Several Marin Arts Groups Receive Recovery Funds from Grant Program

Fifteen Marin County nonprofit arts organizations are getting an early holiday gift from the Marin Cultural Association this year.

The Marin Cultural Association–a nonprofit under the umbrella of the county’s department of cultural services–recognized that other Marin arts organizations were being adversely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. In response the MCA launched an Arts & Culture Recovery Fund to provide financial support in the form of grants to help these groups stay afloat during the economic downturn that’s come from shelter-in-place orders.

Now, after an application process overseen by a diverse panel of Marin artists and arts leaders, the MCA has awarded 15 Marin County arts organizations with grants totaling $51,575. According to the MCA, these grants will enable Marin’s creative professionals to recover from pandemic-related financial losses and help the culturally-rich arts community to survive in Marin.

“Art teaches us empathy, understanding and appreciation for those who have had different life experiences. The arts reflect not only who we are, but who we aspire to be,” Gabriella Calicchio, Director of Marin County Cultural Services and MCA Executive Director, says in a statement. “Even before Covid-19, the arts in Marin were threatened by the reality of surviving in a community that has huge disparities racially and economically.”

The Arts & Culture Recovery Fund began with initial contributions from the California Arts Council, the Marin Community Foundation, the Fenwick Foundation, private donations and a separate $15,000 from CARES Act funding. Grants were awarded to arts organizations that reflect and serve Marin’s diverse communities.

The CARES Act grants were awarded to Surviving the Odds Project, Enriching Lives Through Music, Marin Theatre Company, Marin Shakespeare,
MC Arts & Culture, Youth In Arts and AlterTheater.

“This grant from the Marin Cultural Association will enable us to begin ways of creating online approaches to what we are now up against during these tough times,” says John Wallace, Founder/CEO of Surviving the Odds Project, in a statement.

Marin Theatre Company, MC Arts & Culture and Youth In Arts also received separate pandemic recover grants from the MCA. The remainder of the Arts & Culture Recovery Fund grants were awarded to Mountain Play, Bread & Roses, Gallery Route One, O’Hanlon Center for the Arts, Mill Valley Philharmonic, MarinArts, Marin History Museum and the Mill Valley Fall Arts Festival.

According to a Covid-19 Arts & Culture Sector Impact Survey conducted in by the California Arts Council in March, California’s creative sector has suffered the highest job losses of any industry due to Covid-19. This is due to the widespread cancellation of performances, events and educational offerings as well as venue closures. In addition, a great 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.

Formed in 2015, Marin Cultural Association 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 current outpouring of recovery funds and a second round of funding to come in early 2021, MCA hopes to keep the arts culture alive in Marin County until Covid-19 is eradicated.

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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