State Launches $9 Million Arts Relief Fund

by Thomas Breen, New Haven Independent, Oct. 19, 2020

Arts nonprofits that have been pummeled by the COVID-19 pandemic have a new $9 million state relief fund to turn to for support in helping pay staff, cover student scholarships, and generally stay afloat during the ongoing economic downturn.

State Director of Arts, Preservation and Museums Liz Shapiro announced the imminent launch of the new financial aid effort Monday morning during a press conference held on the front steps of Neighborhood Music School on Audubon Street.

Flanked by Gov. Ned Lamont, Mayor Justin Elicker, and a host of state legislators and New Haven arts leaders, Shapiro said the COVID Relief Fund for the Arts will provide a baseline grant of $5,000 each for eligible recipients.

The fund will also provide a matching grant worth up to $750,000 each, as calculated at 50 percent of total private donations raised by an eligible organization between the start of the pandemic in early March and Nov. 1.

“Is this going to fix all things for all people?” asked Shapiro. “I don’t think we’re in a situation where we can fix all things for all nonprofits, all arts agencies, or all businesses. Is this going to help? Yes. Absolutely.”

The fund—which is made up of federal CARES Act money allocated by the state and which will be open to applications starting Friday and ending Nov. 3—is reserved for three specific types of arts nonprofit organizations: performing arts centers, performing groups, and schools of the arts.

Eligible organizations must show a documented loss of earned income of at least 20 percent year-to-date as of Sept. 30 in comparison to the same period last year. They have been established by Oct. 1, 2019. And they must have at least one full-time paid staff member, either salaried or contractual.

The complete article can be read online at https://www.newhavenindependent.org/index.php/archives/entry/state_arts_grant.

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