The Wisconsin Arts Board Announces Emergency Relief Funding for Arts Organizations Impacted by COVID-19

In order to stop the spread of COVID-19, Wisconsin's nonprofit arts organizations have been closed since the state's Safer at Home order went into effect. These organizations have cancelled exhibitions, concerts, plays, readings, films, educational outreach programming as well as key fundraising events. This has meant the loss of earned revenue from ticket sales for performances, admissions to exhibitions, other services and learning programs. How long they will incur these losses remains to be seen.  In addition, nonprofits are expecting lost charitable contributions as individual donors, corporations, and foundations reassess their capacity to give.

In many communities, cultural organizations are anchor organizations and key economic drivers. They play an essential role in the economic, community, and physical/emotional/mental health of communities throughout Wisconsin. Wisconsin's arts and cultural organizations contribute more than $657 million to the economy annually and support 26,695 full time equivalent (FTE) jobs.   The arts are a significant economic driver in Wisconsin's economy. (Source: Americans for the Arts, Arts and Economic Prosperity 5, 2015 data)

While the doors have been closed during this pandemic, Wisconsin's nonprofit arts organizations have stepped up in a variety of ways, from making personal protective equipment to providing performances and educational activities online.  They have turned this time of social distancing into one of creativity, empathy, and social connection… at a time when they are facing a very uncertain future themselves.  The Wisconsin Arts Board is proud to be able to assist these organizations when they need it most.

To that end, the Wisconsin Arts Board has created an emergency relief program – made possible through special Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding received from the National Endowment for the Arts, and with additional support from Arts Midwest, a nonprofit regional arts organization serving the nine states of the Upper Midwest.

Eligibility for this emergency fund is restricted to arts organizations that have received a direct WAB grant within the past 4 years through either the Creative Communities grant program, or the Creation and Presentation grant program. To spread the impact of these grants widely throughout the state, grant awards range from $2,000 to $8,000.  The deadline for application submission is Thursday, May 7, 2020.​

The Wisconsin Arts Board is the state agency responsible for the support and development of the arts throughout Wisconsin. Since 1973, the Arts Board has supported artists and art organizations with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. For more information on the Wisconsin Arts Board, please visit For information on Wisconsin arts and cultural events, please visit