.Recovery Fund Offers Lifeline to Nonprofit Marin Arts Groups Impacted by Pandemic

As the North Bay heads into the holiday season, Marin County recently graduated from “red” to “orange” status in regards to Covid-19 risk, allowing some businesses to reopen for the first time, while others can expand their operating capacity.

Still, the pandemic’s impact on Marin County’s economy, and especially the impact on nonprofit organizations and arts organizations, has been severe. According to a statewide Covid-19 Arts & Culture Sector Impact Survey, California’s creative sector has suffered the highest job losses of any industry due to the widespread cancellation of performances, events and other educational offerings, as well as venue closures. In addition, a majority of creative workers do not qualify for safety-net protections such as paid family leave, disability insurance, paid sick leave or worker’s compensation.

Even with the reduced risk status, many Marin County arts and music venues are still closed or only open at limited capacity or by appointment only, meaning it could be a blue Christmas financially for Marin creatives and nonprofits.

To help offset the pandemic’s economic downturn facing Marin creatives, the Marin Cultural Association (MCA) has launched an Arts & Culture Recovery Fund that will provide Marin County nonprofit arts organizations a way to stay afloat. The recovery fund gathers together a variety of grants and a broad array of funders, and nonprofit organizations can apply online for a grant until November 11. Grant awards will be announced December 18 following review by a community grants panel.

“Our local artists and arts organizations are struggling to survive the cancellation of programs and services,” said Gabriella Calicchio, Director of Cultural Services and Executive Director of MCA, in a statement. “We are incredibly thankful for the initial funding from the CARES Act, the California Arts Council, and the Marin Community Foundation, which allows us to support those organizations left most vulnerable by the pandemic.”

Recovery fund grants will be designed to further one or more of the goals of the Marin Arts & Culture Plan, which was adopted by the Marin County Board of Supervisors in May 2019. Those goals include advancing and enriching Marin’s arts organizations for sustainable and accessible cultural offerings.

In particular, the recovery fund’s first set of grants will be focused on Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) organizations and those supporting BIPOC communities throughout Marin. All applications go through a diverse panel of Marin artists and arts leaders, who will evaluate each nonprofit’s severity of need and cultural benefit to the community.

Formed in 2015, Marin Cultural Association–a nonprofit under the umbrella of the county’s department of cultural services–is leading the development of a comprehensive arts and culture master plan for Marin that was born out of data that showed diminishing performance and exhibit opportunities in the county, especially for low-income and minority communities. Before the pandemic, MCA annually presented over a dozen art exhibits by local creatives as well as performing showcases. Now, with the recovery fund, MCA hopes to keep the arts culture alive in Marin County until Covid-19 is eradicated.

Get more info on the Arts & Culture Recovery Fund and apply online at Marincultural.org.

Charlie Swanson
Charlie Swanson is a North Bay native and an arts and music writer and editor who has covered the local scene since 2014.
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