City of Chicago Awards $2 Million in CityArts Program Grants to Local Arts Organizations

August 14, 2020 By anne-cauley

CHICAGO, IL — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) are pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 CityArts Program grants. Each year, the CityArts Program encourages Chicago-based, arts and culture-focused organizations of all sizes to attain artistic excellence and financial stability by making general operating grants across all artistic disciplines. This year, the Program is awarding general operating grants between $2,000 to $30,000 – and special project grants ranging from $2,500 to $56,200 – to 191 nonprofit organizations for a total of $2 million. The project grants are being awarded in alignment with the Year of Chicago Music, now continuing through 2021.

“The COVID-19 outbreak is devastating the creative sector, and the need is tremendous,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “In these very challenging times, the City of Chicago is supporting its local arts organizations through the CityArts Program, other cultural grant programs and the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund. Still, we hope that other public and private sources of funding step up to ensure the sector’s immediate and long-term viability.”

DCASE has more than doubled its grants in general operating expenses – unrestricted funds that may be used however the grantee wishes – over the last four years, in recognition that these are increasingly critical for nonprofit organizations to carry out their missions. Further, to make more impactful grants to arts organizations during this time of need, the number of general operating grants made through this program has increased by 25% over 2019 and the average general operating grant amount has increased by 20%. These increases were made possible in part by a $250,000 award from the National Endowment for the Arts as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This grant contributes funds to the CityArts Program for distribution to local nonprofit arts and cultural organizations.

The 2020 CityArts Program project grants are awarded in alignment with the City’s Year of Chicago Music to strengthen Chicago’s music landscape – one of the most influential music communities on the globe – to highlight its legacy, expand its audience and grow its capacity. Funded projects include audience development and marketing strategies for Chicago musicians and music organizations; initiatives that are documenting, celebrating and preserving Chicago’s unique musical legacy; and innovative programs that could serve as replicable models for the industry. Examples of the organizations supported through project grants include Arts & Business Council of Chicago in partnership with Chicago Reader (Chicago Music Website), Arts Alliance Illinois in partnership with 2112 and CCE (Chicago License Local Initiative), Asian Improv aRts Midwest (Archiving Chicago’s Asian American Jazz & Creative Music Collaborations) and the Black Ensemble Theater (Black Ensemble Intercultural Music Festival).

Mayor Lightfoot is committed to supporting Chicago’s rich arts and culture community and last fall announced a $1 million increase in City funding for the DCASE Cultural Grants Program, bringing the total budget to $2.7 million. This increased budget fulfills a commitment to prioritize equitable grantmaking and microfinancing to individual artists, organizations and arts corridors throughout Chicago, particularly in communities of need.

Earlier this year, the City of Chicago and DCASE also announced 158 project-based Individual Artists Program grants ranging from $850 to $5,000 — to resident Chicago artists across all artistic disciplines including film & media arts, literary arts, performing arts (theatre/dance), music and visual arts/design. Additionally, 13 high-qualified artists received the Esteemed Artist Award, a special new $10,000 grant for expenses associated with an artist’s practice, such as studio rental, supplies, travel and equipment.

The City of Chicago has also partnered with the State of Illinois, Arts Alliance Illinois and the broader philanthropic community to provide financial relief to workers and organizations in the creative industries impacted by COVID-19. Since its launch in April 2020, the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund has awarded well over $5 million to 1,460 artists and 233 organizations across the state. The fund is administered by Arts Alliance Illinois in partnership with 3Arts and Arts Work Fund, long-standing and trusted service organizations and grantmakers.

In addition to this important relief fund, Arts Alliance Illinois’s COVID Relief Policy Agenda for the Arts is demanding stronger federal support for nonprofits and small businesses, especially in communities of color; continuation of expanded unemployment benefits; increased incentives for charitable giving; and federal assistance in offsetting state and local revenue shortfalls.

Since 1984, the Cultural Grants Program has served as a catalyst to foster a robust, healthy arts community where artists, non-profit arts and culture and creative industries thrive. For more information, please visit chicagoculturalgrants.org.

2020 CityArts Program Grant Recipients

  • 3Arts, Inc.
  • 826CHI
  • A.B.L.E.
  • About Face Theatre Collective
  • Access Contemporary Music
  • Adventure Stage Chicago
  • Africa International House USA
  • Alliance Française de Chicago
  • American Blues Theater
  • ARC Educational Foundation
  • Art on Sedgwick
  • ArtReach Chicago
  • Arts & Business Council of Chicago
  • Arts Alliance Illinois
  • Arts of Life, Inc.
  • Asian Improv aRts: Midwest
  • Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians
  • Auditorium Theatre
  • Awakenings Art
  • Babes with Blades Theatre Company
  • Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture
  • Beyond This Point Performing Arts Association
  • Black Ensemble Theater
  • Blair Thomas & Company
  • Blues Kids Foundation
  • Cedille Chicago
  • Changing Worlds
  • Chicago Architecture Foundation
  • Chicago Art Department
  • Chicago Arts and Music Project
  • Chicago Balinese Gamelan
  • Chicago Blues Revival
  • Chicago Center for Arts and Technology
  • Chicago Children’s Theatre
  • Chicago Children’s Choir
  • Chicago Collections Consortium
  • Chicago Composers Orchestra
  • Chicago Cultural Alliance
  • Chicago Dance History Project
  • Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble
  • Chicago Film Society
  • Chicago Humanities Festival
  • Chicago Independent Radio Project (CHIRP)
  • Chicago Jazz Philharmonic
  • Chicago Latino Theater Alliance
  • Chicago Metamorphosis Orchestra Project
  • Chicago Moving Company
  • Chicago Printers Guild
  • Chicago Public Media
  • Chicago Shakespeare Theater
  • Chicago Sinfonietta
  • Chicago Tap Theatre
  • Chicago Theatre Group, Inc.
  • Chicago West Community Music Center
  • Chicago Youth Shakespeare
  • Chicago Architecture Biennial.
  • Cinema/Chicago
  • CircEsteem
  • Clinard Dance
  • Collaboraction Theatre Company
  • Comfort Station
  • Community TV Network
  • Court Theatre Fund
  • Creative Chicago Reuse Exchange (CCRX)
  • Culture/Math
  • Dance in the Parks
  • DanceWorks Chicago
  • Deeply Rooted Dance Theater
  • Design Museum of Chicago
  • Eighth Blackbird Performing Arts Association
  • Elastic Arts Foundation
  • Enrich Chicago
  • Ensemble Dal Niente
  • Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater
  • Experimental Sound Studio
  • Facets Multi-Media, Inc.
  • Federacion Jalisciense del Medio Oeste de los Estado Unidos
  • Fifth House Ensemble
  • Filament Theatre Ensemble
  • Filter Photo
  • Forward Momentum Chicago
  • Free Lunch Academy
  • Free Street Theater
  • Friends of the Gamelan, Inc.
  • Fulcrum Point New Music Project
  • Gene Siskel Film Center
  • Green Star Movement
  • Gus Giordano’s Jazz Dance Chicago
  • Hedwig Dances
  • Homeroom
  • Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
  • Hyde Park Jazz Festival
  • Hyde Park School of Dance
  • Hyde Park Youth Sinfonia
  • Hypertext Magazine & Studio
  • Ignition Community Glass
  • Independent Film Alliance
  • Instituto Cervantes of Chicago
  • Interrobang Theatre Project
  • Intonation Music
  • Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art
  • Jackalope Theatre Company
  • Kalapriya Foundation, Center for Indian Performing Arts
  • Khecari
  • KLEO Center
  • Kuumba Lynx
  • Lampo
  • Latitude
  • Lawyers for the Creative Arts
  • Little Black Pearl
  • Live the Spirit Residency
  • Lucky Plush Productions
  • Lyric Opera of Chicago
  • MAKE Literary Productions
  • Mandala South Asian Performing Arts
  • Marwen Foundation
  • Media Burn Archive
  • Mexican Folkloric Dance Company of Chicago
  • Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago
  • Music of the Baroque
  • Musical Arts Institute
  • NAJWA Dance Corps
  • National Cambodian Heritage Museum & Killing Fields Memorial Museum & Killing Fields Memorial
  • National Public Housing Museum
  • Natya Dance Theatre
  • New Music Chicago
  • New Rhythm Arts Center
  • Next Level Society
  • Nothing Without a Company
  • One City at VanderCook College of Music
  • Opera-Matic
  • Otherworld Theatre Company
  • Pegasus Theatre Chicago
  • People’s Music School
  • Prop Thtr
  • Puerto Rican Arts Alliance
  • Red Theater Chicago
  • São Paulo – Illinois Partners
  • Shattered Globe Theatre
  • Shift: Englewood
  • Silk Road Rising
  • SkyART
  • Soft Cage Films
  • Sones de Mexico Ensemble
  • Sophia’s Choice
  • South Asian Classical Music Society of Chicago
  • South Chicago Dance Theatre
  • Spektral Quartet
  • Spudnik Press Cooperative
  • Steep Theatre Company
  • Storycatchers Theatre
  • Strawdog Theatre Company
  • Synapse Arts
  • Teatro Vista
  • Tellin’ Tales Theatre
  • Territory
  • The Artists’ Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions Project
  • The Ballet Chicago Company
  • The Chicago Cuatro Orchestra Project
  • The Chicago Mosaic School
  • The Chicago Philharmonic Society
  • The Conspirators NFP
  • The House Theatre of Chicago
  • The Illinois Humanities Council
  • The Joffrey Ballet
  • The Miracle Center
  • The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture
  • The Old Town School of Folk Music
  • The Poetry Center
  • The Rebuild Foundation
  • The Seldoms
  • The Story Theatre
  • The World Music Foundation
  • Theater Wit
  • Third Coast Percussion
  • Tight Five Productions
  • Ukrainian National Museum
  • Underscore Theatre Company
  • University of Chicago, Arts + Public Life
  • Urban Gateways
  • Urban Juncture Foundation
  • Victory Gardens Theater
  • Villapalooza
  • Walkabout Theater Company
  • Water People Theater
  • Wicker Park Choral Singers
  • Window to the World Communications
  • Working in Concert
  • Yin He Dance
  • Young Chicago Authors
  • Zephyr Dance Ensemble

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