Arts Midwest announced that it is partnering with peer United States Regional Arts Organizations to distribute funds from a $10 million emergency investment from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Aligning with Arts Midwest’s work supporting creativity, resilience, and vibrancy in communities, the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund will seek to help historically under-resourced arts and culture organizations in the Midwest weather the COVID-19 crisis. The fund will prioritize organizations that are led by and serving people of color and Indigenous people, and/or led by and serving people from rural communities.
The impact of COVID-19 has created incredible financial obstacles for the arts, with some estimates placing losses for the sector at $6.8 billion – the equivalent of a 26 percent deficit for organizations in the field over the course of just one year. These losses exacerbate deep, existing inequities present across the Midwest and the nation. Historically under-resourced communities and organizations now face an additional lack of access to critical support, investment, and capitalization to weather the pandemic, putting their work acutely at risk.
Each of America’s six Regional Arts Organizations, a national collective of place-based nonprofit arts service organizations, will be receiving allocations of the $10 million United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund. Arts Midwest will work with its state arts agency partners to distribute its $1.68 million share among small and mid-sized 501©3 arts organizations in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin and the Native nations that share this geography by September 2020.
Anyone may nominate an arts organization to receive a $30,000 — $75,000 award by filling out a simple online form between June 15 and July 8. Organizations may also self-nominate to support their own work. Arts Midwest will work with its partner state arts agencies to put together diverse advisory panels who will review all submissions, and invite a selected number of the nominated organizations to submit brief proposals.
“Arts Midwest knows that art and creativity are indispensable to the well-being and vibrancy of all people and communities.” shares Torrie Allen, President & CEO of Arts Midwest. “Creativity can motivate us through the darkest of times, and inspires us to seek a better world. However, systemic oppression means that different communities have vastly unequal access to the resources and capital required to weather this pandemic. The United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund is a way to support our region in a time of need, and take one step towards making meaningful, lasting, structural change to eliminate these inequities.”
“Protecting the arts and culture sector, particularly small- and mid-sized organizations, during this crisis is absolutely imperative, and this new grant and resiliency fund aims to do just that,” said Mellon Foundation President Elizabeth Alexander. “We have an important goal: to preserve these critical organizations and ensure a fuller American story is told today – and tomorrow.”