Local NonProfit Support Arts Community Through Pandemic
The Arts | July 05, 2020
Today ArtsMemphis is proud to announce $450,000 in local and national funding to assist the organization’s efforts in supporting the local arts community.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) selected ArtsMemphis as one of just 9 local arts agencies across the nation to receive $250,000 in CARES Act funding. In a separate announcement, the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis (CFGM) selected ArtsMemphis to receive a $200,000 capacity building grant from the Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund.

Both grants will help the nonprofit arts community combat the financial implications of COVID-19.

The NEA recommended grants for direct funding through the CARES Act to 855 organizations across the county. ArtsMemphis is one of nine local arts agencies selected to receive a larger grant of $250,000, joining Boston, Chicago, Lafayette, Colo., Phoenix, Reno, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and Tucson. The remaining 846 organizations will receive grants of $50,000.

The CFGM grant is part of a larger block of funding from the Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund intended to address community needs, and to provide a wider safety net for the forward progress of the arts sector.

“It is such an honor to be selected and entrusted with these funds that will make such a difference to our arts community. Our arts organizations are committed to the welfare of the entire community, many of which paid their contracted artists despite revenues streams evaporating.” said ArtsMemphis President and CEO, Elizabeth Rouse.

“We will redirect these funds as unrestricted support to nonprofit arts organizations in Memphis and Shelby County.”

A survey of more than 250 Shelby County artists and organizations conducted by ArtsMemphis indicated a total anticipated loss of income across the arts sector of $7.4 million thru June 30, 2020. Nationally, according to data released by Americans for the Arts (AFTA) of 17,000 arts organizations surveyed, projected losses thru June 30 at $8.4 billion.

Artist engagement has dropped sharply since the onset of the shutdown, yet arts groups work fervently to remain connected to their audiences.

“The sector employs individuals who work in full-time, part-time, hourly, seasonal, and freelance capacities, and this unexpected loss of revenue and the declines in charitable contributions is immediately impacting arts organizations and individual livelihoods and will worsen over time,” Rouse concluded.

This is the second distribution of funds received by ArtsMemphis from the Community Foundation’s Mid-South COVID-19 Regional Response Fund since the pandemic forced arts organizations to close on March 16.

ArtsMemphis established the Artist Emergency Fund (AEF) in partnership with Music Export Memphis (MEM) and together they distributed $308,000 to 443 individuals in the Mid-South arts sector.

“We recognize ArtsMemphis as the primary resource and vehicle for funding in the arts sector. As the longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak have spread throughout our region, its economic impact is being particularly hard felt by arts organizations,” said Bob Fockler, President of the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis. “Our goal is to expand their capacity to address all aspects of the outbreak as effectively as possible, and offset the unexpected, significant decreases of projected revenue.”

In addition to the CARES Act grant to ArtsMemphis, the NEA announced grants of $50,00 each to 4 Memphis arts organizations: Blues City Cultural Center, Hattiloo Theatre, Indie Memphis, and Opera Memphis, Inc.



ABOUT ARTSMEMPHIS. The mission of ArtsMemphis is to sustain Memphis’ world-renowned cultural vitality and strengthen local communities through the arts. ArtsMemphis distributes $2.5 million annually to 70+ grantees, who collectively provide over 2.5 million annual art experiences. Learn more at artsmemphis.org.


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