as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The money is meant to support arts organizations and preserve jobs nationwide.
Only agencies that had received grants in the past four years are eligible for the CARES funding. Only state, regional or local arts agencies, such as the Arkansas Arts Council, can create subgrants with the funding.
“Broadly, the grant is intended to provide relief to arts organizations negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Patrick Ralston, director of the Arkansas Arts Council. “The Arts Council will be required to establish a separate relief grant program to distribute these funds. Our goal mission is to support, encourage and help keep the arts strong in Arkansas.”
The Arkansas Arts Council is expected to receive its funding by April 30. The award will be added to the Arkansas Arts Council’s federal fiscal year 2019 Partnership Agreement Grant through NEA for two years and must be spent by September 2021. The relief aid will not interfere with annual grant allocations by NEA.
“The creative economy is a vital component of our state’s overall economy and quality of life,” Ralston said. “This grant goes a long way in helping to mitigate the economic impact of this pandemic.”