By Margaret Jackson / NewsBreak Denver
(Denver, Colo.) Twenty Colorado artists hard hit by the global coronavirus pandemic have been awarded $300,000 in American Rescue Plan funding through round 1 of the Colorado Corps ARP grant. The initiative is supported through the state’s partnership agreement with the National Endowment for the Arts.
The grants, ranging from $6,500 to $25,000, provide money to individual artists for specific, definable projects that connect artists and organizations to local initiatives. Funded by the American Rescue Plan (ARP), a total of $500,000 is dedicated to supporting employment opportunities for artists impacted by COVID-19 by building new structures and partnerships that will help to sustain Colorado’s creative sector.
Colorado’s creative industries, including music, theater, dance and visual arts, have been among the industries suffering the most from COVID-19. Between April and July 2020, the creative industry lost an estimated 59,600 jobs and $2.6 billion. The estimated losses resulted in the region’s creative economy shrinking by 31% in employment and 8% in annual sales revenue.
“Colorado’s arts, culture and entertainment industries play a critical role not only in our economy but they also provide power of expression and engagement with members of our communities,” Colorado Creative Industries Director Margaret Hunt said. “The Colorado Creative Corps ARP grant offers direct funding to individuals to support employment opportunities for artists impacted by COVID-19.”
Arts, culture and entertainment play a crucial role in Colorado’s economy, with higher-than-average industry growth in all regions for the state between 2010 and 2019. Creative industries generated $31.6 billion in sales of goods and services in 2019, representing 4% of all goods and services sold in the state — even more than mining or transportation.