The metro area's performing arts companies face unprecedented losses following the closure of their venues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But there is a new source of money to help them get through the crisis.
A group of state and local foundations dedicated to the arts have pooled their resources and created the Oregon Arts and Culture Recovery Program. So far, there is $1.3 million in emergency funds, which will be awarded to organizations that have suffered losses related to canceled performances, gallery exhibitions and fundraising events.
Priority will be given to arts groups considered hubs in their communities, with the nonprofit Oregon Community Foundation administering the program.
"We know that this unprecedented crisis requires unprecedented collaboration," Madison Cario, executive director of the Regional Arts & Culture Council, said in a press release. "Together, public and private funders—as well as individual donors—can make the greatest impact by pooling our resources, prioritizing those with few reserves, and streamlining our application processes."
Last month, the council surveyed individuals and organizations throughout the state to measure the coronavirus's economic impact, and reported that scrapped classes and shows in Multnomah County alone accounted for $46 million in losses for March, April and May. Artists in other counties were out an additional $10 million.
The first wave of payments will go to arts organizations seeking less than $5,000. The council says awards between $5,000 and $25,000 will be highly competitive, and there could be a few rare gifts over $25,000.
Applications are on the Oregon Community Foundation's website.