When Mayor Vince Gray‘s budget dropped in March, cash-strapped arts groups got some disappointing news: no increase in funds for art grants.
What a difference two months makes: Given preliminary approval today, the D.C. Council’s budget adjustments include an additional $6.8 million for the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities—-bringing its total budget to about $11.9 million, including $846,000 in government and other funds. (Or, if you include the unlikely transfer of a $2.5 million federal program already benefiting D.C. organizations, as the budget does, $14.4 million.) A final vote is scheduled for June 5.
Marquis Perkins, the commission’s spokesman, said the agency would discuss later this week how to allocate the funds. But! $6 million of the increase is a “one-time cost,” so it may not be back next year.
Still, it’s a big deal. In fiscal year 2009, the commission handed out nearly $14 million in grants; last year, it gave out a paltry $3.7 million. The transfer could bring grant funding closer to $10 million, a number for which groups like D.C. Advocates for the Arts and TheatreWashington lobbied heavily this spring.
Oh, yeah: The commission launched its grants-application process earlier this month. Apply here.