Arts organizations are hungry for help during the pandemic, but over the past year Metro Arts has had to navigate shifting availability of funding for local groups. Now as annual budget talks approach, the city’s arts agency is asking for more than their usual allotment.
COVID-19 forced many beloved arts institutions to close their doors — some temporarily, others permanently. And while Metro Arts is a steady source of funding for many, the commission’s arts grant budget for local organizations took a $200,000 hit in the current fiscal year.
Luckily, over a million dollars in federal CARES Act money was pumped into the creative community. But looking forward, Metro Arts isn’t expecting that federal funding to continue. That’s why it is asking for $500,000 more than their usual grants budget.
“That might be — I don’t know — optimistic,” says Metro Arts Executive Director Caroline Vincent. “But we did want to share the case that this is needed. All of our arts organizations are having a really hard year. Many of the performing arts we know will not [resume] until 2022.”
If Metro Arts gets the money they are asking for, that will put their grant budget at $3 million for the first time — though that’s still $700,000 less than what came into the city’s arts institutions in the past year, if counting combined city dollars and federal pandemic relief.