Last night, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the third phase of the coronavirus (COVID-19) response relief package. This $2 trillion emergency stimulus package includes direct support for both nonprofit cultural organizations and state and local arts and humanities agencies, as well as economic relief provisions for independent contractors, “gig economy” workers and artists, entrepreneurs, and small businesses working in the creative economy.

Specifically, the bill includes the following arts-related items to address the continuing damage caused by the COVID-19 virus:

Federal Arts Funding (Note: This is a supplement to their annual appropriations)

  • $75 million for the National Endowment for the Arts
  • $75 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Special note: Congress accepted our ask to waive matching grant requirements and to waive the requirement for grants to be project-specific. All these new fast-track grants will be for general operating support with no match.
  • $75 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  • $50 million for the Institute of Library and Museum Sciences
  • $25 million for the Kennedy Center
  • $7.5 million for the Smithsonian

Community Development Block Grants, Small Business Administration, and Unemployment Insurance

  • $5 billion for Community Development Block Grants to cities and counties. Arts groups should work directly with their mayors and local economic development offices for grant support.
  • $350 billion for Small Business Administration (SBA) emergency loans of up to $10 million for small businesses—including nonprofits (with less than 500 employees), sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals (like individual artists)—to cover payroll costs, mortgage/rent costs, utilities, and other operations. These loans can be forgiven if used for those purposes. This new eligibility has been a key element of the CREATE Act we’ve been pursuing;
  • $10 billion for Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) for loans up to $10,000 for small businesses and nonprofits to be used for providing paid sick leave for employees, maintaining payroll, mortgage/rent payments, and other operating costs;
  • Expanded Unemployment Insurance (UI) that includes coverage for furloughed workers, freelancers, and “gig economy” workers. The bill also increases UI payments by $600/week for four months, in addition to what one claims under a state unemployment program.

Charitable Giving Tax Deduction

  • An “above-the-line” or universal charitable giving incentive for contributions made in 2020 of up to $300. This provision will now allow all non-itemizer taxpayers (close to 90% of all taxpayers) to deduct charitable contributions from their tax return, an incentive previously unavailable to them. Additionally, the stimulus legislation lifts the existing cap on annual contributions for itemizers from 60 percent of adjusted gross income (AGI) to 100 percent of AGI for contributions made in 2020.

The inclusion of these provisions to help nonprofits, the arts sector, and the creative workforce can be attributed, in part, to the incredible grassroots outreach by arts advocates across the country, coordination with national nonprofit coalitions, and Americans for the Arts and Arts Action Fund.

Americans for the Arts and Arts Action Fund provide offer additional information on how this crisis is impacting the arts in their  national economic snapshot survey and dashboard and their COVID-19 Resource Center. They are also planning a series of webinars through the ArtsU platform to present experts and guidance to the field to help navigate through these new federal provisions during this challenging time. Visit their website for more information.

By |2020-04-16T14:25:14-06:00March 26th, 2020|News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on ARTS SUPPORT INCLUDED IN FEDERAL COVID-19 RELIEF BILL


IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                         

December 3, 2019

Sheila Walk, 217.753.3519
Julia Frevert, 217.789.2235


Springfield, Illinois – The City of Springfield and the Springfield Area Arts Council have announced the opening of the nomination period for the 20th Mayor’s Awards for the Arts.  These awards recognize outstanding talent in and dedication to the arts in Sangamon and Menard counties, the area served by the Springfield Area Arts Council.   The seven award categories include Individual Visual Artist; Individual Performing/Literary Artist; Arts Organization; Arts Volunteer; Arts Educator; Arts Student; and Business Committed to the Arts.

The deadline for nominations is 5:30 p.m. on Monday, December 30, 2019.  Nomination forms for the Mayor’s Awards for the Arts are available online at www.springfield.il.us (http://bit.ly/384OZ8L) and www.springfieldartsco.org. Hard copy nomination packets are available at the reception desks at the Hoogland Center for the Arts box office (420 S. 6th Street), Lincoln Public Library (326 S. 7th Street), Petersburg Public Library (220 S. 6th Street), and Springfield’s Municipal Center reception desk (300 S. 7th Street). Packets also can be requested via e-mail at programs@springfieldartsco.org.

There is no cost to nominate and there is no limit to the number of nominations that may be submitted by a person. However, separate forms must be used for each nomination. Nominations may be submitted for previous nominees who have not been award recipients.

Since the first presentation in 1985, 94 awards have been presented to individuals, organizations, and businesses.  The complete listing of previous winners is attached.

The awards selection committee, appointed by the mayor, will review the nominations and select the award recipients in the designated categories.  The winners will be announced at a ceremony on Monday, January 13, 2020, at 5:30 p.m. in the LRS Theater at the Hoogland Center for the Arts.  The winners also will receive artwork created by a commissioned Sangamon or Menard county artist, a tradition of the Mayor’s Awards for the Arts program.  The public is invited to the ceremony and complimentary reception.

For additional information about the program and nomination process, please call the Arts Council office at 217.753.3519.

By |2019-12-03T21:37:30-06:00December 3rd, 2019|News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on NOW ACCEPTING NOMINATIONS FOR THE 2020 MAYOR’S AWARDS FOR THE ARTS

First Night® Springfield Call for Performers

The Arts Council invites performers (musicians, magicians, artists, dancers, jugglers, et cetera) to be part of our New Year’s Eve celebration.

Springfield Area Arts Council’s signature event is First Night® Springfield, a family friendly, handicapped-accessible, and affordable celebration of the arts. First Night Springfield would not be possible without its generous donors and talented performers who assist us in carrying on a memorable tradition.

This being said, the Arts Council invites performers (musicians, magicians, artists, dancers, jugglers, et cetera) to be part of our New Year’s Eve celebration.

To apply to perform, please submit contact information, a performance sample, and requested stipend for a 45-minute show to the Springfield Area Arts Council at assistant@springfieldartsco.org.

Deadline:  July 31, 2019

For more information, please call 217-753-3519.

By |2019-07-15T04:09:33-06:00July 9th, 2019|News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on First Night® Springfield Call for Performers

Press Release: Poetry Out Loud 2019 Regional Competition

For immediate release                                                                                                               Contact: Sheila Walk

February 4, 2019                                                                                                                                217-753-3519

In the temper and the tantrum, in the well-kept arboretum

I am waiting, like an animal,

For poetry.

By Katy Lederer, “That Everything’s Inevitable” from The Heaven-Sent Leaf (2008)

The Springfield Area Arts Council will host the Poetry Out Loud Central Illinois Regional Contest on Wednesday, February 13, at 4:00 P.M. in Theatre Three at the Hoogland Center for the Arts.  There is no admission cost, and all are welcome.

Poetry Out Loud is a national contest in which students test their skills of oration and interpretation through poetry.  Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud is administered in partnership with the state arts agencies of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U. S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.  Since the pilot program in 2005, more than 3,000,000 students, 10,000 high schools, and 50,000 teachers have participated in Poetry Out Loud nationwide.  [Source:  National Endowment for the Arts]

In Poetry Out Loud, teenagers select, analyze, and commit to memory classic and contemporary poems for recitation.  Beginning at the classroom level, winners advance to a school-wide competition, then to one of eight regional competitions in Illinois, then to the state tournament, and ultimately to the national finals in Washington, D. C.

The Springfield Area Arts Council partners with the Illinois Arts Council Agency to bring this program to central Illinois.  This year, 11 area high schools, 35 teachers, and 1,395 students are participating.


Decatur:  Eisenhower High School

Eureka:  Eureka High School

Franklin:  Franklin High School

Pawnee:  Pawnee High School

Peoria:  Quest Charter Academy

Rochester:  Rochester High School

Springfield:  Lutheran High School; Sacred Heart-Griffin High School; Southeast High School; Springfield High School

Teutopolis:  Teutopolis Community High School

By |2019-02-10T22:20:38-06:00February 10th, 2019|News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Press Release: Poetry Out Loud 2019 Regional Competition