D.C. arts commission reallocates grants to address equity, with cuts to larger groups

Posted on: August 23, 2021

“The D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities has dramatically reshaped the way it supports Washington’s arts community by directing significant increases to the city’s small and midsize arts organizations and making steep cuts to almost two dozen major institutions,” writes Peggy McGlone in Thursday’s (8/18) Washington Post. “Embracing a new funding formula passed by the D.C. Council earlier this month, the commission unanimously approved almost $16.5 million in fiscal year 2022 grants Monday night, awarding $9.3 million in general operating support to 97 organizations with budgets under $1 million, and $7.2 million to 48 grantees with budgets larger than $1 million. The grants are for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. The new formula cuts $5.3 million in general operating support from the city’s largest institutions and distributes it to more and smaller groups. The new structure aims to ‘level the playing field,’ commission chairman Reggie Van Lee said…. The shift in grant-making is critical to the commission’s equity and diversity efforts, Van Lee said…. In addition to focusing on supporting smaller organizations, the new approach is more inclusive geographically because it reaches organizations across the city’s neighborhoods, grants committee chairwoman Gretchen Wharton told commissioners.”