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Getty Foundation awards $2 million in relief grants to 80 L.A. arts organizations

A view of the bookstore displays at the Underground Museum in Arlington Heights in 2019
The bookshop at the Underground Museum in 2019. The Arlington Heights art space is one of the L.A. arts organizations awarded a grant by the Getty Foundation.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Plaza de la Raza, the Women’s Center for Creative Work, the ONE Archives Foundation and the Underground Museum are among the 80 recipients of a first wave of relief grants set to be announced by the Getty Foundation on Wednesday morning. The grants, which total $2 million, were designed to support an array of small and midsize arts organizations operating in Los Angeles County as they contend with the economic fallout of the pandemic.

Among the recipients are small museums such as the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA), the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach and the Wende Museum in Culver City. Also included are a range of smaller community organizations from around the county that have struggled economically after safer-at-home orders shut down revenue-generating events and fundraising activities.

These include the experimental contemporary arts space LAXART in Hollywood; the Association for the Advancement of Filipino American Arts and Culture (FilAmArts), which organizes the Annual Festival of Philippine Arts & Culture; as well as Tía Chucha’s Centro Cultural in Sylmar, co-founded by L.A. poet laureate Luis Rodriguez, which holds literary events as well as art-making classes for children.

“We knew that if we lost these organizations, the visual arts in Los Angeles County would instantly become less diverse and less equitable,” says Getty Foundation director Joan Weinstein, who helped organize the relief effort. “Even before the events of the last few weeks, we knew that the arts were an investment in our future, in our capacity for empathy and for understanding ourselves and others.”

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Originally scheduled to open in December, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has pushed back its public opening due to the “unprecedented and devastating pandemic.”

The grants are part of a $10-million relief effort, first announced in April, that was funded by the Getty and managed by the California Community Foundation. Arts organizations in Los Angeles County were invited to apply for relief grants of between $10,000 and $30,000. The average award granted in this cycle came to $27,500.

The initial $2 million in grants will be followed by another wave of grant programs.

“The next and larger phase will focus on recovery grants to help museums and visual arts organizations reimagine their operations so they can not only survive,” Weinstein says, “but thrive.”

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The Getty also plans to announce on Wednesday that it is awarding $700,000 in individual artist grants. The program, a separate initiative launched in May, will provide economic relief to 400 Los Angeles artists who will receive grants averaging $1,750.

“You can’t have the arts without artists,” says Weinstein, “so it was equally important to help our city’s artists.”

Details on the next wave of relief grants will be announced in the coming months.

Officials and community members are considering a more permanent marker to denounce racial injustice and support LGBTQ rights.

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