Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis Distributes More Than $3 Million in American Rescue Plan Act Funding to St. Louis Artists and Arts Organizations

April 15, 2024

The Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis (RACSTL), in partnership with the City of St. Louis and Community Development Administration (CDA), is proud to announce the first round of grant awards from a new program, ARPA for the Arts. Designed to address revenue and income lost during the height of the pandemic, 166 local artists and 54 arts organizations received more than $3 million in grants. The funding is part of the $10.6 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds allocated to RACSTL from the City of St. Louis after the unanimous passage of Board Bill #66. 

“Our team worked diligently to make the process as easy as possible for applicants,” said Tracey Morgan, ARPA for the Arts lead. “In less than 4-months, we distributed this money to artists and arts organizations who are still recovering in St. Louis.” 

A total of $1,489,487 was awarded to 54 local arts organizations like Perennial, National Blues Museum, Upstream Theater, Cinema St Louis and HEAL Center for the Arts.

See the full list: 

Further, a total of $2,009,047 was granted to 166 local artists, with an average award of $12,000. The applicants varied in discipline and practice, from music and visual arts to dance and theater. Artists in all 14 wards of St. Louis were awarded grants.  

“As an artist, the COVID-19 pandemic had a profound impact on my practice. The ARPA funding from RACSTL provided the support I needed to continue my artistic practice and serve my community,” said Sy Oliver, Ward 11, interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary artist. “It has been a lifeline, enabling me to adapt, grow and continue to create in the face of adversity. It provided a space for me to share my work, connect with my audience and continue to grow as an artist.” 

CDA approval for the grants was based on proof of financial loss during the COVID-19 pandemic and an address within a Qualified Census Tract (QCT). As defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a QCT is a Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Qualified Census Tract that must have 50 percent of households with incomes below 60 percent of the Area Median Gross Income or have a poverty rate of 25 percent or more. 

Nearly 78 percent of the artists approved lived in a QCT, while 22 percent were in a non-QCT. QCT artists were awarded 84 percent of the funding requested, while non-QCT artists received 16 percent. This helped ensure the artists with the greatest financial need received the most money. 

RACSTL will distribute the remaining ARPA for the Arts funding to St. Louis City artists and arts organizations that have projects that support tourism growth.  

Photo credits: Stray Dog Theatre