The Bloomington Arts Commission and the Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association (BUEA) announced $80,800 in grant funding to 26 nonprofit organizations that foster the arts and cultivate community in Bloomington, to help overcome challenges and fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The BAC and the BUEA restructured existing programs — the Arts Project Grant program and the Zone Arts grants program, respectively — to help sustain organizations hit by COVID-19-related constraints and cancellations through Grants for the Arts from the 2020 Arts Fund.

The 26 organizations were evaluated according to organizational capacity, operation size, community impact, artistic quality, and effects from the pandemic. They represent a range from visual arts and letters to music and theater.

Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton

“The arts help define Bloomington, enrich our lives, and provide much of our unique appeal as a destination,” said Mayor John Hamilton.  “I’m so pleased the BAC and BUEA have focused on getting this funding out to our arts and culture organizations, who have faced canceled shows, exhibits, and events. Thanks to all who are adjusting so nimbly to the pressing needs of these beloved and critically important organizations.”

Sean Starowitz, Assistant Director for the Arts and Staff Liaison to the BAC

“The BAC and BUEA wanted to respond directly to the needs of the community during these unprecedented times,” commented Sean Starowitz, Assistant Director for the Arts and Staff Liaison to the BAC.  “This type of operational investment still supports the tradition of assisting arts organizations that propel the vitality and diversity of arts experiences available to the Bloomington community, while providing necessary assistance in a time of shifting business models and building digital experiences.”

Traditionally, the BAC and BUEA have made grants to expand the economic development potential of the arts in Bloomington. The focus of both grant-making programs pivoted when artists and arts organizations indicated a need for operational support in a survey administered in late March.

“Although the Bloomington Arts Commission had already opened the grant program for applications at that point, we felt it was our duty to quickly restructure this year’s program in a way that would best support our local organizations,” said BAC Chairperson Bryony Gomez-Palacio.  “We look forward to an ongoing conversation with grantees to enable continued resource sharing and collaboration in our arts and cultural sector.”

The BAC and BUEA have been working alongside the Economic Stabilization and Recovery Working Group (ES&R), convened by Mayor Hamilton in March to oversee the City’s response to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. ES&R has also been identifying local economic impacts, business needs, resources, and gaps; establishing a mechanism for providing local government funding relief and wraparound services; and facilitating community partnerships. ES&R is administering the Rapid Response Fund, which has provided much-needed support to local businesses in Bloomington over the past few weeks. The ES&R Working Group includes local community leaders representing the City’s Department of Economic and Sustainable Development, the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation, the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, Dimension Mill, Inc., and CFDI Friendly Bloomington.

The following organizations received Grants for the Arts from the 2020 Arts Fund:

  • Artisan Alley – $3,500
  • Bloomington Bach Cantata Project – $1250
  • Bloomington Academy of Film and Theatre – $4,000
  • Buskirk Chumley Theater – $5,500
  • Bloomington Early Music Festival – $1750
  • Bloomington Chamber Singers – $3,250
  • Bloomington Creative Glass Center – $3,250
  • Bloomington Playwrights Project – $5,250
  • Bloomington Symphony Orchestra – $2,000
  • Cardinal Stage Company – $6,000
  • Forgotten Clefs – $1,250
  • Gallery Walk – $3,500
  • Limestone Post – $1,550
  • Lotus Education and Arts Foundation – $5,250
  • MCCSC Troupe 5583 – $750
  • Monroe County Civic Theater – $1,250
  • Monroe County History Center – $4,500
  • Midway Music Speaks – $4,000
  • Pictura Gallery – $3,000
  • Reimagining Opera For Kids – $2,250
  • Shakespeare’s Ear – $1,250
  • Stages Bloomington – $3,500
  • WFHB – $5,250
  • Windfall Dancers – $3,250
  • Women Writing for (a) Change – $3,250
  • Writers Guild at Bloomington – $1,250