The J. Paul Getty Trust Is Spearheading a Nearly $40 Million Initiative to Aid Small Los Angeles Arts Organizations

More than a dozen local and national philanthropic enterprises are contributing to the effort.

School children enter the Getty Center in Los Angeles, California. Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.
School children enter the Getty Center in Los Angeles, California. Photo by David McNew/Getty Images.

Small and mid-sized arts organizations in Los Angeles County can apply for pandemic support thanks to a new $38.5 million fund launched by the J. Paul Getty Trust and supported by numerous other philanthropic groups.

Announced this week, the L.A. Arts Recovery Fund was established to help nonprofits in the region still ailing from the forced layoffs, canceled programs, and other effects wrought by the health crisis.

Organizations with annual operating budgets under $10 million (prior to the pandemic) are eligible to apply for unrestricted grants, which will be administered by the California Community Foundation in the spring. 

Money will go in part towards workshops, consultations, and other forms of professional development to arts employees in the community.  

“This is a defining moment for Los Angeles,” said Wendy Garen, president and CEO of the Ralph M. Parsons Foundation, which contributed to the initiative. Garen calls the fund a “down payment on the robust arts community we need, now and after the pandemic.”

Donations from more than a dozen local and national philanthropic enterprises, including the Ahmanson Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Sony Global Relief Fund, were pooled together for the project.

A challenge grant from the Ford Foundation’s “America’s Cultural Treasures” initiative for Black, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous arts organizations was also factored in.

The repository of support may grow from here, as the partners are calling on other donors in the region to contribute. The goal is to reach $50 million, according to the California Community Foundation’s website

“In our experience, this is the largest collaboration of L.A. and national philanthropic organizations to come together for Los Angeles, particularly to support small and midsize local arts organizations,” Joan Weinstein, director of the Getty, told the Los Angeles Times.

The recovery initiative goes back to last April, when the Getty established a $10 million relief fund for museums and visual arts organizations in Los Angeles.

After handing out a fifth of that money to 80 recipients, the organization put the process on hold, hoping to grow the fund by recruiting additional supporters. This week’s announcement was the result of that effort.

“This is the time for bold action,” Elizabeth Alexander, president of the Mellon Foundation, said in a statement. “Los Angeles is justifiably celebrated for its extraordinary multiculturalism and vibrant arts communities, and this past year has underscored the power of L.A. arts organizations to help sustain us despite the devastating isolation, uncertainty, and loss generated by the pandemic.” 

“For the incredible moments of transformation, justice, and healing that they have given to us,” she added, “we must give to them now.”

Applications are being accepted now through March 2. Grant recipients can expect to be notified by early May. 

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