“The fact that our entire state is at home right now streaming content, reading books and listening to music proves that arts play a vital role in our society,” Faulconer said. “Budgets are so strained that government can’t help arts alone and donors can’t do it either, so we’re joining together to amplify our impact and help locals who have been hit hard by this crisis.”
A recent survey showed the arts sector is the hardest hit of all nonprofits in the San Diego region, causing many San Diegans in the creative community to lose their sources of income.
With the economic downturn stretching the finances of both local governments and privately funded organizations, the City of San Diego is joining with these private entities to launch The San Diego Arts + Culture Challenge. The goal of this new partnership is to help stabilize the industry by easing financial losses that are prompting organizations to close their doors and reduce their workforce.
“These are challenging times for San Diego, but they also offer the opportunity to reinvigorate its creative future,” said City of San Diego Arts Commission for Arts and Culture Executive Director Jonathon Glus. “While we are all affected and are working to cope with this pandemic, for some, the impact is daunting and nearly catastrophic. Addressing those needs in the creative community is the unique task of this effort. It is imperative that we do not lose their participation in shaping San Diego’s unique and diverse creative sector. If ever there was a moment for a true transformation of philanthropy, it is now.”
The effort has three goals:
- Emergency relief grants: One-time dollars to help nonprofit organizations and creative practitioners sustain themselves. The San Diego Foundation and Clare Rose Foundation have given $250,000 to initiate a public giving campaign. Corporate partners and San Diegans are encouraged to donate to the fund, which is hosted by San Diego-based online giving platform Classy and managed by The San Diego Foundation. The fundraising goal is $2 million. Donations can be made at sandiegoracc.org/challenge.
- Art from local artists: To help keep San Diegans employed, the City Arts and Culture Commission will acquire contemporary art by established and emerging San Diego artists. Called “SD Practice,” it supports local artists through the direct purchase of art to diversify the City’s civic art collection. This initiative is made possible through a $500,000 contribution made by contemporary artist Thomas O. Rasmussen via The San Diego Foundation. Rasmussen, who died in 2014, wished to support the public display of artworks to the widest range of the public possible a sentiment shared by the City.
- Public art: The City Arts and Culture Commission will invest $500,000 for San Diego artists to produce temporary artwork that is placed in public spaces such as beaches, parks, plazas and boulevards. The funds come from repurposed monies generated from developer fees and a family bequest.
“COVID-19 poses an unprecedented threat to the arts and culture sector in our city. Our community needs to mobilize in response with renewed passion, vision and equity for the organizations that enrich our lives in so many ways,” said Clare Rose Foundation creative youth development director Matt D’Arrigo. “At greater risk than our incredible museums and performing arts institutions, but of equal importance to the local arts ecosystem, are the small arts & culture organizations rooted and growing out of our diverse neighborhoods and communities serving young people and their families. These organizations not only provide deep, long-term arts education and experiences, they are a cultural and social-emotional lifeline for countless young people and their families.
“For years, The San Diego Foundation Creative Catalyst Program has been committed to supporting local artists and the nonprofit organizations that enrich our communities through engaging arts and culture experiences,” said San Diego Foundation president and CEO Mark Stuart. “As San Diegans face public health and economic crisis together, we are proud to partner with government leaders and philanthropists through our Creative Catalyst Program to support the region’s creative workforce during this critical time of need.”
The San Diego Arts + Culture Challenge is spearheaded by a cohort of local leaders including the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture, The San Diego Foundation, Clare Rose Foundation and San Diego Regional Arts & Culture Coalition. Donated services are being provided by Classy, TR/PR Public Relations, and DeMarco Design, Voice of San Diego, Vanguard Culture and Times of San Diego.
San Diego joins other major cities including Chicago, Boston, Seattle, and Los Angeles, who have created relief programs for artists and arts organizations. The full report is available here.
Grant applications and eligibility information for The San Diego Art + Culture Challenge funds will be available later this month here. Donations can be made here.