DENVER -- Colorado Creative Industries, a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), announced today that 893 grantees have been awarded $15.4 million in COVID-19 economic relief funding through the Colorado Arts Relief Fund. This funding initiative was passed by the State of Colorado legislature and created in Section 1-24-48.5-116, enacted by HB21-1285. This program previously provided $7.5 million in early 2021 in its first round of funding.
Colorado’s largest and fastest-growing creative industries, including music, theater, dance, and visual arts, have been among the hardest hit by the impacts of COVID-19. Estimates are that between April and July 2020, creative industries as a whole lost 59,600 jobs and $2.6 billion. The estimated losses contracted the region’s creative economy by 31% in terms of employment and 8% in annual sales revenue.
“Colorado’s vibrant creative industries are a cornerstone of our economy and our way of life,” said Governor Jared Polis. “These grants will keep businesses open, restore jobs, and replace revenue, all of which are key to ensuring a strong recovery for this critical sector.”
Arts, culture and entertainment play a key role in Colorado’s economy with higher than average industry growth in all regions of the state from 2010-2019. Creative Industries generated $31.6 billion in sales of goods and services in 2019. This figure represents 4% of all goods and services sold within the state, more than mining or transportation.
“Colorado’s arts, culture and entertainment industries play a critical role in our economy and are essential to our recovery and resiliency,” said Colorado Creative Industries Director Margaret Hunt. “The Colorado Arts Relief program offers direct funding to the individuals, businesses and organizations most severely impacted by COVID-19 – with priority given to those that weren’t funded in the first round of funding earlier in the year.”
The COVID-19 Relief Program for Arts, Cultural and Entertainment Artists, Crew Members and Organizations (Colorado Arts Relief Grant) was enacted by Senate Bill 20B-001. This initiative directed up to $15.4 million for relief payments to eligible artists, crew members and organizations. Funding through this bill was distributed through two separate grant applications:
- Colorado Arts Relief—Business and Organization
- Colorado Arts Relief—Individuals
The grants were administered by Colorado Creative Industries in partnership with Redline. The Colorado Arts Relief Fund for individuals awarded $1,798,000 million to 641 individuals in 36 counties in Colorado. Grants to individuals were one-time flat amounts up to $4,000.
The Colorado Arts Relief Fund for businesses and organizations awarded general operating support grants totaling $13,320,000 to 252 arts, culture, and entertainment organizations in 36 counties across Colorado. Award amounts were based on the organizational budget size for fiscal year 2019.