We are thrilled to announce that WESTAF will be awarding grant funding to 44 arts and culture organizations across the West, with at least two grants awarded per state at an average level of $35,000 each, as part of the American Rescue Plan Fund for Organizations (ARP). Aligning with the priorities of the National Endowment for the Arts (Arts Endowment), the WESTAF ARP program focused on applications that indicated a deep commitment to cultural equity, social justice and disrupting systemic racism through service to a host of constituencies, including rural and remote communities, Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and organizations that support the independence and lifelong inclusion of people with disabilities, among others.
Awardees were chosen by a 24-person panel representing a diverse group of esteemed arts and culture leaders from across the 13-state WESTAF region. The panel convened in late August after reviewing approximately 70 applications each and advised WESTAF of each applicant’s artistic and cultural merit, ability to connect with priority communities, and unique role within their region. During the panel review process, panelists engaged in deep, rigorous discussions on how this funding might promote dimensions of equity across the West.
“Not only did our panelists help us with the very difficult tasks of selecting awardees from an exceptional pool of applicants,” WESTAF Director of Social Responsibility and Inclusion Anika Kwinana shared, “they encouraged us to find ways to engage and build relationships with applicants who were not successful. Our intention is to do just that over the next several months.” WESTAF is deeply appreciative of our reviewers for their outstanding commitment to the arts and culture sector. Learn more about our panelists.
With over $1.5 million in ARP funding being distributed throughout the Western states, this funding will have a significant impact on the arts and culture sector in the West as it continues to rebuild and recover. WESTAF was able to reach new arts leaders and organizations through an expanded focus of organizations impacted by the pandemic.