It is difficult to realize that it has only been a couple of months since COVID-19 forced almost the entire world to shelter-in-place, force businesses to close and millions to apply for unemployment benefits. The arts were not immune to the tragedy. Globally artists had to cancel or postpone performances and tours, losing income that was already scarce. Prior to the pandemic, here in California, artists were reeling from the effects and/or potential financial losses while trying to meet the guidelines of the new AB5 law.
While the federal and state leaders attempt to help citizens financially, the California Arts Council (CAC) also rose to meet the challenge of helping the artists and the venues that present them by creating emergency grant funding. On April 28, 2020, the CAC placed the following announcement on their website, “The National Endowment for the Arts awarded 40 percent of their CARES appropriation directly to state and regional arts agencies. The California Arts Council received $710,400 to be re-granted to California recipients”.
One of those recipients was the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts who received $20,000 from the California Arts Council. As I wrote about in my May 16, 2019 article for LADC, headed by Artistic Director, Paul Crewes, The Wallis was the first major venue in Los Angeles to use a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts toward presenting only locally based dance companies on its 2019/2020 season. Sadly, that historic event was cut short in early March of this year. Dance companies whose performances were cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak were Blue 13 Dance Company, Heidi Duckler Dance, and BODYTRAFFIC.
The grant is not for performances, but the $20,000 grant from the California Arts Council will help support its program called The Wallis School Partners Program that gives an priceless opportunity for LA County K-12 students to attend performances that they most likely would not otherwise be able to see. Performances that feature renown artists from around the globe. The Wallis School Partners Program is “part of GRoW @ The Wallis, the umbrella for a robust mix of education and outreach programs at The Wallis”.
This was the largest financial investment in the California Arts Council’s history, amounting to nearly $30 million, an approximately $5 million increase over last year. More than 1,500 nonprofit organizations and units of government throughout the state were the recipients of the California Arts Council Grants, a council with a long history of providing financial funding to support for the arts in spite of whichever political party is in power.
According to The Wallis’ press release on May 11, 2020, the California Arts Council grants were awarded to programs that focused on “ access, equity and inclusion; community vibrancy; and arts learning and engagement; and directly benefiting our state’s communities, with youth, veterans, returned citizens and California’s historically marginalized communities key among them. Successful projects aligned closely with the agency’s vision of a California where all people flourish with universal access to and participation in the arts.”
Of the many organizations in Los Angeles that have received grants, those related directly to Dance include Benita Bike DanceArt, Bernard Brown/BBMoves, Brockus Project Dance, California Dance Institute, The Colburn School, Collage Dance Theatre, Contra Tiempo, Dance and Dialogue, The Dance Resource Center of Greater Los Angeles, Dance Studio Showtime – Katusha, Dancessence, Diavolo Dance Theatre, Floricanto Dance Theatre, Highways Performance & Gallery, Infinite Flow – A Wheelchair Dance Company, Invertigo Dance Theatre, Jazzantiqua, Leela Institute, Lineage Dance Company, Los Angeles Choreographers and Dancers, Lula Washington Dance Theater, Malaya Filipino American Dance Arts, Pieter, Pony Box Dance Theatre, Suarez Dance Theater, Syzygy Dance Project, Versa-Style Dance Company, and Viver Brasil Dance Company. To see the entire list of organizations that received funding from the CAC, click here.
LA Dance Chronicle has continued to cover dance during the COVID-19 outbreak and we hope that these and other grants help to save what has enjoyed a ten year boom of Dance in Los Angeles.
Written by Jeff Slayton for LADC, May 12, 2020.
Featured image: The Minghella in association with BODYTRAFFIC Project – Photo by Rob Daly