As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the National Endowment for the Arts allocated funds for state arts agencies to regrant to arts and culture organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Arizona Commission on the Arts will administer $428,700 in CARES Act funding via the AZ CARES Grant program in support of arts and culture organizations across Arizona.

Open to Arizona arts and culture organizations that:

  • Received an Arizona Commission on the Arts Community Investment Grant (CIG) in Fiscal Year 2019 or Fiscal Year 2020.
  • Incurred or will incur expenses related to salaries, artist fees, contract personnel, or facilities costs during a period of time beginning March 1, 2020, and ending September 1, 2020.

Grants of $5,000-$7,500 will be awarded.

Based on an estimate of 200 eligible applicants, this program will likely award up to 65 grants. This represents 33% of applications funded, or a 1 in 3 opportunity to receive a grant.

NEA CARES, the parent funding program, acknowledges the economic hardship caused by the closure of arts and culture organizations due to the spread of COVID-19, and focuses support on key organizational expenses, including salary support, artist and contractor fees, and facilities costs.

Because artists and creatives are the engine that creates much of the value that organizations make accessible to their communities, AZ CARES builds on the foundation provided by the NEA by giving priority to organizations that are centering and upholding commitments to creative workers—artists, makers, tradition bearers, educators, designers, and other content creators—during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

Further, in alignment with the NEA’s stated commitment for its program as well as the Arts Commission’s public agency mission, racial equity, geographic parity, and other dimensions relevant to access and community benefit will be considered as part of decision-making.

Please note: AZ CARES does not focus on the production or generation of new projects. Many organizations have scaled back programming to preserve capital for a future reopening, while others will remain closed for an indefinite amount of time because their programs and services are under specific constraints due to the current global health crisis. This program does not seek new work, it prioritizes a focus on creative workers within organizations whose missions are advanced by creative work.

  • Guidelines available and application open: Tuesday, May 12, 2020
  • Applications due: Tuesday, June 2, 2020, 11:59 pm
  • Application review: Tuesday, June 2, 2020 to Friday, June 26, 2020
  • Grantees notified: Week of July 6, 2020
  • Funding Period: July 6, 2020 to September 1, 2020
  • Final Report due: Tuesday, December 15, 2020

The Arts Commission runs application processes through Submittable, a cloud-based online submissions platform that can be accessed on most computers and mobile devices. To begin, you will need a Submittable user account for your organization. As a previous grantee, your organization already has a profile. If you are not sure how to access your profile, contact the staff listed for this program.

Please also contact the Arts Commission before the application deadline if you require an accessibility accommodation or have other extenuating circumstances affecting your use of the online platform.

Some applicants find it helpful to develop responses using word processing software, then to copy/paste into the Submittable application. When ready, click on the blue “Apply Now” botton below. This will take you to the Submittable platform. You do not have to complete the application in one session; Submittable allows you to save a draft of your application and complete or submit it later.

The Application

In an effort to keep the application as simple as possible, the AZ CARES Grant consists of 3 narrative questions and some data collection, as outlined below. We acknowledge that these questions and data are based on snapshots in a time when dynamics are rapidly evolving. We ask that you scale your investment of labor based on this information and the probability of receiving support through this program. You will be asked to complete the following sections:

Section 1: Organization Overview

  • Organization name and (if applicable) DBA
  • Organization mailing address
  • State legislative district (click here to find yours)
  • Federal congressional district (click here to find yours)
  • Primary and secondary contact info
  • DUNS number
  • Organization mission statement
  • Is your organization’s mission and programming oriented toward or reflective of a cultural community that centers race, heritage, religion, age group, sexual orientation, gender, physical ability, or other social identities? (yes/no)
    • If yes to race, which racial identity(ies) does your organization’s mission and programming serve the most? (select all that apply)
    • If yes to heritage, religion, age group, sexual orientation, gender, physical ability, or other community, please elaborate.
    • How many people make up the leadership of your organization (staff and board)?
    • What would you say is the percent of your organization’s leadership that is reflective of your specified cultural community(ies)?
  • FY2019 adjusted annual income (annual gross minus in-kind value)
  • If your organization was eligible to apply directly for CARES Act relief through the National Endowment for the Arts, did you submit an application?

Section 2: Narrative Questions

  1. Provide a brief summary of how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected your organization’s operations. You may outline changes to programs, revenue, personnel, facilities, et cetera. Please do not feel you have to describe effects in depth, as this program’s very premise acknowledges that organizations are facing widespread and unprecedented challenges. A snapshot is appropriate. (300 words maximum)
  2. How is your organization centering and upholding commitments to creative workers, including artists, makers, tradition bearers, educators, designers, or other content creators? Describe how your organization retained or engaged creative workers from the time period beginning March 1, 2020, to June 1, 2020. Next, describe how your organization will consider retaining or engaging creative workers from the time period beginning June 2, 2020, to September 1, 2020. Be as specific as you can, particularly about actions already taken. (500 words maximum)
  3. NEA CARES, the parent funding program, lists support for salaries, fees for artists and other contract personnel, and facilities costs as allowable expenses for its program as well as CARES Act subgrants delivered via state arts agencies. If your organization receives an AZ CARES Grant, how would the funding be used? (100 words maximum)

Section 3: Organizational Status

In this section, you will complete a table providing figures for each of the following fields as of January 1, 2020, as of May 1, 2020, and a rational projection for September 1, 2020. In general, we are asking you to count or categorize based on what is rational and appropriate for your organization. We acknowledge that different disciplines and operational structures are constructed in different ways, that individuals often play several roles within an organization, and that there might be overlap in how one person is counted or categorized. For additional guidance on this section, please see the program FAQ section below.

  • Permanent full-time employees in active status
  • Permanent part-time employees in active status
  • Number of salaried executive and administrative personnel
  • Number of salaried artists, creative professionals, and programmatic personnel
  • Number of other salaried personnel
  • Number of artists and creative professionals in a paid contract status
  • Number of other professionals in a paid contract status
  • Organization’s annual revenue (gross revenue less in-kind) projection on this date

If you’d like to elaborate on any data you entered into the table, do so here. (150 words maximum)

Arizona’s arts and culture organizations are facing widespread, unprecedented uncertainty and income loss as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The review process for AZ CARES Grants presupposes organizational value and need as fundamental conditions and will not rank applications according to the devastating effects of the crisis on individual organizations.

Applications will be reviewed for eligibility and completeness, then weighted as per the stated priorities for the program. Following that review and consideration, applications will be entered into a process for randomized selection.

The Arts Commission’s Governor-appointed commission will be asked to confer approval on a list of recommended applicants in June. The AZ CARES Grant program will likely award up to 65 grants.

Grant recipients must submit a final report following the end of the funding period. Final reports must be submitted no later than Tuesday, December 15. 2020.

For questions and application assistance, contact Claudio Dicochea, Organizational Programs Manager, at [email protected]. For technical assistance related to Submittable, contact Bethanne Abramovich, Digital Operations Manager at [email protected]. Please be aware that staff are currently working remotely, primarily between the hours of 8am and 5pm, Monday through Friday.

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What is the amount of total AZ CARES funding available?

The Arizona Commission on the Arts will distribute $428,700 in CARES Act funding via grants to arts and culture organizations.

What is the amount of each award?

Operating support grants of $5,000-$7,500 will be awarded to applicant organizations who demonstrate strong alignment with review criteria and program funding priorities.

Why is there a range in awards?

The range in award amount is to include flexibility in the review process and thus allow for the possibility of funding as many organizations as possible.

What is the estimated number of awards?

Based on an estimate of 200 eligible applicants, this program will likely award up to 65 grants. This represents 33% of applications funded, or a 1 in 3 opportunity to receive a grant.

Why isn’t the Arts Commission giving larger and fewer grants with this relief funding?

The Arts Commission is a public agency with a mission and mandate to support arts and culture in communities across the State of Arizona. Acknowledging that total available relief funding cannot close crisis-related financial gaps, we have chosen to ensure support reaches a diverse cohort of organizations in locations across our state.

Which organizations are eligible to apply?

Arts and culture organizations that received an Arizona Commission on the Arts Community Investment Grant (CIG) in Fiscal Year 2019 or Fiscal Year 2020 and that incurred or will incur expenses related to salaries, artist fees, contract personnel, or facilities costs during a period of time beginning March 1, 2020, and ending September 1, 2020 are eligible to apply for this specific funding.

Why has eligibility been limited in this way?

Limiting eligibility in this way creates an eligible pool of approximately 200 organizations, small and large, working in myriad creative disciplines, located in communities across Arizona. The Arts Commission understands that the financial need is great, and that available funding is already under a significant amount of pressure. We have chosen not to increase that pressure further, as we don’t want arts professionals spending their labor assembling requests with a very low possibility of receiving support.

Are organizations that applied to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) CARES grant program also eligible to apply to the AZ CARES grant program?

Organizations that applied to the NEA CARES Grant program are eligible to apply to the AZ CARES grant program. If an organization receives direct funding from the NEA CARES Grant program, it may be considered when making AZ CARES funding decisions.

What are the priorities for this grant?

NEA CARES, the parent funding program, acknowledges the economic hardship caused by the closure of arts and culture organizations due to the spread of COVID-19, and focuses support on key organizational expenses, including salary support, artist and contractor fees, and facilities costs.

Because artists and creatives are the engine that creates much of the value that organizations make accessible to their communities, AZ CARES builds on the foundation provided by the NEA by giving priority to organizations that are centering and upholding commitments to creative workers—artists, makers, tradition bearers, educators, designers, and other content creators—during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Further, in alignment with the NEA’s stated commitment for its program as well as the Arts Commission’s public agency mission, racial equity, geographic parity, and other dimensions relevant to access and community benefit will be considered as part of decision-making.

Does this grant fund or focus on new projects or new work?

No. AZ CARES does not fund or focus on the production or generation of new projects. Many organizations have scaled back programming to preserve capital for a future reopening, while others will remain closed for an indefinite amount of time because their programs and services are under specific constraints due to the current global health crisis. This program does not seek new work, it prioritizes a focus on creative workers within organizations whose missions are advanced by creative work.

What is the review process for this grant?

Arizona’s arts and culture organizations are facing widespread, unprecedented uncertainty and income loss as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. The review process for AZ CARES Grants presupposes organizational value and need as fundamental conditions and will not rank applications according to the devastating effects of the crisis on individual organizations.

Applications will be reviewed for eligibility and completeness, then weighted as per the stated priorities for the program. Following that review and consideration, applications will be entered into a process for randomized selection. The Arts Commission’s Governor-appointed commission will be asked to confer approval on a list of recommended applicants in June. The AZ CARES Grant program will likely award up to 65 grants.

When does the application open and what is the deadline?

The application opens on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 and the closing deadline is Tuesday, June 2, 2020, 11:59 pm.

Regarding the grant application itself: for section 3, can you provide some definitions to help guide my data entry?

In general, we are asking you to count or categorize based on what is rational and appropriate for your organization. We acknowledge that different disciplines and operational structures are constructed in different ways, that individuals often play several roles within an organization, and that there might be overlap in how one person is counted or categorized.

  • By “active status,” we mean: employees currently receiving payment 
  • By “salaried,” we mean: employees who receive a regular fixed payment for performing work during a specified period of time
  • By “executive and administrative personnel,” we mean: organizational leadership and staff tasked with operations (i.e. fiscal, development, marketing, facilities, box office, registration, digital operations, etc.)
  • By “artists, creative professionals, and programmatic personnel,” we mean: employees tasked with creating, implementing, leading, or performing artistic and cultural programming and services 
  • By “paid contract status,” we mean: individuals on contract who are currently receiving payment or who have undergone full payment 

For “organization’s annual revenue projection on this date,” we are trying to discern how an organization’s overall revenue figure has changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are asking applicants to tell us what their annual revenue projection (gross revenue less in-kind) was or might be on the indicated dates–regardless of the organization’s fiscal year calendar–as opposed to year-to-date revenue for the indicated dates.

  • Guidelines: AZ CARES Grant