MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Local24 ArtsMemphis has awarded 45 arts organizations $900,000 dollars through its Operating Support grant.
Of the awarded organizations, 40% are led by a person of color and 58% serve participants who are a majority people of color.
“We know how critical unrestricted operating support is to shape a sustainable arts community,” ArtsMemphis President & CEO Elizabeth Rouse said. “We are committed to continuing to carry these organizations forward despite the continued challenges our arts sector is presented with due to the Delta variant of this COVID-19 pandemic.”
Candace Lester, the senior development officer for the Soulsville Foundation, said this money will help with their day-to-day operations.
"General operating funding is kind of the life’s blood of any non-profit, especially ones that’s as dynamic as the Soulsville Foundation," Lester said. "It leaves you nimble enough to allocate funding to whatever immediate need arises."
The grant was given out based on an organization's capacity to achieve their mission and goals, their impact in the community, as well as the level of their board’s engagement and support, and financial need and accountability.
Ned Canty, the general director and CEO of Opera Memphis, said often other donations are poured into the performances and "fun" aspects of the arts.
"There are a lot of people who are willing to give money for that part, but there’s a lot of boring stuff we do too like spreadsheets and making sure that the toilets work and those things are just as important as anything else," Canty said.
Brett Batterson, the president and CEO of the Orpheum Theatre, said a large investment like this will help the greater arts community prosper.
"We all depend on each other," Batterson said. "A rising tide lifts all boats as they say and here in Memphis, we have a very collaborative arts community. We all support each other. It’s friendly competition."
On Monday, ArtsMemphis will open the Artist Emergency Fund on its website. This grant will be for individual artists of all types in the Memphis area who have lost income due to pandemic closures this year.