$2.5m community grants advance opportunities for arts

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Tempe Center for Arts at dusk in front of Tempe Town Lake
Photo courtesy of Okland construction and the TCA.

By Wrangler News Staff

Eleven Tempe nonprofit arts organizations, festival and education programs will share in more than $2.5 million in grants awarded by the Arizona Commission on the Arts, an agency of the state of Arizona.

At its quarterly meeting in June, the governor-appointed arts board approved the funding, representing the allocation of 75 percent of the commission’s annual grants budget.

Tempe recipients were: Arizona Aloha Festival, $3,000; 24th Annual Arizona Asian Festival, $3,000; Arizona Wind Symphony, Inc., $8,000; Childsplay, Inc., $50,000; City of Tempe Cultural Services, $25,000; CONDER/dance: Breaking Ground 2019, $3,000; Cultural Arts Coalition: Celebrating Global Connections, $3,000; DanceSport Education, $2,000; nueBOX, Tempe,$5,000; Phoenix Screenwriters Association,$5,000; and The Bridge Initiative: Women in Theatre, $5,000

Grants were awarded via three distinct programs:

Festival Grants support organizations in their efforts to provide quality arts and cultural programming through community festival activities. Forty Festival Grants were awarded, totaling $107,000.

Strengthening Schools Through Arts Partnerships Grants support substantive school/ community partnerships that strengthen teaching and learning in arts education and/or arts integration in Arizona Title I schools.

This year’s awards, totaling $62,840, provide a second year of support to four previously funded partnerships.

Community Investment Grants provide operating support to nonprofit arts organizations, local arts agencies, and tribal cultural organizations whose mission is to produce, present, or teach the arts, and/or to provide arts-based services. 216 Community Investment Grants were awarded, totaling $2,463,000.

Chandler grants went to:

Arizona Dance Education Organization, $5,000; Chandler Center for the Arts, $19,000; Chandler Children’s Choir, $7,500; and Fine Arts Association of Arizona, $5,000; Community Grant applications are evaluated through comprehensive panel review processes.

Review panels are composed of diverse community leaders, experts, educators and arts practitioners from rural, urban and suburban areas throughout Arizona. Panels are assembled to reflect diversity of race, geography, gender, age, and expertise. This year, 30% of panelists engaged in the process hailed from rural Arizona communities.

The number of organizations applying for Community Investment Grants increased 22% over Fiscal Year 2019, with 46 more organizations applying for Fiscal Year 2020 funding. 72% of these new applicants applied in Community Investment Grant Levels I and II. These levels represent organizations with annual incomes of less than $100,000.

According to Kristen Pierce Kent, organizational grants and services manager at the Arizona Commission on the Arts, this growth reflects a thriving, expanding statewide arts sector, as well as Arts Commission efforts to simplify the grant process for smaller, volunteer-run organizations and make the process more accessible to organizations operating in rural and remote communities.

One of 56 state and jurisdictional arts bodies across the United States, the Arizona Commission on the Arts is a 53-year-old agency of the state of Arizona and a leading force in the creative and professional development of Arizona’s arts sector.

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