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Spokane Arts to distribute $1 million in COVID relief to local arts & culture sector

Arts and culture organizations, businesses, and individual creatives in the city of Spokane will soon be able to apply for covid relief grants, funded by federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars distributed by the City of Spokane and Spokane Arts.

In December 2021, the Spokane City Council earmarked $1 million in COVID relief funding for the arts & culture sector. The city subsequently opened an RFP process, seeking an entity to sub-grant out those funds to individual artists, nonprofit organizations, and businesses in the creative sector. Through that competitive process, Spokane Arts was selected as the organization who will create and administer a grantmaking program to distribute COVID relief dollars earmarked for the arts & culture sector.

The funding earmarked by city council to support arts & culture represents 1.2% of the city’s overall ARP funding awarded by the federal government, which was just under $81 million.

Of the funding, 100% of it will stay right here in the City of Spokane’s local economy. 92% will be invested in individual artists, nonprofit cultural organizations, and brick & mortar creative businesses. The grants they’ll receive will provide much-needed replacement for revenue lost during the pandemic. The remaining 8% of this contract will be spent on connecting community members with these resources, such as community engagement and outreach efforts, paying for translations, paying for ASL interpreters, creating print & digital materials, et cetera.

Community members will soon be able to find more information on Spokane Arts website,, regarding eligibility criteria and timelines. These grants will be qualifying grants, not competitive grants, meaning that many/most applicants who are eligible (according to federally-defined criteria) will receive funding.  Applicants will not be asked to propose a program or project; these funds are designated for COVID relief, so applicants will be asked to demonstrate their eligibility and provide brief context regarding the impacts of COVID on their business/organization/household. These grant awards will not be taxable as income.

Spokane Arts is opening the first round of applications on May 1, 2023, and anticipates multiple application rounds between May 2023 and February 2024. Please note that some applicant categories may open in calendar year 2023 but not receive their award until early 2024. Spokane Arts is committed to distributing the funding as equitably and efficiently as possible, while adhering to all city and federal regulations for these ARPA dollars.

Spokane Arts will share information via our website, e-newsletter, social media, and many other channels. We have added a part-time Community Navigator position who will be available to make presentations, host info sessions, answer questions about the program, and more, and hope to announce that hire soon. Additionally, one-on-one applicant support will be available, which can be arranged by contacting Translated materials, FAQs, shareable graphics and more will be added to the Spokane Arts website in the weeks leading up to application portal going live.

Media contact: Melissa Huggins, Executive Director, Spokane Arts, melissa(at) or 509-321-6444

The 2023 Coronavirus Recovery Funding landing page can be found at