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Arts economic stimulus money trickles down from feds to locals

July 14, 2009 |  5:30 pm


ShovelReady Local nonprofit arts organizations that think they've got their shovels ready -- as the new buzz phrase puts it -- can apply for what remains of the federal economic stimulus money earmarked for funding jobs in the arts. 

The National Endowment for the Arts has already picked recipients for nearly $30 million of the $50 million set aside as the arts' share of the $787-billion federal economic stimulus package (that's a wee bit more than one-sixteen-thousandth for the arts). California nonprofit groups got $4.45 million.

But preserving a state and local prerogative, the NEA held back $250,000 each for L.A.'s two biggest government arts grant-making agencies: the city's Department of Cultural Affairs and the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. They get to re-gift the money to some of their cash-hungry constituencies.

Also, the California Arts Council -- famous for ranking last since 2003 among the nation's state government arts agencies in per capita spending and grantmaking power -- has an additional $502,400 to distribute. That's our share of the nearly $20 million in stimulus funds that the NEA set aside for state and regional governments' art agencies to divvy up.

Read on for how it will be done.

The main ground rules: Groups that already got stimulus money directly from the NEA can't double dip by applying again for a chunk of the $1 million the state, county and city arts agencies will award. And newcomers need not apply: The California Arts Council will only entertain applications from organizations it has granted money to since 2002-03, and the county and city arts agencies are seeking groups they've tapped during the past three years.

Together, the two local agencies expect to issue about 25 grants ranging from $15,000 to $45,000 each.

The state's applications will be available here on July 23, with a submission deadline of Aug. 24; the county and city applications are available now (here for the county and here for the city), and must be returned by Aug. 17. 

-- Mike Boehm

Related stories:

Arts funding: A cliffhanger in Washington.

Soprano's senator dad buries arts stimulus funding

Photo: Bodhi Silberling, 3, of Encino, clearly is shovel-ready, but probably not in line for a job under the federally funded arts economic stimulus grants that will be issued this fall by state, county and city agencies.

Credit: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times






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