The Arts and Education Council has awarded $495,500 in Operating Support Grants to 20 arts organizations in the bi-state region. The grants, made possible by contributions from thousands of individual, corporate and foundation donors, are part of the $1.7 million the Arts and Education Council invests in the community through grants and programs each year.

Aside from Operating Support Grants, the Arts and Education Council also offers program grants, grants for rural arts organizations and new arts programs, as well as grants for teachers who want to bring art education into their classroom.

Operating Support Grants provide ongoing, unrestricted funding to arts organizations whose programming supports the goal of the Arts and Education Council to drive community impact by promoting the Elements of a Vibrant Community. The Elements, as defined by the Arts and Education Council, are the arts’ ability to inspire kids and engage minds, build innovation and creativity, energize communities and forge connections, bridge cultural divides and enrich lives.

Operating Support Grant applicants are asked to address how they support the Elements of a Vibrant Community. The 2019-2020 application focused on applicants’ commitment to the idea that when the arts reflect and celebrate the diversity of our community, residents build a greater understanding and appreciation of cultural differences. Each grantee supports this Element differently, as represented from the following examples.

Cinema St. Louis provides opportunities for audiences to experience a variety of perspectives. Throughout the United States, distribution of foreign films continues to diminish and films not produced by Hollywood studios are hard to find. Cinema St. Louis brings these international and alternative viewpoints to St. Louis audiences providing films that address a wide rangeof cultural, social and political issues through programs like the St. Louis International Film Festival and Q-Fest, which shines a spotlight on the lives of LGBTQ people.

Craft Alliance Center of Art + Design builds programs recognizing that craft is universal and transcends many barriers. Beginning Aug. 30, a new exhibition of Fidencio Martinez-Perez’s fiber work will provide opportunities for dialogue as his work draws from his experiences as a participant in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Jazz St. Louis bridges cultural divides by increasing access to the arts locally. Ninety-nine percent of Jazz St. Louis’s education and community engagement programs are presented free of charge in order to eliminate financial barriers to the arts. They also present innovative programming for diverse audiences like a sensory friendly session of their program Juice Box Jazz. These are just a few examples of the numerous ways our grantees build bridges. Your investment in the Arts and Education Council keeps art and programs like these happening in our community year-round so that we might all experience a more vibrant community and increased quality of life.

Grant applications were reviewed by a volunteer panel from the Arts and Education Council board of directors and evaluated based on community impact, particularly how the organization supports the goals of the Elements of a Vibrant Community, and organizational capacity to drive sustained impact in the community.

Operating Support Grants represent a portion of the $1.7 million the Arts and Education Council invests in the community through grants and programs each year. For more information about our grantees click here.

Your gift to the Arts and Education Council furthers our ability to invest in organizations like these that make the St. Louis region a more vibrant arts community for all.

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