County proposes $3.25 million towards arts and humanities pandemic relief

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md (WDVM) – The Montgomery County Council is proposing an appropriation of $3.25 million to support organizations in the arts and humanities sector that have been financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The appropriation was initiated by council members Craig Rice and Evan Glass who say art will play a vital role in the county’s economic recovery.

“[We] came up with an idea of how we could help to stand up these organizations, of course not make them whole. We haven’t been able to do that for any of our businesses,” Rice said. “but certainly give them something to at least to help them try and survive.”

$250,000 will be in mini-grants, awarding up to $3,000 to individual creative workers and the other three million will go towards grants for organizations.

“At this point in time with the civil unrest that’s been going on across the country, we are being defined by art and expressionm,” Glass said., We see it everywhere where people are gathered and so we need to harness this energy.”

CEO of the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County Suzan Jenkins said the funds are only a drop in the bucket.

“With a portfolio of over 500 arts and humanities organizations, and the projected loss of 15 million dollars by the end of June, it’s not enough,” Jenkins said. “And we will have to do the best we can with the resources. And we’re very, very grateful for these resources. Very grateful.”

Since the closure of exhibitions and the cancellation of events, Montgomery County’s Arts and Humanities sector has experienced the highest loss of revenue compared to surrounding jurisdictions.

The county council is scheduled to hold a public hearing on the Arts COVID-19 relief fund on July 7 where the council is expected to completely vote in favor.

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