As reported in March, the State of Arizona’s fiscal year 2016 budget will not repeat the additional $1 million allocated to the Arizona Commission on the Arts for fiscal years 2014 and 2015.

The additional $1 million, derived from interest on the state’s Rainy Day Fund, was not available due to efforts to balance the FY2016 state budget amidst a significant revenue shortfall.

First allocated to the Arts Commission in FY2014, the $1 million was applied across all agency grant programs – to special-initiative grant programs, such as Arizona Art Tank and Community Catalyst grants, as well as grant programs which had recently undergone renovation, such as Community Investment, Arts Learning, and Festival grants.

Many have begun to ask how next fiscal year will differ from the previous two in light of this change to available funding. In keeping with the Arts Commission’s commitment to openness and transparency, it is our goal to answer these questions as directly as is currently possible.

  • In order to protect priority public programs, reductions will be required of all expenditure areas, including administration, grantmaking, programs and services.
  • Arizona Art Tank, Chamber and Tourism Membership and Community Catalyst grants will be placed on indefinite hiatus.
  • Arts Learning and Festival grants will be reduced to a single application cycle.
  • All other grant programs, including Community Investment, Arts Learning and Festival grants, will experience reductions. Applicants should expect the May 2015 panel review for these programs to be more competitive than in years past.
  • The Arizona Teaching Artist Roster, a decades-long partnership with statewide teaching artists, will be discontinued.

Additional programmatic eliminations are under consideration, but so are some expansions. The agency is currently preparing to embark on an ambitious journey of exploration and discovery, to map out a bold way forward for Arizona’s arts sector. Further updates will be provided as these plans are finalized.