COVID-19 and the Arts in Wisconsin

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​WAB CARES ACT FUNDING PROGRAM

In April, 2020, the Wisconsin Arts Board was able to create an emergency relief program for WI nonprofit arts organizations, thanks to s​pecial Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding received from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and with additional support from Arts Midwest, a nonprofit regional arts organization serving the nine states of the Upper Midwest. 
The deadline to apply was May 7, 2020.  Some applicants were also able to apply to the NEA directly for funding, however they can​ only recieve one award - from either the NEA or the WAB.  Click here​ for more information.​

The Wisconsin Arts Board has reviewed the WAB CARES applications.  The Board will meet on July 2nd to approve the grant awards, and staff will send the award announcements out as soon as possible following that meeting - and no later than July 3rd. We had to wait for the NEA to publicly announce its list of CARES Act grant recipients because this list affected ours.  

We thank all of the applicants for their patience with this process, and for their continual, creative work in serving their communities in this time when art is more important than ever.



While we are not health professionals here at the Wisconsin Arts Board, we are fortunate to have a strong team of health professionals at the WI Department of Health Services (DHS). Their webpage on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) contains the latest information on the disease and what we can do to stop its progress.​​


At this time, in areas where no local government order is in effect, businesses may re-open. However, the best practice for businesses choosing to open is to adhere to the Wisconsin Economic Development Commission’s Reopening G​uidelines, which compile industry-specific advice for protecting the health and safety of employees and the public. We also recommend referring to the Department of Health Services' Interim Guidance on Large Gatherings​Additional reopening resources are available under the Reopening and Resilience header below.

Click on the header above to access past executive orders and press releases from the Governor's office.

Resource Center

Stay informed! Assign a person on your staff or board to keep an eye on the latest developments and news. They can sign up for the Centers for Disease Control's email updates here and for the World Health Organization's email updates here.​

Stay inspired! Explore the resources below, including the Reopening and Resilience links, and the "Creative Responses from WI's Creative Sector!" linked in the Archived Resources section. Check out and share articles with ideas for actions we can take. Here are a few:

Stopping Coronavirus From Infecting the Culture of Our Community
Volume One

​​​Resources for Org​anizations

  • Emergency Funds for Arts Organizations
  • ​​​Arts-Specific Resources for Arts Organizations
  • WEDC's Guide for Main Street and Other Businesses Navigating COVID-19 Time
  • Emergency Funds for Artists/Creative Entrepreneurs/Individual Arts Administrators
  • ​Arts-Specific Resources for Artists​

Reopening and Resilience

​With input from national and state health and industry experts and in partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism and regional economic development partners, WEDC has compiled a series of industry-specific documents to help you get back to business while taking the necessary precautions to maximize safety. Following these guidelines will help us all get Wisconsin's economy back on track.

The Event Safety Alliance's Reopening Guide addresses health and sanitary issues that event and venue professionals need to consider in order to protect both patrons and workers. The first edition is tailored to be especially useful for event professionals reopening the smallest events with the fewest resources available to mitigate their risks, since in every municipal reopening plan these will be allowed to reopen first. 

Click on the header above to access additional resources related to reopening and resilience.

Webinars - Upcoming and Archived​

Upcoming:​​​ ​​

​​          -  Sunday, August 23, 2020 - Part 2: Making It Public: Activating Public Spaces for Creativity, Connection, and Celebration at 1pm (CST)

          -​ ​ Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - Part 3: Public Works: Planning and Designing Public Spaces for Spatial Justice​​ at 1pm (CST)

Ongoing:  ​Wisconsin Arts Board and Arts Wisconsin's weekly Listening Sessions every Friday at 9:00 am.​

Archived R​esources

  • Excerpts from the Wisconsin Arts News Related to COVID-19
  • Creative Responses from WI's Creative Sector!​
  • WI's Arts Organizations Alert their Audiences, Patrons, and Public
  • Archived Webinars
  • Resources for Staying Connected
  • Guide to Governmental Relief for Arts Organizations and Individual Artists: Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans (for nonprofits and artists)
  • Past ​​Funding Opportunities​


If you have a WAB grant to support a program or event taking place during this time of increased concern, we will allow you to postpone and reschedule, and will if necessary extend the grant project period. Be sure to contact WAB staff via email to alert us to the changes.​


As we move through this time, we will continue tracking local responses and welcome your questions – as will our partner in the private​sector, Arts Wisconsin. During times like this, we must act in concert with one another and support each other locally, statewide, and nationally.

Please be safe, protect yourself and those you interact with, and be healthy. Most importantly, thank you, as always, for all the extraordinary things you do eve​ry day.  ​​- The Board and Staff of the Wisconsin Arts Board​, Updated 7/30/2020​