(Above) Photo courtesy of Son of Semele Ensemble.

Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture Receives $10 Million for Cares Act Arts Relief Fund

Fund is Part of Los Angeles County’s Small Business Assistance Programs

Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture announced today that it will receive a $10 million allocation from the $1.220 billion CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds awarded to Los Angeles County by the U.S. Treasury for COVID-19-related expenditures (Spending Plan). A motion introduced by Los Angeles County Supervisors Janice Hahn and Sheila Kuehl on August 4, 2020, and approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, addresses the release of CARES Act Relief funds detailed in the Spending Plan to assist and respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

One of the appropriations in Tuesday’s motion sets aside $135M of the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund for small business assistance programs, of which $10M will go to the Department of Arts and Culture to provide grants to Los Angeles County 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organizations suffering from business interruption due to COVID-19-related business closures. To maximize reach and efficiency, funds will go to nonprofit arts organizations that are recipients of the Department of Arts and Culture’s Organizational Grant Program (OGP), as well as other arts nonprofits that are grantees of local municipal arts agencies within the County. To promote equity, priority will be given to organizations with an operating budget of $15M or less, in alignment with the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs’ small business definition. This will ensure that small and mid-sized arts organizations, which are often in service of the County’s most vulnerable communities, are reached and supported.

Eligibility, application, and guidelines for the CARES Act Arts Relief Fund will be announced by the Department of Arts and Culture in the coming weeks. All funds must be dispersed by December 30, 2020.

Local artists and creative workers are an important part of our region’s economy, but this pandemic has put their futures in jeopardy, said Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn. This infusion of funding will help address the challenges our arts and culture nonprofits face and help them make it through this unprecedented crisis.

The disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have deeply affected arts organizations in many of the same ways as other commercial businesses. With this motion, we are finding ways to continue to provide support to our local arts nonprofits and making sure that the healing power of the arts continues to be available to County residents in these troubled and stressful times, said Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.

We have been monitoring the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Los Angeles County arts, culture, and creative sectors, which have suffered immediate and severe impacts due to business closures. The cultural community has been advocating for economic relief for the arts sector and we’ve been doing all we can to support the field—this CARES Act Arts Relief Fund will allow us to provide relief to the region’s small and mid-size arts and culture nonprofit organizations to weather the storm and plan for the future, said Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture Director Kristin Sakoda.

The arts contribute to the health and wellbeing of our diverse communities and therefore the ability of the arts and culture sector to continue to provide services to Los Angeles County residents is paramount, said Eric Hanks, president of the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. On behalf of the Arts Commission, I want to thank the Board of Supervisors for including the county’s nonprofit arts organizations in their COVID-19 relief package.

The mission of the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture is to advance arts, culture, and creativity throughout LA County. We fulfill our mission by providing services and support in areas including grants and technical assistance for nonprofit organizations; professional development opportunities; commissioning civic artworks and managing the County’s civic art collection; implementing countywide arts education initiatives; research and evaluation; career pathways in the creative economy; free community programs; and cross sector creative strategies that address civic issues. This work is framed by the County’s Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative and a longstanding commitment to fostering access to the arts.

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