The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) today announced it is accepting applications for the Colorado Arts Relief Fund for Individuals and the Colorado Arts Relief Fund for Business and Organizations. The two funds are made possible by a General Assembly funding initiative passed during the Colorado Legislature’s December special session. Online applications will be accepted through 4:00 PM MT on January 8, 2021 on the Colorado Creative Industries grant portal.
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. As COVID-19 continues to impact Colorado, arts and culture organizations are witnessing dramatic, unprecedented losses in employment and revenue. Colorado’s largest and fastest growing creative industries, including music, theater, dance, and visual arts, have also been among the hardest hit by the impacts of COVID-19. Estimates are that between April and July 2020, creative industries as a whole will lose 59.6K jobs and $2.6B. The estimated losses will contract the region’s creative economy by 31% in terms of employment and 8% in annual sales revenue.
“Colorado’s arts, culture and entertainment industries play a critical role in our economy and are essential parts of our recovery and resiliency,” said Colorado Creative Industries Director Margaret Hunt. “The Colorado Arts Relief program offers direct relief to individuals, businesses and organizations most severely impacted by COVID-19 capacity restrictions.”
“Our artists and creative community are the lifeblood of Colorado and part of why I’m so proud to call this State home,” said Representative Leslie Herod. “This program helps Colorado’s creative sector endure while preserving our vibrant reputation as a great place to live, visit, and do business. I’m grateful to my colleagues Senators Winter and Priola and Representative Sandridge for championing this important cause with me.”
The COVID-19 Relief Program for Arts, Cultural and Entertainment Artists, Crew Members and Organizations (Colorado Arts Relief program) is a funding initiative 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 initiative directs up to $7.5 million for relief payments to eligible artists, crew members and organizations. Funding through this bill will be distributed through two separate grant applications: 1) Colorado Arts Relief—Business and Organization and, 2) Colorado Arts Relief—Individuals. The programs are administered by Colorado Creative Industries in partnership with Redline.
The Colorado Arts Relief Fund for individuals will provide grants up to $2,500 designed to assist arts, culture, and entertainment artists and crewmembers who are experiencing income loss due to government-mandated closures and have been unable to generate meaningful income to replace income lost through the cancellation of events, classes, performances, and other related work.
The Colorado Arts Relief Fund for businesses and organizations will provide general operating support grants to arts, culture, and entertainment organizations who operate under a business model in which ticket sales and/or physical foot traffic direct a significant portion of total annual revenue that has been financially affected by venue closures due to the pandemic.
These key economic tools foster economic stability and recovery by retaining Colorado’s arts industry jobs and businesses while preserving community cultural assets strained during the COVID-19 public health emergency.