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Regional Arts Commission awards $1 million to local artists, arts programs

More than 90 arts programs and 85 individual artists will receive direct financial support in 2022.
Credit: RAC via St. Louis American

ST. LOUIS — For the first time in nearly two years, the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) of St. Louis has awarded more than $1.15 million in new grant funding for local artists and arts programming across the region.

More than 90 arts programs and 85 individual artists will receive direct financial support in 2022.

The announcement was made June 15 at Artists First in Maplewood, a nonprofit, inclusive art studio that empowers artists of all abilities. The organization received a $13,500 Program Support Grant this year from RAC.

"The Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis has led the way in the survival and promotion of the arts in St. Louis,” said Sheila Suderwalla, Artists First executive director.

“Artists First is grateful not only to be a partner with RAC but also for their support in championing artists of all abilities."

“This is a big accomplishment for RAC,” said Vanessa Cooksey, RAC president and CEO.

“It demonstrates the high-level of teamwork between our Board of Commissioners and staff as we worked together to ensure excellent stewardship of public dollars and public trust. We made significant administrative and operational sacrifices over the last two years to guarantee grants and programs benefiting St. Louis’ arts organizations and artists were funded at the highest possible level within our means.”

Nearly all RAC’s funding comes from the hotel/motel tax earned in St. Louis City and County. Since April of 2020, RAC lost more than 60% of its revenue. Due to the drastic loss, all but one of its programs were cancelled and its General Operating Support grant payments were cut by 75%.

According to the American for the Arts’ Arts and Economic Prosperity Report, the St. Louis arts and culture sector brings in nearly $600 million in economic activity every year and provides more than 19,000 full-time jobs.

Read the full story on The St. Louis American's website.

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