The City of Santa Monica awarded 56 grants to local artists and arts organizations in the 2023-2024 funding cycle, an increase of 12 percent recipients from the last grants cycle, as part of its ongoing strategic investment to enhance community access to the arts and help Santa Monica-based artists and arts organizations flourish. The funding advances the recently adopted City Council Priority of Cultivating Economic Recovery and Expanding Community and Cultural Offerings by investing in community and cultural amenities and programs for all community members.
“Santa Monica Cultural Affairs invests in people and programs that enrich our lives through the arts,” said Cultural Affairs Manager Sofia Klatzker. “We do this by making public funding accessible for local arts organizations and individual artists who reflect and serve the diversity of people and experiences across the City. All of our grant programs are focused on supporting a healthy creative sector and prioritize equity and organizational sustainability. This is ultimately how we support the City’s resiliency—by building back and growing the creative economy.”
A total of $525,525 is awarded in the 2023-2024 funding cycle through three grant programs, each supporting a different area of focus:
Organizational Support Program
Over $400,000 is awarded to 22 cultural agencies, which is the most diverse grantee pool to date. Created in 1997, the Organizational Support Program, provides two years of sustained investment in the city’s cultural institutions, with the goal of ensuring that Santa Monicans have equitable access to a diversity of excellence in art, creativity, culture, and innovation. The program meets this objective by offering multiyear discretionary funding to Santa Monica-based arts and heritage nonprofits.
Community Access & Participation
Grants totaling $70,000 is awarded to all 29 of the eligible community programs submitted. The Community Access & Participation (CAP) grant program was established in 2018 and provides annual funding to Santa Monica-based nonprofit arts and culture organizations increasing access to high-quality arts and culture programs to Santa Monica residents and visitors.
The CAP grant program has two funding categories, as well as a Latino funding priority. The Community Access & Participation category supports exceptional artistic and heritage experiences and cultural opportunities that respond to community needs. The Building the Future category supports programs that engage Santa Monica youth in activities that encourage a lifelong association with the arts or heritage/history. The Latino funding priority aims to increase the number and diversity of funded programs that reach Santa Monica’s Latino community and engage Latino audiences in Santa Monica and/or celebrate Santa Monica’s rich Latino cultural heritage. Seven of the 29 eligible programs met the Latino priority.
Artist Fellowship Program
A total of $15,800 is awarded to five individual artists, of which two are Fellowship grants, and three are Project Fellowship grants. For the Fellowships, disciplines rotate annually—the 2023-24 discipline is the literary and performance arts. This year, writer and poet Cynthia Alessandra Briano and choreographer and interdisciplinary artist Ann Carlson were selected. For the Project Fellowships, which can be in any discipline, digital media artist Lola del Fresno received the second annual Kate Johnson Digital Arts Fellowship, and projects by writer Mia Alvar, and choreographer Suchi Branfman were also selected.
One of the largest, public-sector, individual artist programs in the U.S., the Artist Fellowship Program provides a platform for both emerging and established artists. This support helps create a thriving arts ecosystem and reinforces residents’ long-standing regard for creativity and innovation. Since 2009 a cumulative total of 62 visual artists, writers, choreographers, performance artists, and musicians will have received robust support from the program.
For the list of current grantees and artist fellows, visit santamonica.gov/artists-and-grantees.