Orange County's arts community has benefited from a combination of public and private COVID-19 relief funds totaling over $1.8 million, based upon calculations by Arts Orange County.

"We are deeply grateful to each member of our County Board of Supervisors for being attentive to our report about the pandemic's devastating impact on our arts community and their willingness to include nonprofit arts organizations as eligible applicants to the federal CARES Act small business grant funds they distributed in their respective districts," commented ArtsOC President & CEO Rick Stein. "We especially wish to thank District 3 Supervisor Don Wagner and the City of Santa Ana for responding through dedicated grant programs for the artists, arts organizations and arts-related businesses in their communities."

The District 3 Arts Relief Program ($500,000) and the City of Santa Ana CARES Arts Relief Program ($500,000) were administered by the OC Arts and Culture Resilience Fund of Arts Orange County, Charitable Ventures and Orange County Community Foundation. ArtsOC also received $15,787 from the California Arts Council's CARES Act distribution from the National Endowment for the Arts to award grants to small BIPOC arts groups in Orange County. The Resilience fund also raised $159,000 in private gifts to award assistance to artists and arts organizations.

Included in the above tally were additional relief grants awarded to OC arts organizations from CARES Act funds administered by the National Endowment for the Arts and, through CalHumanities, from the National Endowment for the Humanities. ArtsOC advocated vigorously for that funding through OC's Congressional delegation and in partnership with Americans for the Arts.

Overall, from eleven different sources, 122 grants were awarded to arts organizations and 167 to individual artists. Some grants have not yet been announced publicly as paperwork is completed and there may be some additional funding through OC cities that have not yet conducted their own programs. Additionally, many organizations have been conducting their own independent relief campaigns; those figures are not included in the above total.

As of today, a second major federal relief package appears to be stalled until after the November 3 election. Such a package was expected to extend eligibility for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgivable loans that many OC arts organizations were able to secure as early as May but covered only 8 weeks of payroll expenses (PPP loans are NOT included in the above relief calculations). The new House bill also includes an additional infusion of relief money through allocations to states and localities and to the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

In April, ArtsOC released the results of a survey reporting the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on 42 local arts organizations. At that time, more than $15 million in losses were reported, as were employee layoffs. "We have not conducted a follow-up survey," Stein continued, "but more recent data from Americans for the Arts and Californians for the Arts have documented tens of billions of dollars in arts community losses, hundreds of thousands of employee layoffs, and little hope for a safe reopening until the pandemic will have surpassed a year of shutdown. The need for relief remains acute in our field."

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ArtsOC Receives Grant from Bank of America to Support Arts Leaders Programs

Arts Orange County (ArtsOC) has received a grant from Bank of America in support of its 2020-21 Professional Development Program. The program aims to elevate the knowledge and improve the skills of, as well as inspire, arts organization leadership in Orange County.

"We are deeply grateful to Bank of America for supporting this program," commented ArtsOC President & CEO Richard Stein. "Bank of America is known for not only investing philanthropic capital into nonprofits, but also helping nonprofit organizations strengthen their leadership skills. Thanks to their funding, ArtsOC is able to provide customized professional development programs addressing the specific needs of Orange County's arts leaders. The creative sector is a major contributor to the local economy, and these programs seek to ensure the arts community's ability to thrive."

The need for such a program has intensified as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and Arts Orange County greatly stepped up the frequency of its offerings. Since April, ArtsOC has hosted more than 30 virtual roundtables, enabling arts leaders to discuss the challenges they are confronting as well as to learn from their peers and experts in the field. ArtsOC has also presented seven trainings or briefings.

"Like so many industry sectors, the arts have been severely impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic - having to temporarily close their doors to patrons and audiences," said Allen Staff, Bank of America market president for Orange County. "Bank of America is committed to helping local arts leaders navigate these challenging times through its support of the ArtsOC Professional Development Program. The goal is to see arts organizations reopen safely because the arts help economies thrive, educate and enrich societies and create greater cultural understanding."
This year-round activity features a regular schedule of topical convenings that bring together various cohorts to learn and to share best practices and new ideas. These include the CEOs, Board Chairs,Chief Development Officers and Chief Marketing Officers of major arts institutions, including performing arts venues, producers and presenters, and museums and cultural centers. Other cohorts include University and Community College Arts Deans, City Arts Coordinators, Choral Organizations, Visual Arts Organizations, Dance Organizations, Small/Mid-sized Arts Organization Leaders, Arts Therapy Organization Leaders, and Emerging/Next Gen Arts Leaders.
Arts Orange County is the leader in building appreciation of, participation in and support for the arts and arts education throughout Orange County. 
It is a powerhouse in advancing Orange County's arts ecology, a trailblazer in advocating workforce development through arts education, a leader in building future audiences and a trendsetter in the world of nonprofit arts councils.

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