Art News

Foundations Drum Up Support to Save the Arts During COVID-19

Youth on Record was one of the beneficiaries of the COVID-19 Arts & Culture Relief Fund.
Brandon Marshall
Youth on Record was one of the beneficiaries of the COVID-19 Arts & Culture Relief Fund.
Efforts to provide emergency funding for the arts in Colorado are continuing into the New Year — and they are needed.

A recent Scientific and Cultural Facilities District survey of 244 groups indicated that 80 percent were hit hard by the pandemic. Between April and September, 3,435 workers in the metro-area cultural sector were furloughed or laid off, and 542 positions were eliminated entirely.

Earlier in the year, the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation and the Denver Foundation handed out $1.2 million in grants from their joint COVID-19 Arts & Culture Relief Fund. That included donations to Access Gallery, the Boulder Ballet, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, D3 Arts, Motus Theater and Youth on Record.

Now the foundations are leading the charge on a second round of funding.


“The arts are a critical component of the Denver metro community — bringing us joy, belonging, vibrancy. As a sector, they also employ and generate thousands of jobs in our community, and the truth is, they are experiencing a deep economic crisis due to COVID-19,” explains Bonfils-Stanton Foundation head Gary Steuer. “Right now, many of these groups are barely hanging on, while at the same time working hard to continue to bring the arts into our lives when we need it the most. We must do everything we can to help these organizations survive in the months to come.”

The relief fund has been bolstered with support from Denver Arts & Venues, the Gates Family Foundation, R C Kemper Charitable Trust, the Anthony and Delisa Mayer Foundation, the JFM Foundation, the Cranaleith Foundation, Create Boulder, the Rose Community Foundation, Hemera Foundation and Hal and Ann Logan, along with many individuals.

“The COVID-19 Arts & Culture Relief Fund is an example of what can happen when foundations, funders and community leaders come together to address a pressing issue,” notes Denver Foundation head Javier Alberto Soto. “We invite our foundation peers, philanthropists of all kinds, and people who just love the arts to join us as we help this vital sector withstand the pandemic.”

Whether you represent a company, a foundation or just yourself, you can donate to the cause through February 19 at the Denver Foundation website.


Arts groups interested in applying for grants can do so between January 6 and 27 at the Denver Foundation website