NASAA Notes: March 2021

March 3, 2021

Washington, Vermont: COVID-19 Relief Reporting

Through the course of 2020, state arts agencies (SAAs) across the nation distributed relief funds and retooled their ongoing grant programs to support cultural organizations and artists during COVID-19. The National Endowment for the Arts Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocation made relief funding possible for all states and jurisdictions, and SAAs in 27 states were able to tap other sources of federal or state funds to offer assistance to the arts sector.

After successfully completing their relief grant programs, some SAAs have begun to report on their funding outcomes, to communicate transparently about how relief funds were used and help the public understand the positive impact they had on the arts. Examples from two states, Washington and Vermont, highlight information on total grant disbursement, recipient organizations, and various programs and activities initiated in response to the pandemic.

Washington

Washington counties with organizations that received CARES Act funding

ArtsWA released the CARES Act Grant Funding Outcomes report, detailing the distribution of $3,836,600 of CARES Act funds to Washington state arts and culture nonprofits in 2020. Grants of up to $10,000 were disbursed to 447 organizations in three separate rounds of funding. The report illustrates the rural reach of the dollars, providing county level data and noting that 61% of relief funds were distributed outside of the Seattle (King County) metropolitan center.

The report also summarizes a variety of technical assistance services led by ArtsWA, including a field survey, adjustments to standard grant programs, agency communications and the development of safe reopening guidance for museums and performing arts venues. For more information on ArtsWA’s pandemic response strategies, contact Executive Director Karen Hanan or Communications Manager Glenda Carino.

Vermont

Cast members of Glover, Vermont’s Bread & Puppet Theater take a break behind Woodchuck Cider in Middlebury in September 2020, after performing the Bread & Puppet Circus, cohosted by Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater. Photo by Andy Mitchell

Vermont Humanities and the Vermont Arts Council developed a joint response to address the economic distress of struggling cultural organizations resulting from the pandemic in 2020. The CARES Act Report to the Community outlines how these two agencies allocated $780,000 in COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grants to 123 cultural organizations, located in all 14 counties across Vermont. The funding was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities through the CARES Act. The agencies used an equity lens to ensure that those organizations that traditionally have higher barriers to resources were funded first. The report documents that more than half of available funds went to the smallest and most at-risk cultural organizations, with annual budgets of less than $250,000. The report showcases diverse (including BIPOC [Black, indigenous, and/or people of color] and LGBTQ) organizations that received relief support, noting how the recipients used the funds to retain employees, adopt new health and safety protocols, and adapt their programming to the pandemic.

The Vermont Arts Council also published an interactive infographic detailing all arts relief funding offered by the state, including the Arts Endowment CARES Act funding and Vermont Economic Recovery Grants through the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. The infographic includes information on relief funding for both artists and arts organizations. The public can browse a detailed map showing the number of grants per county as well as an interactive data table itemizing funding by city, recipient and type of grant. For more information, contact Michele Bailey.

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