Dollars coming to California as NEA announces $19.8 million in grants


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Ask and ye shall receive. Even in this economy.

Artists have been trudging up Capitol Hill during the last few months in an effort to save arts funding from the budget chopping block. Today, the National Endowment for the Arts responded by announcing $19.8 million in one-time grants as part of President Obama’s stimulus package, a.k.a. the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The grants will go to state and regional arts agencies in an effort to prop up the arts sector of the economy, the NEA said. Those agencies will then decide to appropriate the funds to organizations in the performing, visual and literary arts.


The Sacramento-based California Arts Council will receive $502,400, which is by far the most that the NEA is awarding to a single state agency. The dollar amount was calculated by a simple formula of equal share for each state plus consideration for population, the NEA told Culture Monster.

The Texas Arts Commission will get $427,300 and the New York State Council on the Arts is receiving $399,900.

NEA guidelines stipulate that grants should be spent on jobs creation in the arts, not programs. The California Arts Council is developing a process that fits those guidelines and expects to roll out an application process for the grant money by the beginning of May, said Mary Beth Barber, the council’s communications director.

And there’s more to come. In July, the NEA will announce the recipients for a direct competitive grant in which individual arts organizations can apply for a fixed award of $25,000 or $50,000. (The application deadline was last Monday.)

The upcoming grant is part of the overall $50 million that the NEA received as part of the Obama stimulus package.

-- David Ng