Local arts organizations are getting stimulus grants of their own.
The Metropolitan Arts Council has partnered with the Graham Foundation and the Canal Charitable Foundation to distribute $275,500 in COVID-19 relief funds to 28 arts organizations, many of which have suffered huge losses.
The fund was started with a $102,000 withdrawal from the MAC Endowment for the Arts, which was established in 2009 for the organization’s grants program, said Alan Ethridge, MAC executive director.
“I am so thankful for MAC’s dedication to helping small organizations like ours,” Holly Caprell, executive director of the Greenville County Youth Orchestra.
It’s the first time such a withdrawal has been made, said board chairman Michael Cooper, “but it was very important to do so given the projected losses of so many arts organizations.”
That amount was then matched by generous contributions from the Graham Foundation and Canal Charitable Foundation, Ethridge said.
“Greenville is so fortunate to have such philanthropic partners who realize the importance of the arts in the vitality of our amazing city,” he said.
To gauge the extent of the virus’s impact on the arts community, Ethridge said calls were made to every organization that had received MAC support in the last three years. Any group that reported losses because of COVID-19 — 28 organizations in all — was selected for funding.
With no money coming in, Ethridge said the organizations’ combined losses easily total $4-5 million.
“This virus can be very, very catastrophic, and it has been,” he said.
Since the pandemic was declared in March, arts organizations have had to cancel and postpone performances, events, exhibits and fundraisers, according to Kerry Murphy, the executive director of Artisphere, which received $10,250 in relief funds.
“Greenville is so fortunate to have such philanthropic partners who realize the importance of the arts in the vitality of our amazing city,” Alan Ethridge, MAC executive director said.
“That loss of income can be devastating. These relief funds will have a tremendous impact on our cultural community,” Murphy said in a statement.
Eight other organizations also received at least $10,250: Centre Stage, Greenville Chorale, Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville Symphony Orchestra, Greenville Theatre, Peace Center, South Carolina Children’s Theatre and The Warehouse Theatre.
These are MAC’s general operating support partners — organizations that are at least 10 years old, put on three or more performances a year and have a minimum operating budget of $200,000, Ethridge said.
The remaining 19 recipients each received at least $6,000. They are: Carolina Music Museum, Chicora Voices, Emrys, Foothills Philharmonic, GLOW Lyric Theatre, Greenville Center for Creative Arts, Greenville Chautauqua Society, Greenville Concert Band, Greenville County Youth Orchestra, Greenville Jazz Collective, Greer Cultural Arts Council, Indie Craft Parade, International Ballet, Mauldin Cultural Center, South Carolina Bach Society, Vaughn Newman Dance, Wits End Poetry, Younts Center for Performing Arts and Carolina Dance Collective.
“I am so thankful for MAC’s dedication to helping small organizations like ours,” Holly Caprell, executive director of the Greenville County Youth Orchestra, said in a statement.
Caprell said the grant will help bridge funding gaps while giving the orchestra freedom to plan future projects.
“Looking ahead to our next season, there are so many unknowns,” she said.