The National Endowment for the Arts has awarded $44.5 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding to 855 arts organizations located throughout all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. The funds, made available through the federal pandemic relief package passed in late March, will go toward covering essential costs such as staff salaries, artists’ fees, payments for contract workers, and facilities expenses. The bulk of the funds are being awarded via 846 grants of $50,000, with another nine receiving $250,000 each, which they will in turn grant to smaller local agencies.
The $44.5 million in support for the nonprofit arts sector is a much-needed lifeline as many organizations (from major urban museums to smaller regional groups) struggle with the enduring impact of COVID-19. But it is a small fraction of the support needed to see the United States’ culture industry—which contributed $877.7 billion to the country’s gross domestic product in 2017—through this crisis. The NEA received more than 3,100 applications for the relief grants, with requests totalling $157 million—more than three times the funds available.
In a statement
, Mary Anne Carter, the NEA’s chairman, said: