Colorado Arts Relief Grant

The Colorado Arts Relief Fund provides $7.5 million to support arts, cultural and entertainment artists, crew members, and organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Funding through this bill will be distributed through two separate grant applications:

  • Colorado Arts Relief—Business and Organization
  • Colorado Arts Relief—Individuals

The funding period is from February 1 to May 31, 2021. Funding can be used to cover any personal or business expense. Funding amounts will be determined and distributed in an equitable manner based on number of applications and financial need.

  • For individuals, grant awards are one-time flat amounts up to $2,500.
  • For organizations, the funding amount will be based on the size of your organization's cash operating revenue loss from 2019 to 2020 (from 30% to 100%). Funding amounts will be determined based on the percentage revenue lost relative to budget size and proportionate to the size of your budget. There will be a cap on grants to larger organizations to ensure funds can be distributed to organizations of all sizes.

This funding initiative was passed by the State of Colorado legislature during the First Extraordinary Session of the 72nd General Assembly from the Small Business Relief Program created in Section 4-48.5-316, enacted by Senate Bill 20B-001.

This fund has two separate grant applications, one for businesses and organizations and one for individuals. You may only apply for one. If you are unsure which one you qualify for, please review the eligibility requirements.

 This grant is now closed. You can no longer apply for this program.

Overview

Type: Grants

For: Arts, cultural and entertainment artists, crew members and organizations

Amount: Depends on applicant

Application deadline: January 8, 2021 at 4 pm

OEDIT division: Colorado Creative Industries

Eligible organizations and businesses

Colorado Arts Relief Fund grants are open to Colorado-based for-profit, nonprofit and government organizations or businesses involved in the music, theater, dance, visual arts or film industry. You do not need to own a physical venue to be eligible.

If you have received Paycheck Protection Program loans or other federal aid, you can still apply for this grant. The only funding that makes an organization ineligible is that associated with funding included in section 24-32-129 in Senate Bill 20B-001, administered by the Division of Local Government in the Colorado Department of Local Affairs.

Organizations and businesses that operate a physical venue will be prioritized in review. Eligible organizations and businesses include, but are not limited to:

  • independent music venues
  • nonprofit and for-profit community theaters
  • galleries
  • art museums
  • performing arts venues
  • production companies
  • radio stations

Ineligible organizations include, but are not limited to:

  • sporting events
  • karaoke
  • exotic dancing
  • fitness
  • studios in private homes
  • private events (for example, galas and weddings)
  • chain movie theaters that own and/or operate multiple physical locations

To be eligible, organizations and businesses need to:

  • program live music, comedy, dance, theater, motion picture, visual arts or film and television as a primary driver of their business
  • operate under a business model that relies primarily on revenue generated through in-person programming, including ticket sales, admission fees, rental space, and in-person purchases
  • have 50% of the organization's revenue generated through these in-person activities
    • The intent of this requirement is to fund organizations and businesses that operate under a business model that relies primarily on revenue generated through in-person programming, including ticket sales, admission fees, rental space, and in-person purchases.
    • The organization doesn’t necessarily need to show a total earned income line item that is at least 50% of the org's total income. CCI will use the comprehensive information provided in the financials and application narrative to determine if the applicant meets the criteria for the business model.
  • have been fully operational prior to March 15, 2020
  • be for-profit, nonprofit, or a government entity
  • be registered as a Colorado business and in Good Standing with the Colorado Secretary of State – be current in annual corporate reports and charitable solicitation registration
  • have its primary business location in Colorado
  • provide proof demonstrating loss of income and/or increased costs directly due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Eligible individuals

Artists, musicians, dancers, performers, and crewmembers are eligible regardless of how they operate. So eligible applicants can be employees, 1099 contract workers, sole proprietors, or gig workers. If you received unemployment assistance or federal funding due to COVID-19, you are still eligible to apply for this grant.

We recommend that band members and members of any other type of collective that does not operate a physical venue apply as individuals. Artists, dancers, actors, musicians, and crew members are eligible to apply regardless of whether their employer applies for and/or receives funds through the business and organization fund.

To be eligible, an individual needs to:

  • be an arts, cultural, and entertainment artist or crew member, defined as individuals who work full-time or part-time in the music, dance, visual arts, theater, motion picture, or television industry
  • earn a significant portion of personal annual income (33% or more) through arts and culture activities
  • have been employed or been contracted to work as an arts, cultural, or entertainment artist or crew member prior to March 2020
  • have incurred a significant loss of income (33% or more based on 2019 annual income) as a direct result of the mandated closure of venues, galleries, or museums, or as a result of cancelled events and activities
  • be at least 18 years old
  • be a Colorado resident, as of March 15, 2020

Graduates from spring 2020 are not eligible to apply for this grant, unless they have previously earned the majority of their income in a creative field and lost work as a result of COVID-19.

Funding can be used to cover any personal or business expense.

Ineligible expenses

Ineligible expenses include:

  • capital improvements
  • new construction
  • renovation or restoration or purchase of major equipment
  • distributions to partners and business acquisitions
  • re-granting of grant funds

 This grant is now closed. You can no longer apply for this program.

No individual may be the lead applicant on more than one application.

Submit all application materials through the Colorado Creative Industries Grant portal. Log in to your account or create a new account. If you're having trouble navigating the grant portal, review the Navigating the CCI Grant Portal Guide. If you need additional support, email Colorado Creative Industries staff.

All users are required to log into the portal and complete the online application. All support materials are uploaded into the online system. No hard copies or emailed copies of the application or support materials will be accepted. We recommend that applicants register in the portal and review the online grant system with plenty of time before the deadline to allow staff proper time to assist with any questions or issues.

Application materials

Each narrative question in the online application allows for 350 words. You should prepare answers to the narrative questions in a word processing or notepad document, check the word count and then cut-and-paste into the online application.

Individuals will need to answer these questions:

  • Describe how your income or expenses have been adversely affected as a result of closures related to COVID-19.
  • Describe any additional financial responsibilities you have and/or barriers you have encountered to replacing lost personal income as a result of COVID-19.

Apply now   

 This grant is now closed. You can no longer apply for this program.

No organization, business, or individual may be the lead applicant on more than one application.

Submit all application materials through the Colorado Creative Industries Grant portal. Log in to your account or create a new account. If you're having trouble navigating the grant portal, review the Navigating the CCI Grant Portal Guide. If you need additional support, email Colorado Creative Industries staff.

All users are required to log into the portal and complete the online application. All support materials are uploaded into the online system. No hard copies or emailed copies of the application or support materials will be accepted. We recommend that applicants register in the portal and review the online grant system with plenty of time before the deadline to allow staff proper time to assist with any questions or issues.

Application materials

Organizations will need to answer these questions:

  • Provide a brief description of your organization or business.
  • Define your business or organization's mission or include a mission statement.
  • Define, in your own terms, the “community” that you are serving or strive to serve.
  • Please describe the significance related to the artistic, cultural and or historic relevance of this business or organization to the local community and/or population that it serves.
  • Discuss what diversity and inclusiveness mean to your organization or business. What are your organization's strengths and challenges concerning inclusiveness? How are you addressing the challenges?

Organizations will also need to provide the following documents:

  • three-year financial summary based on your organization’s:
    • most recently completed fiscal year (usually starts at the beginning of a quarter, such as April 1, July 1, or October 1; however, some organizations' fiscal year also coincides with the calendar year, which starts January 1)
    • projection of your current fiscal year
    • anticipated budget for your next fiscal year
  • a statement of your organization’s cash operating revenues for the calendar year 2019 and the calendar year 2020, signed by your board president, treasurer, accountant – do not send a balance sheet; use a profit and loss statement or a signed list of expenditures from your financial system
  • current Certificate of Good Standing from the Colorado Secretary of State

Apply now   

The application process will be administered by Colorado Creative Industries staff. Applications will be reviewed, scored with a standardized rubric, and ranked by reviewers with the involvement of others as deemed necessary. Applicants will be notified by email in January of the result of the funding recommendations.

December 2020 Grant information and staff support available
January 8, 2021 Deadline to submit applications
January 2021 Review of applications
January 31, 2021 Funding decisions announced 
February 1 to May 31, 2021 Funding period
June 1, 2021 Final report deadline by 4pm


Reviewers will evaluate and rank individual and organization applications based on:

  • severity of loss or increased expenses (demonstration of an immediate need based on current financial strain directly due to the COVID-19 pandemic)
  • barriers to replacing lost personal income
  • geographic location

Reviewers will consider an equitable distribution of funds across the state.

For organizations, funding will be prioritized by the extent of financial hardship due to closures related to COVID-19 and are at the highest risk of permanent closure of a physical venue. Priority will also be given to venues that have a significant artistic, cultural impact and/or historic relevance to the local community. Preference will also be given to organizations and businesses that are owned by or that support historically marginalized communities.

Grant recipients will be required to submit a final report due June 1, 2021 at 4 pm. The final report will ask in general terms how the funding was spent. Colorado Creative Industries has the right to withhold, reduce or cancel grants if an applicant:

  • does not notify Colorado Creative Industries of applying for funding from other opportunities offered within Senate Bill 20B-001
  • fails to comply with the terms of the grant award requirements

As a condition of the grant, Colorado Creative Industries requires the recipient of public funds to comply with all state laws and regulations pertaining to an audit.

All applications accepted for funding become official records of the State of Colorado and are subject to an audit. We require open access to accounting records for funds expended under the terms of contract award for the purpose of audit examination, reference, or transcription.

Additional conditions for organizations and businesses

As a condition of the grant, Colorado Creative Industries requires the recipient of public funds to comply with all state laws and regulations pertaining to the following:

  • Fair Labor Standards: including minimum wage and working conditions
  • Nondiscrimination: including statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of age, race, sex, color, creed, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, ancestry or marital status
  • Fair Language: In compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, grant recipients must take adequate steps to ensure that people with limited English proficiency receive the 6 language assistance necessary to afford them meaningful access to programs, activities, and services.
  • Access for People with Disabilities: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities. All events funded by the Creative Industries must be accessible to persons with disabilities, including those with visual, hearing, mobility and learning impairments. Questions about the Americans with Disabilities Act may be directed to VSA arts of Colorado at 303-777-0797.
  • Credit/Acknowledgment: Grantee agrees to send a letter to their state legislators, informing them of the importance of state funding.

Program Manager

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