If you’ve been to a creative event in Santa Cruz County in the past year, it’s likely our grant dollars helped make that event possible. It’s one of my favorite things about my job – we get to give money to the artists and arts organizations who make Santa Cruz County so vibrant! Serving nearly half a million people each year from near and far, our grantees are creating art in all its forms in every corner of this county.

This month we awarded $162,350 to 55 grantees, from $500 micro grants to individual artists to operational support for institutions like the MAH, Santa Cruz Shakespeare, and Watsonville Film Festival. This completes our giving for the 2017-18 fiscal year, with a total of $202,076 awarded to 86 grantees.

Our grants program is supported by local, state, and federal government funding as well as a number of foundation grants. (That’s right, we write a lot of grants ourselves to redistribute grant funding throughout the community.)

As we continue to support artistically fabulous endeavors throughout the county, we’re also evolving our grants program. We’re making our materials bilingual and funding more emerging artists and projects aimed at social impact. This round of grants included support for Santa Cruz Poetry Project for its program in local jails, and funding for art classes at Siena House, a maternity home for at-risk women.

We know that art can change lives in ways big and small. We are so grateful to be able to support the individuals and organizations who lift our spirits, tell our stories, and create stunning and inspiring experiences, all through the arts.

And, now that we’ve given away our funds for this year, we’re preparing for next year’s grantmaking. If you or someone you know is interested in learning about how to apply for a grant, read on!

The Spring Grants Cycle opens on February 16 and closes on March 30.

We are hosting two Grant Program Orientations: February 22 at the Tannery Arts Center and February 27 at Watsonville Library. Click here for more details.

My new year’s resolution is to get out and experience even more of what our creative community has to offer, year-round. I hope you’ll join me!

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