DC Commission on Arts and Humanities Reports Significant Progress in Efforts to Make Arts Funding More Equitable

WASHINGTON , September 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (CAH) has incorporated a number of changes recommended by the CAH Task Force on Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging and has made progress toward its goals fair funding.

In 2021, CAH successfully worked with the DC Council to legislate an expanded program of general operating support grants. CAH now allocates 54% of its annual grant budget to General Operating Support (GOS) grants. This measure makes it possible to increase the pool of funding for these scholarships. To create a fairer evaluation process, applicants are grouped and reviewed in cohorts with similar sized budgets. These unrestricted grant funds enable CAH grantee partners to build their capacity and organizational infrastructure.

One year after the start of the new grant funding formula and nearly two years after the findings of the task force, CAH’s efforts have yielded positive results. In FY22, 22 new grantee partners received $2.81 million in funding via the GOS program. CAH has also increased its grants to organizations and artists in Wards 4, 5, 7 and 8, where funding has historically been smaller and less evenly distributed, by $5.4 million, a 78% increase from FY21. CAH has increased the allocation of grants to organizations and artists in these neighborhoods by 7%.

CAH saw its overall budget increase by $11.6 million in FY22 (a 27% increase) to its FY21 budget, including critically important relief funds for district artists and institutions facing financial instability due to the COVID-19 pandemic. CAH rewarded $2.5 million to 340 organizations through the FY22 Relief and Recovery Fund (RRF) grant. More $1.38 million of these funds went to artists and organizations in Wards 4, 5, 7 and 8.

“The CAH has a clear mission: to invest fairly in the city’s arts and culture sector.drive innovation and strengthen the entire arts and humanities ecosystem in the nation’s capital,” said CAH President Reggie Van Lee. “With this historic investment and the focus on building the capacity of our grantee partners, CAH is doing its part to build a more sustainable artistic community in the district. We have expanded our programming, welcomed new grantee partners, collaborated with other district agencies, and greatly increased our direct community engagement. Our important work has just begun, but we are happy with our advanced process. »

The Commission has also had an impact in the community through partnerships. CAH has partnered with the DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) and DC Public Schools (DCPS) through the Color the Curb: School Safety Program to increase awareness of vehicle and pedestrian safety around schools. CAH has also entered into a new partnership with the DC Public Library, enabling the development of free cultural programming for residents and visitors to the district.

To learn more about CAH’s work and some of the agency’s recent successes, visit dcarts.dc.gov.

Additional highlights include:

  • CAH has increased its financial support to the DC Department of Small & Local Business Development (DSLBD) to $285,000 to support and expand Art All Night, a celebration of local artists, businesses and organizations that attracts over 120,000 attendees. The festival, held on September 23 and 24, highlights the district’s robust arts sector.
  • 85 grantee partners participated in the FY22 Mentor/Protégé program, CAH’s annual summer capacity building program. This initiative supports both large and small organizations and creates an ecosystem where they can support and learn from each other.


Jeffrey Scott (CAH), 202-341-9908, [email protected]
Press Office (Bayne); 202-594-9223; [email protected]

SOURCE DC Arts and Humanities Commission

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