Tempe City Council earlier this month awarded 32 art grants to both 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations and artist collectives to support art programs in the community.
These grants, officials say, go to support projects ranging from school residency programs to festivals to theater and music performances, according to a city press release.
The 32 organizations awarded these grants were selected by a panel composed of representatives from various commissions and committees in Tempe. During the spring after the grants are posted, each organization is encouraged to meet with Maja Aurora, the community arts administrator for Tempe.
“When meeting with the organizations, we discuss what they’re planning on doing to deepen their connection with the Tempe community through art. We also discuss how they select their artists,” Aurora said.
After meeting with Aurora, five community review panels assess a total of seven applications each. Each panel is composed of individuals with diverse races, ages and genders. The organizations go through an intense scoring process and discussion. After the review panels have come to their decisions, a list of the organizations selected are then sent to the city council for a final review.
There are two types of grants given as a part of this program. The first being, the Wavemaker Arts Grant, which is offered solely to nonprofit organizations. This grant is a matching grant so the amount of money the organization is asking for needs to be matched.
One example of an organization that has received funding from the city is Grey Box Collective, a nonprofit founded to try to become an artistic vehicle for social change, according to Molly Schenck, the collective’s founder and artistic director.
The collective bases their work on trauma-informed creative practices. This means the art and performances perpetuate traumas that might exist in the space already, according to Schenck.
Receiving this grant will help the collective put on performances for the season and continue its digital work and podcast that started due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“One thing I really appreciated about the pandemic was that I was able to connect with a lot of artists out of the state and country. If it wasn’t for the pandemic I probably would not have been able to reconnect with these artists,” Schenck said.
The second type of grant offered is the Vibrant City Arts Grant. This type of grant is for cultural groups and artist collectives. Organizations that apply for this grant request $2,500. This grant is meant to serve as a beginning step into receiving city funding in hopes these organizations eventually make it to Wavemaker status.
One example of an artist collective receiving a Vibrant City Arts Grant is Kraken Still & Film. Kraken Still & Film is a contemporary nonprofit dance company with projects ranging from photography exhibits to video productions to live performances.
The mission is to create a space for dancers to integrate various disciplines while highlighting curiosities, according to its website.
“To show our appreciation, we’re proposing to do an outdoor showcase where we have a live performance and show a film,” Lawrence Fung, founder of Kraken Still & Film said.
Receiving this grant will also help the organization continue to grow and allow them the means necessary to obtain the resources needed to produce media and put on live shows.
“The goal of these grants is to support community events that celebrate cultural diversity, collaborate with community partners and educational institutions, and enhance art that supports, educates and enriches the community,”