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Pandemic Funding Relief in FY21

Black dancers in various standing and kneeling positions perform against a purple backdrop

The fight against COVID-19 and its lasting impacts remained at the forefront of FY21. Mid-America Arts Alliance was honored to serve and assist many arts and cultural organizations and artists whose work was affected by the pandemic. In FY21, M-AAA was able to award more than $4 million in public and private funding throughout the region.

United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund

In August 2020, M-AAA awarded $1,536,000 to twenty-seven grant recipients from the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund (USRARF) within the region. A program created through collaboration with our five sister US Regional Arts Organizations—Arts Midwest, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts, South Arts, and Western States Arts Federation—the USRARF was funded through a $10 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and amplified in the Mid-America region through additional funding from The Windgate Foundation in Little Rock, Arkansas, for visual arts organizations.

The grant amounts ranged between $30,000 and $100,000, a significant investment supporting the resilience of small to mid-sized arts organizations that are led by or supporting communities of color, rural communities, and historically under-resourced populations, in response to the impact of COVID-19.

The grant of $100,000 came at the right time for Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Greenwood Cultural Center. According to the Center’s Program Coordinator Michelle Brown-Burdex, “The support of the Mid-America Arts Alliance’s US Regional Arts Resilience Grant enabled us to create new, innovative, in-person, and virtual programming and exhibits for the 100th-year commemoration of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre that reached an estimated 300,000 people! The grant allowed us to commemorate the historic event with people from around the world and create access to exhibits and resources that will continue to impact our community for years to come.”

USRARF Grantees

American Jazz Museum, Kansas City, Missouri; $50,000
Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas, Pine Bluff, Arkansas; $75,000
Black Archives of Mid-America, Kansas City, Missouri; $30,000
Black Liberated Arts Center, Inc., Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; $30,000
Cara Mía Theatre Company, Dallas, Texas; $65,000
Dallas Black Dance Theatre, Dallas, Texas; $85,000
Dance of Asian America, Houston, Texas; $40,000
DeltaARTS, West Memphis, Arkansas; $50,000
El Museo Latino, Omaha, Nebraska; $50,000
The Ensemble Theatre, Houston, Texas; $75,000
Greenwood Cultural Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma; $100,000
InterUrban ArtHouse, Overland Park, Kansas; $65,115
Kansas African American Museum, Wichita, Kansas; $40,000
Mexic-Arte Museum, Austin, Texas; $75,000
Mid-America All-Indian Museum, Wichita, Kansas; $30,000
National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures, San Antonio, Texas; $65,000
National Blues Museum, St. Louis, Missouri; $65,000
Nebraska Writers Collective, Omaha, Nebraska; $40,000
Norman Arts Council, Norman, Oklahoma; $65,000
Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; $50,000
Prison Performing Arts, St. Louis, Missouri; $33,375
Project Row Houses, Houston, Texas; $85,000
Salina Art Center, Salina, Kansas; $40,000
SAY Sí, San Antonio, Texas; $63,900
St. Louis ArtWorks, St. Louis, Missouri; $63,610
Teatro Dallas, Dallas, Texas; $30,000
Union for Contemporary Art, Omaha, Nebraska; $75,000

Houston Cares About Music Grants

In fall 2020, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Houston’s City Council approved funding for the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs Musicians and Venues Economic Relief Program. Looking to distribute these Federal CARES ACT funds quickly, the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs turned to M-AAA for assistance with its program to provide immediate and short-term assistance to the Houston music sector impacted economically due to COVID-19.

Within two months, M-AAA created guidelines, awarded, and distributed more than $2.7 million to over 300 individual musicians and 36 live music venues in Houston. The funding covered some of the total losses of nearly $71 million as reported by applicants.



When notified about receiving a grant, Houston jazz vocalist Jane Vandiver responded, “I am SO humbled to have been chosen to receive this generous grant! I am having a hard time catching my breath, and my heart is beating so fast! GOD BLESS YOU and the organization! This came at a time so full of uncertainty and challenge. I just want to cry. Thank you is not nearly enough.” Vandiver used part of her relief funds to create a music video to do something for Houston vocalists.