The City of Dallas Announces $225,000 In Grants To Support Arts In Historically Underserved Areas.

Update at 8:11 p.m.: An earlier version of this story inaccurately placed the Cultural Vitality Program grant total at $100,000. Turns out the total is much higher. The story has been updated to correct this error.

Today, the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs announced a new $225,000 grant program called the Cultural Vitality Program. The program, which focuses on cultural equity, audience and neighborhood engagement, and sustainability and resilience, is open to both individual artists and organizations alike. Grant awards through this program will range from $2,500 to $20,000 per entity, and a letter of intent to apply is due April 1st.

Let us get straight to the point here: This is the City of Dallas’ attempt to “invest in artists and arts opportunities rooted in historically underserved communities.” In other words: South Dallas, Pleasant Grove, Oak Cliff, West Dallas, Northeast Dallas — this money is for you. This program is a radical and historic attempt to support creatives of color and organizations that want to do real cultural work in communities of color.

Moreover, this program means that total support for individual artists from the City of Dallas — under the leadership of Office of Cultural Affairs interim director David Fisher — has increased from almost nothing to more than $550,000 over the last two years. Only a few years ago, the idea of the City of Dallas funding individual artists was laughable. Now, between this Cultural Vitality Program ($225,000), the Community Arts Program ($210,000) and the Cultural Projects Program ($120,000), there is over over half a million dollars in support.

In fact, instead of reading this, you could be applying for $2,000 from the Nasher Sculpture Center via their Nasher Artists Microgrant Program, $5,000 from the City of Dallas via the their Cultural Projects Program’s Special Support Grant (link: ) , and now $20,000 from the City of Dallas via the new Cultural Vitality Program. Heck, even the City Sanitation Services Department is getting in on the action with their Art for Dumpsters competition which will award $2,250 to five finalists, and another $1,500 for the best in show winner.

There is more cash on the table, right now, for artists in this city — more than there has ever been before. Now is the time to initiate bold, game-changing ideas, folks. Now is the time to put away the old excuses of not having any support and run wildly towards your dreams.

No, not everyone who applies will receive a grant. But as Arthur Peña’s Vice Palace tape project and Lee Escobedo’s “What Is Cinema?” podcast have proven, the one’s that do win often make our entire cultural scene better.

So whether you’re a musician, artist, dancer, actor, performer, writer, curator, gallery director, podcaster, chef or filmmaker, there is only one way to take advantage of all of these exciting opportunities — by applying today.

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