ArtsMemphis Awards Operating Support Grants to 48 Local Arts Organizations

MEMPHIS—This week, ArtsMemphis has announced its second round of fiscal year 2021 operating support grants, bringing the organization’s distribution total for this grant category to $850,000 across 48 arts organizations based in Memphis and Shelby County.

“We recognize that unrestricted operating support is necessary to shape a dynamic and sustainable arts community,” said ArtsMemphis President & CEO Elizabeth Rouse. “In addition to the COVID-prompted Artist Emergency Fund, we continue to prioritize our cornerstone operating support grant initiative, which is made possible each year by our corporate, foundation, and individual donors.”

Funding evaluation criteria includes: grantee narrative reports surrounding organizations’ COVID-19 responses and commitments to advancing racial equity and inclusion; financials from 2019 and 2020 coupled with 2021 projections; and staffing data, including total artist engagement.

Of the 48 awarded organizations, 41% are led by a person of color, and 77% are serving majority people of color participants. 

“We are establishing equitable practices through not only the size, history or genre of our awarded grantees — we are also covering a higher percentage of smaller organizations’ operating budgets, especially since their access to additional relief funds during COVID, such as PPP, has been limited,” continued Rouse. “We felt this financial relief should be an immediate priority.”

Prior to the pandemic, 20% of ArtsMemphis’ grantees’ budgets were related to 1,300 staff. Arts organizations have reported an 80% reduction in the number of artists engaged in 2020 versus 2019, resulting in 8,570 artist engagements lost. Layoffs or furloughs were reported by 53% of arts organizations, impacting 560 positions, or 44% of the arts sector workforce.

A complete list of ArtsMemphis’ fiscal year 2021 operating support grantees is as follows:

Arrow Creative
Ballet Memphis
Ballet on Wheels Dance School & Company
Beale Street Caravan
Blues City Cultural Center
Carpenter Art Garden
Cazateatro Bilingual Theatre Group
Children’s Ballet Theatre
Circuit Playhouse, Inc.
Collage Dance Collective
Creative Aging Memphis
Germantown Community Theatre
Harmonic South String Orchestra
Hattiloo Theatre
Indie Memphis
IRIS Orchestra
Levitt Shell
Memphis Black Arts Alliance, Inc.
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
Memphis Jazz Workshop
Memphis Music Initiative
Memphis Rock ‘n’ Soul, Inc.
Memphis Slim Collaboratory
Memphis Symphony Orchestra
Memphis Youth Symphony Program
Metal Museum, Inc.
Music Export Memphis
New Ballet Ensemble & School
New Day Children’s Theatre
On Location: Memphis
Opera Memphis, Inc.
Orpheum Theatre Group
Perfecting Gifts Incorporated
Playback Memphis
PRIZM Ensemble
RiverArtsFest, Inc.
Soulsville Foundation
SubRoy Movement
Tennessee Shakespeare Company
The Blues Foundation
The CLTV (Collective)
Theatre Memphis
UrbanArt Commission
Young Actors Guild
Youth Artist Development Academy

ABOUT ARTSMEMPHIS. ArtsMemphis, the Mid-South’s primary arts funder, invested $2.8 million in 71 arts groups and 137 artists in 2020. During the COVID pandemic, ArtsMemphis has elevated its role as convener and connector for the arts sector by helping arts organizations maintain, rework business plans, create virtual arts events and develop reopening protocols. ArtsMemphis works to sustain Memphis’ world-renowned cultural vitality and strengthen local communities through the arts by driving arts support and investing in organizations and artists.




Posted by Josie Ballin at 15:51
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