The Regional Arts Commission (RAC) is proud to be the largest public funder of arts and culture in St. Louis. For more than 37 years, RAC has invested in the artists and arts organizations our region enjoys. In 2022, that mission continues with the opening of a new round of grant funding for artists and arts and culture programs in St. Louis City and County.
Starting Feb. 28, applications for Program Support Grants and Artist Support Grants will be available on the Regional Arts Commission website. This year, RAC will make $650,000 in grant funding available for arts programming and $250,000 in grant funding for individual artists.
“While grant funding amounts are still well below pre-pandemic levels,” said Vanessa Cooksey, RAC president and CEO, “RAC is excited to be able to get funding to artists and organizations that desperately need it, especially as the pandemic continues.
In the last two years, RAC funding from the hotel/motel sales tax dropped more than 60%. New grant funding was halted, and all grant awards were reduced to existing grant recipients.
“The Commission and staff made several tough decisions and sacrifices in order to continue providing grants during the pandemic,” Cooksey added. “As the pandemic evolves, we are optimistic for the future, and we will continue doing everything we can to advocate for more funding for RAC to increase its grantmaking in St. Louis.”
For this grant cycle, grants will be capped at $15,000 for Program Support Grants and $5,000 for Artist Support Grants. RAC will continue funding its current General Operating Support grantees at a reduced percentage and hopes to open a new grant cycle in 2023.
“We wish we could award more funding this year,” explained Cooksey. “We know the need is there. The impact working artists, art programs and organizations make in this community deserve more support.”
According to the American for the Arts’ Arts and Economic Prosperity Report, pre-pandemic, the St. Louis arts sector generates close to $600 million in economic activity, supports more than 19,000 full-time jobs, and draws nearly 11.7 million people to the area every year.
“A full recovery for the arts sector is essential to the social and economic wellbeing and growth of the St. Louis region. RAC has taken great care to improve our processes to ensure our grantmaking is more efficient and effective,” Cooksey added, “and we are exploring new and diverse revenue streams to ensure our grants can be fully funded in the future.”
The application deadline for Program and Artist Support Grants is March 21. Grant recipients will be announced in May. Apply at racstl.org/grants.
RAC has implemented a Blackbaud product as our new grants platform, where applicants find, complete, and submit their application. Our previous grantmaking system was retired by the provider in 2020. All applicants will need to create a new account in order to apply. For technical assistance questions when using the grantmaking system, please email Blackbaud.
To help navigate the Program Support Grant and Artist Support Grant applications, the Regional Arts Commission will hold two webinars in March. The webinars will cover the application process, financial statements, budget templates and more. Learn more.