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18 LA organizations have received grants from the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts

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Consider it a much-needed boost for struggling arts institutions in the pandemic era Los Angeles District.

The Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts is again giving away $400,000 in organizational support grants to local arts organizations this year to help them stay afloat during trying times, it announced Monday. Since 2016, the foundation has awarded annual grants for artist projects to local art groups developing new work. In 2021, it transitioned and responded to the economic hardship caused by extended shutdowns and other pandemic-related issues with its first round of organizational support grants.

The 18 2022 grant recipients—again, small to medium-sized groups with annual operating budgets under $5 million—will each receive $10,000 to $30,000 in unrestricted funding for operations and programming. They include disciplines such as performance, poetry, music and multimedia arts.

Two years after the pandemic, artists and arts organizations are doing “critical and transformative work,” says Mary Clare Stevens, the foundation’s executive director, in an interview.

“Although many of them received emergency grants in their first year, after two years of closure they are still making up significant losses — lost income from tickets and fundraisers,” says Stevens. “And even before the pandemic, it was so hard to survive as an arts organization.”

Funds will also be used to help organizations reinvent their programs for a new, open world, Stevens notes.

“Many arts organizations have created online programs during the pandemic, which to me represents an incredible amount of creativity,” she says. “Now a lot of them want to keep these kinds of hybrid models with both in-person and online programs because they reach a wider audience, but that takes work — and it comes at a cost.”

The Mid-Wilshire Craft Contemporary Museum received a $13,500 grant, which is just in time, they say Managing Director Suzanne Isken.

“There’s a lot of things you haven’t addressed in two years — hiring new staff, fixing broken things — the cost is huge when you come back to the museum,” Isken says. “Every day you are surprised by a new surprise. We are delighted to present Luis Flores, a solo exhibition opening on October 2nd, and this grant makes it possible.”

This year’s award winners were selected by an independent panel looking for risk-taking groups with an innovative spirit and honoring the legacy of artist Kelley, who died in 2012. The panel included Naima Keith, vice president of education and public programs at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and LA-based artist Rafa Esparza, among others Other. Eight of the recipients were awarded organizational grants last year. Three of the recipients — Highways Performance Space, Active Cultures and Beyond the Baroque – have never received a grant from the Mike Kelley Foundation before.

Santa Monica’s experimental Highways Performance Space received a $30,000 grant to “just keep the space open,” says executive director Leo Garcia.

“Our income comes mainly from ticket sales, workshops and rentals – we present new programs 50 weeks a year,” he says. “In the two years since we closed, we’ve lost about $250,000. So this money goes towards supporting employees and our insurance policies. It’s just such a relief to know that we can pay our providers – and we’ll still be able to develop new performance works through other funders.”

All grantees are unique, Stevens says, but they are all equally brave. “They all push and ask important questions in different ways,” she says, “and part of our mission statement is provocation in art.”

Your farewell messages for the local art public?

“I would just encourage everyone to go out and attend events, performances and exhibitions,” says Stevens. “Support these amazing arts organizations at this critical time.”

Here is the full list of 2022 grant recipients:

18th Street Arts Center, $25,000

Active cultures, $10,000

Armory Center for the Arts, $26,500

Beyond the Baroque, $25,000

Center for the Study of Political Graphics, $20,000

Watch Store, $25,000

Craft Contemporary, $13,500

Feminist Center for Creative Work, $30,000

Fulcrum Arts/homeLA, $20,000

Highway’s Performance Space, $30,000

Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA), $20,000

JOHANNA, $15,000

LA Freewaves, $25,000

LAXART, $20,000

Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), $30,000

Los Angeles Poverty Board, $25,000

Pieter Performance Space, $20,000

Back Street Projects, $20,000

https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/story/2022-03-21/mike-kelley-foundation-for-the-arts-announces-grant-recipients 18 LA organizations have received grants from the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts

Caroline Bleakley

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