The Arkansas Arts Council will receive $441,500 in funding from the National Endowment for the Arts that will be used to create financial relief for nonprofit arts organizations statewide.

“This award will help save jobs in Arkansas’s arts sector and help keep arts organizations going through these tough times,” said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. “Small and mid-sized arts organizations in particular are struggling in the wake of canceled events and fundraising activities. This NEA funding will help artists and arts organizations thrive long term in Arkansas.”

Congress appropriated $75 million to the NEA as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The money is meant to support arts organizations and preserve jobs nationwide.

Only agencies that had received grants in the past four years are eligible for the CARES funding. Only state, regional or local arts agencies, such as the Arkansas Arts Council, can create subgrants with the funding.

“Broadly, the grant is intended to provide relief to arts organizations negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Patrick Ralston, director of the Arkansas Arts Council. “The Arts Council will be required to establish a separate relief grant program to distribute these funds. Our goal mission is to support, encourage and help keep the arts strong in Arkansas.”

The Arkansas Arts Council is expected to receive its funding by April 30. The award will be added to the Arkansas Arts Council’s federal fiscal year 2019 Partnership Agreement Grant through NEA for two years and must be spent by September 2021. The relief aid will not interfere with annual grant allocations by NEA.

“The creative economy is a vital component of our state’s overall economy and quality of life,” Ralston said. “This grant goes a long way in helping to mitigate the economic impact of this pandemic.”

About the Arkansas Arts Council

The Arkansas Arts Council, an agency of Arkansas Heritage, advances the arts in Arkansas by providing services and supporting arts endeavors that encourage and assist literary, performing and visual artists in achieving standards of professional excellence. In addition, the Arkansas Arts Council provides technical and financial assistance to Arkansas arts organizations and other providers of cultural and educational programs. Other agencies are the Arkansas Historic Preservation ProgramArkansas Natural Heritage CommissionArkansas State ArchivesDelta Cultural Center in HelenaHistoric Arkansas MuseumMosaic Templars Cultural Center and the Old State House Museum. Funding for the Arkansas Arts Council and its programs is provided by the State of Arkansas and the National Endowment for the Arts. Arkansas Heritage is a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.