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Los Angeles County gives out arts grants totaling $4.42 million

August 6, 2009 |  1:15 pm

Opera The Los Angeles County Arts Commission will distribute $4.42 million in county-funded grants to nonprofit cultural organizations -- a 2% belt-tightening from last year's total. The funding is going to 153 groups, with an average award of $28,876.

The grants range from $4,100 for the Classical Theatre Lab to help fund 12 free performances, to the top award of $286,600 to Los Angeles Opera for educational programs for adults and seniors.

Other top recipients are Center Theatre Group, which will get $268,300 to make shows more accessible and affordable for "physically and economically challenged patrons"; the American Film Institute, which will receive $229,500 to support its AFI Fest; and the Geffen Playhouse, which will get $107,900 for performances and workshops.

“The fiscal situation has forced a small reduction ... but the county understands the value of the services our cultural organizations provide," Don Knabe, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said in a prepared statement. "The support ... has a ripple effect in terms of free access to events, arts education programs and performances, exhibitions that enrich our lives and build bridges between communities and, of course, jobs.”

Under arts commission policy, the grants are for two years, and this year's recipients won't be eligible again until 2011.

The arts commission and the city of Los Angeles' Department of Cultural Affairs have received an additional $250,000 each from the National Endowment for the Arts to pass on to local arts nonprofits as part of the federal government's economic stimulus plan. Together, the two local agencies expect to award 25 grants to groups with annual budgets of $1.5 million or less. The application deadline is Aug. 17, and grant winners are to be announced in October. 

-- Mike Boehm

Photo: Marina Poplavskaya in the L.A. Opera production of "La Traviata" this year. Credit: Christine Cotter / Los Angeles Times