Arts organizations with wealthy boards and large endowments have, for the most part, made it through the past year just fine. But many of their smaller and mid-sized counterparts, which typically don’t have those kinds of resources to fall back on, are struggling to get going again.
Ninety such nonprofits in Los Angeles County have just received a major boost in that vital effort. They will split $36.1 million in grant money for post-pandemic rebuilding from the newly created L.A. Arts Recovery Fund.
Initiated by the J. Paul Getty Trust and administered by the California Community Foundation, the fund calls itself “the largest ever pooled private investments for arts across Los Angeles County.” Its contributors, in addition to the Getty, include the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Ford Foundation’s America’s Culture Treasures Regional Initiative, and the L.A. County Department of Arts and Culture.
The grants, paid out over two to three years, range from $5,000 to $2 million. The recipients represent a wide variety of art forms, including theater, dance, music, visual arts, literary arts, and arts education.
A special effort was made to support ethnically diverse organizations and those that work in underserved communities. Seventy-one percent of the organizations receiving money are founded or run by leaders of Black, Latino, Asian, or Indigenous heritage, and/or have boards composed primarily of people of color. Nearly half — 48 percent — self-identify as an organization of color.
One of the largest grants, $1.5 million, will go to the Los Angeles Master Chorale. The money will support the group’s return to live performances at Walt Disney Concert Hall, as well as its digital initiatives, which include a video recording of Ready Bright by Los Angeles composer Derrick Spiva Jr.
“With this grant, the Los Angeles Master Chorale will begin to recover losses from more than a year of canceled performances and be given resources to create a more inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible organization while continuing to innovate the choral art form,” said President and CEO Jean Davidson.
Other organizations receiving grants include Street Symphony, which presents concerts and musical workshops at homeless shelters, jails, and Skid Row clinics; the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles; and the Inner City Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles.
Grants will also be awarded to Santa Cecilia Orchestra, which presents music of Latin American composers alongside established European masterpieces; the chamber music group Salastina, which experiments with unique concert formats; and the choral group Tonality, which recently won a 2020 Chorus America/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming.
Another notable recipient is The Industry, the innovative opera company founded by director Yuval Sharon. “We are so thankful to be considered a vital member of L.A.’s vibrant arts landscape,” the company said in a Facebook post. “We can’t wait to get our artists back to work!”