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Grant Program To Support Connecticut’s Arts Community Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Governor Ned Lamont announced that the State of Connecticut will be providing up to $9 million in grants to certain nonprofit arts organizations in the state to help them recover more quickly from the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Utilizing federal CARES Act funding from the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund, the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development’s (DECD) Office of the Arts will administer the COVID Relief Fund for the Arts program with the goal of supporting:

  • Arts nonprofits for whom grants will make a difference in terms of survival or rehiring; and
  • Arts nonprofits that have had to curtail operations for a period of time due to the pandemic and which have had limited ability to reopen due to pandemic restrictions and/or have had to pivot their service delivery due to pandemic restrictions.

“Connecticut’s arts community provides an incredible amount of good for our state and supports thousands of jobs,” Governor Lamont said. “The ongoing, global COVID-19 pandemic has impacted so many aspects of our lives, and many of our state’s nonprofit arts organizations are struggling to recover from its impact. This program will provide some support so that these groups can continue providing the services in our state that so many depend on.”

Qualifying organizations will receive a base grant of $5,000. For organizations that have raised funds between March 10 and November 1, 2020, the program will offer a supplemental match of 50 percent of contributed income during that period. The maximum award for any organization is $750,000.

Arts organizations eligible for funding include:

  • Performing Arts Centers: Multi-purpose facilities for arts programming, including theaters that present live performances and/or live classes;
  • Performing Groups: Groups of artists who perform works of art (e.g., an orchestra, theater, or dance group). To qualify, the organization must either own the venue in which it performs and/or spend more than 20 percent of its annual operating budget on rental of space used to perform; and
  • Schools of the Arts: Organizations that have arts education as its primary educational mission (e.g. community art schools).

The Connecticut Office of the Arts will be accepting applications between October 23 and November 3, and all contracts must be executed by December 30. Additional information on eligibility requirements and the application process can be found on DECD’s website.

“The pandemic has wreaked havoc on Connecticut’s nonprofit arts and culture organizations,” Liz Shapiro, DECD’s Director of Arts, Preservation, and Museums, said. “The impact of the arts on our communities and our overall quality of life cannot be overstated, so it is important we extend this financial lifeline to our nonprofits to help them weather this storm.”

Connecticut’s arts and culture sector represents five percent of the state’s economy, generating $9 billion annually and supporting 57,000 jobs. The sector is integral to the tourism industry, with 69 percent of visitors coming to Connecticut for arts and cultural offerings.

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