More than $800K in federal pandemic relief to aid Colorado arts and culture


    The Ogden Theatre, a live music venue on Colfax Avenue in Denver, is seen on May 4, 2021. (Quentin Young/Colorado Newsline)

    Colorado’s creative sector is getting an infusion of federal relief funds to help the industry weather the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

    The National Endowment for the Arts  announced on Tuesday that Colorado Creative Industries will receive $827,800 in the first round of federal funding through the American Rescue Plan. Prior to the pandemic, the creative industries represented $31.6 billion in sales in 2019 and supported 191,248 jobs throughout Colorado, according to a press release from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. 

    “On behalf of Colorado Creative Industries, we are deeply appreciative to our federal partners for this new funding from the American Rescue Plan,” said Margaret Hunt, director of CCI, a state agency. “Arts and culture play an important role in Colorado’s economy and these funds will fuel industry recovery and we will emerge stronger than ever.”

    CCI staff members will review federal guidelines to determine how to distribute the funds, according to the press release. The funds represent 40% of the total allotment for the arts in the ARP. The remaining 60% will be awarded by the Arts Endowment directly to nonprofit organizations to help support jobs and keep venues open.

    On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan, which included $135 million for the National Endowment for the Arts to support organizations and jobs in the arts sector that have been impacted by the pandemic. 

    “The arts are vital to Colorado’s economy and way of life. This much-needed funding will help sustain art organizations, support artists, and increase public access to the arts at a critical time,” Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet said. 

    Funding opportunities and COVID-19 resources specific to the creative industries are detailed on the Office of Economic Development and International Trade website.