On or before April 30, the Arkansas Arts Council expects to receive a $441,500 boost from the National Endowment for the Arts to help nonprofit arts organizations in Arkansas weather the economic fallout from the global pandemic. It’s part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, a relief package signed into law on March 27. Congress allotted $75 million to the NEA as part of the act, restricting eligibility for CARE grants to agencies that had received NEA funding in the past four years.

“This award will help save jobs in Arkansas’s arts sector and help keep arts organizations going through these tough times,” Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, said in a press release. “Small and mid-sized arts organizations in particular are struggling in the wake of canceled events and fundraising activities. This NEA funding will help artists and arts organizations thrive long term in Arkansas.”

The award, the release says, will be added to the Arkansas Arts Council’s federal fiscal year 2019 Partnership Agreement Grant through NEA for two years and must be spent by September 2021.

“Broadly, the grant is intended to provide relief to arts organizations negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Arkansas Arts Council Director Patrick Ralston said. “The Arts Council will be required to establish a separate relief grant program to distribute these funds. Our goal mission is to support, encourage and help keep the arts strong in Arkansas. … The creative economy is a vital component of our state’s overall economy and quality of life. This grant goes a long way in helping to mitigate the economic impact of this pandemic.”