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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘Art lives everywhere’: Arts and culture organizations in Washington receive $10 million in grants

ArtsFund and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation announced $10 million in funding for more than 800 arts and culture organizations throughout Washington late last month.

In its second year, the Community Accelerator Grant program will provide grants between $2,500 and $25,000 to arts and culture organizations in 37 of Washington’s 39 counties.

“I look at it as an investment in the betterment of our communities,” ArtsFund President and CEO Michael Greer said. “We feel we have evidence to show that arts and culture are a way for communities to have conversations with themselves, and to have conversations with each other about change and about difficult conversations. We feel that investing in arts and culture at that magnitude is a way of really promoting community growth across the state.”

ArtsFund Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Communications Katy Corella said 29 organizations in Spokane County received grants, combining to a total of $337,500.

Recipients in the Spokane area include Stage Left Theater, Spokane Children’s Theatre and Spokane Civic Theatre.

Just shy of 35% of Washington’s federally recognized tribes, including the Spokane Tribe, received funding. Additionally, cultural organizations focusing on BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities received significant funding, including the Salish School of Spokane and Spokane Pride.

Of the recipients, 81% centered BIPOC, LGBTQ+ people and people with disabilities in their organizations and art, according to a news release from ArtsFund.

Greer said the arts are important in every community, whether in a densely populated urban environment or in a rural part of the state.

“The benefits of having a healthy, robust and dense arts and culture community are as beneficial in King County, as they are in Spokane County, as they are in Yakima or Walla Walla,” Greer said. “We want to make sure that all people of Washington state have access to arts and culture so that they can get those same benefits that are being had in other parts of the state.

“That’s very important for us, and we understand that great art is being created in every corner of the state. It is not specific to an urban or a rural community. Art lives everywhere and we want to support that no matter where it is living so that it can thrive.”

The funds are unrestricted, Greer said, so recipients can use the money to best serve their organization.

Corella said 47% of groups anticipate spending the funds on programming, 37% intend to use the money for salaries and labor and 8% anticipate using the grants for rent, mortgage and facility costs.

“When we’re talking about 811 grants, 37 out of 39 counties, those organizations are going to have wildly different needs in terms of what it’s going to take for them to continue their mission,” Greer said. “We want to be responsive and respect the fact that organizations know best how to spend their dollars and to get the most impact out of those dollars.”

Greer said ArtsFund will continue to look for ways to strengthen the arts and culture infrastructure in every corner of the state.