The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) was signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009 in an effort to jumpstart the American economy by creating and saving millions of jobs. The Act included measures to modernize the nation’s infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief, and protect those in greatest need.
ARRA provided $50 million to the National Endowment for the Arts for distribution in direct grants to fund arts projects and activities that would preserve jobs in the nonprofit arts sector. Sixty percent of the funds, or $30 million, were competitively awarded by the NEA to nonprofit organizations throughout the country that met the eligibility criteria established for the program.
Forty percent of the funds, or $19.8 million in one-time grants, were distributed to the state arts agencies (including all nine states in the Midwest region) and regional arts organizations to support the arts sector of the economy. The NEA’s state and regional partners invested their ARRA funds in projects that assisted arts organizations in retaining critical staff, artists, and other contractual personnel.
Arts Midwest received $542,000 from the NEA for arts job preservation in the Midwest. Our organization worked closely with each state arts agency in the region to determine which of the applications they received through their own granting processes would instead be supported by Arts Midwest’s ARRA funds. Grants to those organizations were issued directly by Arts Midwest.