Art News

Colorado Pours Millions Into COVID Relief for the Arts

Telluride Bluegrass Festival received $200,000 from the first round of the Colorado Arts Relief Grant.
Telluride Bluegrass Festival received $200,000 from the first round of the Colorado Arts Relief Grant. Benko Photographics
As the creative sector has grappled with the disastrous economic consequences of the pandemic shutdowns, relief grants from both private foundations and government entities have been vital for the survival of arts and culture throughout Colorado. Now, with the Delta surge again threatening arts activities, the state is offering another round of emergency funding to both individual artists and cultural organizations.

In the first round, the state distributed $7.4 million through 722 grants, with $5,985,500 going to 123 arts, culture and entertainment groups. The largest of those were the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and Z2 Entertainment, which runs the Boulder and Fox theaters. Another $1.365 million went to 599 individuals in 41 counties.

“Colorado’s arts, culture and entertainment industries play a critical role in our economy and are essential to our recovery and resiliency,” noted Colorado Creative Industries director Margaret Hunt at the time of the first distribution. “The Colorado Arts Relief program offers direct funding to the individuals, businesses and organizations most severely impacted by COVID-19 capacity restrictions.”

Colorado Creative Industries will open the second round of applications for the Colorado Arts Relief Fund on Monday, August 23, and this will be twice as large as the first.

The state's arts agency, under the Office of Economic Development and International Trade, plans to hand out another $15.5 million to a mix of arts, cultural and entertainment businesses and organizations, as well as individuals working in the sector as both artists and crew members.

There are two applications, one for businesses and organizations and another for individuals who are eligible to receive up to $4,000. Priority will be given to artists and crew members who previously applied for relief money and did not get a grant.

Businesses will be eligible for up to $200,000 in general operating support, and groups on the brink of permanent closure will be the priority, along with those that are at risk of losing staff or are attempting to rehire workers who were laid off during the pandemic.

For more information, go to the Colorado Arts Relief Grant page online.
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Kyle Harris has been Westword’s Culture Editor since 2016, writing about the arts, music and film.
Contact: Kyle Harris