An historic investment of $5 million in support of Arizona’s arts sector is reaching communities throughout the state with today’s announcement of 323 grants awarded to organizations, festivals, and arts learning programs.

In June, Governor Doug Ducey signed a bipartisan budget for the state’s Fiscal Year 2023. The $18 billion package included a one-time allocation of $5 million to the Arizona Commission on the Arts, an agency of the State of Arizona. On December 13, 2022, the Arts Commission announced grant awards totaling $4,866,624. An additional $270,000 in grants supporting professional and artistic development for working artists and arts professionals will be announced in the spring.

“With their increased investment for Fiscal Year 2023, Arizona’s legislature and Governor Ducey made a powerful statement about the vital role the arts have to play in realizing the brightest future of this great state,” said Mark Feldman, chair of the agency’s board of commissioners. “We are proud to deliver these funds to organizations and programs that leverage the unique power of the arts to enhance education, promote community pride and cohesion, and attract tourism and investment to Arizona’s main streets and town squares.”

For a full list of grantees and their awards, click here.

Grants were awarded in four categories:

Creative Capacity Grants provide general operating support to arts and culture organizations of all sizes whose primary mission is to produce, present, teach, or serve the arts.

Festival Grants support organizations in their efforts to provide quality arts and cultural programming through community festival activities.

Lifelong Arts Engagement Grants support projects that foster meaningful arts learning experiences in community settings for adult learners of any age.

Youth Arts Engagement Grants support programs focused on young people ages 24 and under that occur outside of traditional school hours.

Statewide Impact

With this round of grantmaking, the Arizona Commission on the Arts nearly doubles the total funding awarded through comparable grant programs in Fiscal Year 2020, the agency’s last year of regular grantmaking prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Grants were awarded to a diverse array of organizations and programs spread across the state, representing twelve of Arizona’s 15 counties, from world-class museums to rural arts centers, from a digital media and printmaking program administered by the Cocopah Indian Tribe to a community theater company in Bullhead City.

“As a state agency, the Arizona Commission on the Arts has a mandate to ensure that arts funding reaches every corner of the state, communities large and small,” said Alex Nelson, the Arts Commission’s acting executive director. “We are excited to see so many of Arizona’s small and rural communities among this year’s grantees, and the broad representation of Arizona’s diverse populations.”

Application and Review Process

In accordance with the Arts Commission’s strategic plan and governing statutes, schools and nonprofit arts organizations are awarded grants based on such factors as organizational capacity, public benefit, and fiscal practices.

Grant applications are reviewed within rigorous panel processes which are open to applicants as well as the broader public. Review panels are chaired by Governor-appointed Commissioners and are composed of diverse community leaders, educators, arts administrators, and working artists from rural, urban, and suburban areas throughout Arizona.

Funding the Arts in Arizona

The additional funding for Fiscal Year 2023, positioned as one-time appropriation from the State’s General Fund, represents a significant boost to the agency’s primary funding streams: the Arts Trust Fund, which contributes an average of $1.3 million to the agency’s annual budget, and a state partnership grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, which contributes $940,000 on average.

These funds are distributed throughout the state as grants, but also in the form of programs and services that contribute to the growth and stabilization of Arizona’s arts sector, enhance student learning, nurture artists’ creative and professional development, and preserve the rich traditions of Arizona communities.