Memphis Flyer, Jon W. Sparks —
ArtsMemphis has awarded $900,000 to 45 arts organizations for operating support and another $70,650 to 26 groups through the Arts Build Communities (ABC) grant program.
The operating support grants have long been central to ArtsMemphis’ mission of helping to grow a sustainable arts community. The unrestricted funding comes from local individuals, foundations and corporations, the Tennessee Arts Commission, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Organizations are assessed on their capacity to meet mission and goals, impact in the community, the level of their board’s engagement and support, financial need, and accountability.
The Covid-19 pandemic has hit the arts community hard. ArtsMemphis reports that grantees experienced a collective $24 million reduction in revenue, primarily earned income from ticket sales, classes, and workshops. It likely would have been worse if not for relief funding such as Payroll Protection Program, TN CAREs, and Shuttered Venue Operators Grants. ArtsMemphis estimates a 62 percent reduction in local and state government revenue generated by the arts.
Although arts groups added virtual and outdoor and socially distanced events, community participation in such events is down 41 percent.
ArtsMemphis says that data shows a 53 percent reduction in staffing, most of which is contract staff. ArtsMemphis will reopen its Artist Emergency Fund on Monday, September 27th for another round of funding for individual artists in Shelby County across arts disciplines. This new round brings ArtsMemphis’ Artist Emergency Fund total distribution to $640,000 since the onset of the pandemic.
A list of the operating support recipients is here.
The ABC program is done in partnership with the Tennessee Arts Commission, and directly supports arts projects that broaden access to arts experiences and aid in the sustainability of the organizations.
The ABC recipients can be found here.
ArtsMemphis has also named Julie Wiklund as its new Chief Financial Officer. In addition, Kathy Gale Uhlhorn is now chair of the Board of Directors, and Dr. Russ Wigginton, president & CEO of the National Civil Rights Museum, is Vice Chair. Kera Wright, senior vice president of finance for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, is the newest member of the board.