Wisconsin Arts Board Awards Over $500,000 in CARES Act Relief Funds to 110 Wisconsin Arts Organizations

Madison, Wis. (July 7, 2020) – At a special board meeting on July 2, 2020, the Wisconsin Arts Board awarded 110 grants totaling $544,000 in CARES Act funding.  The $466,000 in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding that the Arts Board received directly from the National Endowment for the Arts was combined with $78,000 from Arts Midwest, one of six Regional Arts Organizations in the nation, which serves the nine states of the Upper Midwest, in order to aid the arts sector's recovery effort in Wisconsin.

Augmenting these efforts, the National Endowment for the Arts itself made 12 direct grants of $50,000 each to WI arts groups. The total CARES Act support to Wisconsin arts organizations is $1,144,000.

In April, the Wisconsin Arts Board (WAB) developed a grant program (WAB CARES) using this money to fund salary support (full or partial) for one or more staff positions; fees for artists and/or contractual personnel; and/or facility costs, such as rent and utilities.

“These one-time, non-matching funds will help our arts groups remain, and reemerge, as vibrant parts of WI's creative economy," said Kevin Miller, Arts Board Chairperson. “Artists and arts organizations are an integral part of communities and increase the quality of life for all. Arts organizations are also, undeniably, an important part of the $10 billion arts and cultural sector of Wisconsin's economy – economic drivers that provide thousands of jobs statewide."

“These WAB CARES grants will aid small, medium, and large arts organizations as they sustain operations and retain jobs through these difficult times," stated George Tzougros, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Arts Board. “We thank the National Endowment for the Arts and Arts Midwest for their partnership in support of Wisconsin's nonprofit arts organizations."​

The need for arts support in the state far exceeded the availability of CARES Act funding currently available, but the Board is grateful to be able to distribute these crucial emergency funds through one-time grants to 110 Wisconsin arts groups.​

As Mary Anne Carter, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, stated, “All of us at the National Endowment for the Arts are keenly aware that arts organizations across the country are hurting, struggling, and trying to survive and that our supply of funding does not come close to meeting the demand for assistance. That said, I am enormously proud of the over-and-above efforts of the Arts Endowment staff to swiftly and professionally manage such a large amount of additional work in a relatively short period of time on behalf of the American public."​

The full press release is available here.