The Arizona Commission on the Arts receives and administers funding from the State of Arizona and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), an agency of the federal government. The Arts Commission receives additional funding from the private Arizona ArtShare Endowment held by Arizona Community Foundation, and often receives program-specific grants and donations from various private funders.

Funding Streams

The agency’s regular funding streams and the levels of funding available through them have both changed substantially in the past decade, as illustrated by the graph below:

Funding Stream

General Fund Appropriation: From 1970 until 2012, the Arizona Commission on the Arts received a legislative appropriation from the General Fund in the state’s budget. While the amount varied from year to year, the General Fund appropriation represented the state’s ongoing commitment to funding the arts. In 2012 the agency’s General Fund appropriation was eliminated and has yet to be reinstated.
Inactive since 2011.


National Endowment for the Arts: The Arizona Commission on the Arts receives funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, an agency of the federal government, through a competitive grant process. This grant must be matched 1 to 1 by the state government. While the Arts Commission consistently performs well in this highly competitive process, their annual award amount is also contingent on forces beyond the direct control of the agency, namely, the NEA’s annual budget as determined by Congress. The past three decades have seen the NEA’s annual operating budget losing ground in its share of federal discretionary spending and failing to keep pace with inflation.


Arts Trust Fund: In 1989 Governor Rose Mofford and the State Legislature, in an effort to “advance and foster the arts in Arizona,” established the Arts Trust Fund as a supplemental statewide funding source for the arts. Since then, the Arizona Commission on the Arts has received $15 from every annual Corporation Commission filing fee. Though designed to provide supplemental funding, the Arts Trust Fund became the state’s primary means of funding the arts following the elimination of the General Fund appropriation. While this fund is relatively stable, it is still subject to fluctuations beyond the Arts Commission’s control, as it is bound to the general health of the state’s corporate sector and to the Corporation Commission’s management of reporting requirements.


Arizona ArtShare Public/Private Endowment: The $20 million Arizona ArtShare Public Endowment was established in 1996. At its peak, interest accrued on the fund contributed over $1 million to the agency’s budget. The Endowment was swept during recession-era budget-balancing efforts in the legislature between 2009 and 2011.
Inactive since 2011.


Arizona ArtShare Private Endowment: Established alongside the now-defunct Public Endowment, the Arizona ArtShare Private Endowment is held by the Arizona Community Foundation and currently stands at approximately $1.9 million.


Special One-time Allocation: Throughout the history of the Arts Commission the Legislature have found occasion to make one-time special appropriations to the agency’s budget in support of special initiatives or simply to increase the state’s investment in arts and culture for a given fiscal year. As the state recovered from the recession, a bipartisan effort at the State legislature led to a one-time budget allocation of an additional $1 million for Fiscal Year 2014. This special allocation made a significant impact, bolstering the Arts Commission’s regular grantmaking and providing for the creation of such new special initiatives as Creative Catalyst, Strengthening Schools through Arts Partnerships, and Arizona Art Tank. Though the state’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget again included this additional allocation, it was not repeated in Fiscal Year 2016. For Fiscal Year 2017, the Legislature again added a rainy-day funs appropriation, this time boosting the investment to $1.5 million. The same amount was allocated again in Fiscal Year 2018, then bumped up to $2 million in Fiscal Year 2019. In Fiscal Year 2020, the Legislature again included a $2 million one-time allocation to the Arts Commission, but this time the moneys came from the State’s General Fund.