Arts Midwest to give out $1.68 million to under-resourced arts and culture organizations

Torrie Allen, executive director of Arts Midwest. Photo: Courtesy of Tessitura via Arts Midwest

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation announced on Tuesday June 16 its initiative to grant 10 million in emergency grants to six United States Regional Arts Organizations (ROA).

Arts Midwest, will be partnering with the United States Regional Arts Organization to redistribute the funds across the Midwest targeting historically under-resourced arts and culture organizations.

“During times of darkness, the arts illuminate our shared humanity” Elizabeth Alexander president of the Mellon Foundation said.

The COVID-19 crisis has presented unprecedented challenges to the arts community. It is estimated that the industry will experience approximately 6.8 billion, almost 26 percent loss in revenue as a result. The pandemic also further exacerbates inequalities within the nation and the arts community.

In a press release Arts Midwest announced that the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund will seek to help historically under-resourced arts and culture organizations in the Midwest. The Mellon grants to the RAOs range from $1.27 million to $1.97 million and are determined by a formula based on population size and number of states served.

Arts Midwest will work with its state arts agency partners to distribute its $1.68 million share among small and mid-sized 501(c)3 arts organizations in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, and Wisconsin and the Native nations that share this geography by September 2020.

“Creativity can motivate us through the darkest of times, and inspires us to seek a better world. However, systemic oppression means that different communities have vastly unequal access to the resources and capital required to weather this pandemic. The United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund is a way to support our region in a time of need, and take one step towards making meaningful, lasting, structural change to eliminate these inequities” Torrie Allen, President & CEO of Arts Midwest said.

Anyone may nominate an arts organization to receive a $30,000 – $75,000 award by filling out a simple online form before July 8th, 2020. Organizations may also self-nominate to support their own work.  Arts Midwest will work with its partner state arts agencies to put together diverse advisory panels who will review all submissions, and invite a selected number of the nominated organizations to submit brief proposals.

For the nomination guidelines and award process, visit

About Cynthia Simba, Mshale Reporter

Cynthia is a graduate of the University of Minnesota School of Journalism. She has interned at Mshale and Voice of America and previously worked at the Minnesota Daily. She recently returned from Seoul, South Korea where she was an English educator.

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