The Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture has announced that $12 million in CARES Act funds have been awarded to 337 arts nonprofits enduring COVID-19 business interruptions and closures.
The funds were awarded through the Los Angeles County COVID-19 Arts Relief Fund and range from $1,000 to $45,000.
The money will be dispersed by Dec. 30. Most applicants said they planned to spend any CARES Act funds they receive on payroll and operating expenses related to employees. Many arts organizations have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and are struggling to stay open.
“Most of Los Angeles County’s nonprofit arts organizations are reeling from the impact of COVID-19 and yet are not eligible for other government relief like most for-profit sectors,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, 3rd District. “Arts organizations are the cultural and creative backbone of Los Angeles and they face closures, canceled programs and the loss of staff. This CARES Act funding will help them stay afloat and sustain our vibrant arts community in L.A. County.”
Funds from the program have been distributed to organizations in the local area including the Autry Museum of the American West, California LGBT Arts Alliance, Fountain Theatre, Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles, Greenway Arts Alliance and the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.
Arts nonprofits applying for CARES Act funds reported more than $230.7 million in negative financial impact, including lost revenue and unanticipated expenses.
A large share of the expenses is associated with facility costs and the costs of transitioning creative content and services online. In addition, 90% of applicants reported a decline in revenues of 25% or more, 51% said they have had to lay off at least one employee and 83% said they will spend CARES Act funds on wages for employees.
“It has never been more important to protect in L.A. County’s arts and cultural infrastructure and the nonprofit arts organizations that are vital partners in ensuring access to arts and culture,” said Kristin Sakoda, director of the Department of Arts and Culture. “By supporting this crucial sector’s survival now, we preserve the local creative economy so that it can thrive again. We support the health and well-being of our residents and the communities where they live. It is a challenging time, but it is also a time of opportunity, as we reimagine and uplift the role of arts and culture as essential to our communities.”
For information, visit lacountyarts.org.
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