The Arizona Commission on the Arts, an agency of the State of Arizona, announced 256 grants to nonprofit arts organizations, local arts agencies, schools and community organizations across the state of Arizona in the categories of Community Investment, Arts Learning and Festivals. In total, $1,874,910 was invested through the annual competitive grant review process for fiscal year 2015 (July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015).

“A school play, a dance recital, a field trip to the museum, the day the art lady came to class with her finger paints and modeling clay–each of us can recall a formative experience with the arts that touched our heart, opened our mind and expanded our horizons,” said Robert Booker, Executive Director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts. “Through grants we support programming and services that ensure that these experiences are available and accessible to all Arizonans.”

In accordance with the Arts Commission’s strategic plan and governing statutes, schools and nonprofit arts organizations receiving grant funds from the Arts Commission are awarded funding based on such factors as community investment, quality of programming and responsible stewardship of public funds.

Applications to the Arts Commission are reviewed in a rigorous panel process led by Governor-appointed Commissioners. Review panels are comprised of volunteer experts, arts practitioners and community leaders from rural, urban and suburban areas of the state.

Grants are funded by the State of Arizona and state funding awarded to the Arts Commission by the National Endowment for the Arts.

For the second year in a row, the Governor joined the State Legislature in acknowledging the importance of the arts to Arizona’s cities and towns by allocating an additional $1 million (derived from the otherwise inactive interest accrued on the State’s rainy-day fund) to the budget of the Arizona Commission on the Arts, bolstering the agency’s grantmaking activities and expansive services to Arizona’s arts sector.

According to Booker, “This additional funding, secured through bipartisan legislative support, recognizes the myriad contributions of Arizona’s arts and culture sector to our state’s economic recovery.”

The arts and culture sector is a significant contributor to the economic health and livability of communities in Arizona. According to a recent report released by the Arizona Cultural Data Project Task Force, Arizona arts and culture organizations and their audiences generate an economic impact of over $500 million annually.