Arts Alliance Illinois encourages Illinois creatives to apply for grant funds

Arts Alliance Illinois is encouraging creatives across the state to apply for the B2B Arts (Illinois Creative Recovery) Grant, a historic $50 million in grant money being distributed by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) to assist businesses, nonprofit organizations, sole proprietors, freelancers, and independent contractors in the creative sector that have suffered losses because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applications are open now through May 10. 

Unlike the B2B (Back to Business) relief program that took place earlier in the pandemic, B2B Arts is specifically built for creative businesses and organizations, meaning a much larger portion of the creative community in Illinois is eligible to receive funding. Arts Alliance’s message to the sector? Don’t assume you’re ineligible for B2B Arts.

“We’re seeing organizations, businesses, and especially freelancers and independent artists assume they aren’t eligible, when really they are,” said Kacie Smith, Director of Programs, Arts Alliance Illinois. “We know the application and eligibility can be confusing, and we are here to help folks navigate that. Especially since all eligible applicants will receive awards.” 

Arts Alliance Illinois is offering free resources to assist applicants with the DCEO grant application process, including webinars and a help desk that provides 1-on-1 assistance for prospective applicants and answers the thorniest questions about eligibility and the application process. For more information about the grant and available resources visit here .

“This $50 million in relief for the creative sector couldn’t come at a more critical time,” said Claire Rice, Executive Director, Arts Alliance Illinois. “We’ve always said that the arts were the first to close and the last to reopen. The creative community in Illinois has never had this much funding available, and with applications closing May 10, the window for people to access it is tight. That’s why we’re here: to make sure the arts and culture community not only knows that these funds are available, but also has all the help they need to successfully apply.” 

Thanks to advocacy efforts by a statewide coalition led by Arts Alliance Illinois, B2B Arts (Illinois Creative Recovery) Grants will be distributed by DCEO to eligible applicants including organizations, businesses and sole proprietors—including many freelancers and independent contractors—that operate in one of the following categories: independent live venue operators, performing or presenting arts organizations (Dance, Film, Literary Arts, Media Arts, Music, Theater, or Visual Arts), arts education organizations, cultural heritage organizations, and museums. Eligible entities must have: 

  • Experienced a loss in earned and/or contributed revenue of at least $5,000 due to economic disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Been in operation in Illinois since prior to March 12, 2020, and remain in operation at time of application.

Awards provided to eligible businesses and nonprofit organizations under this program will be sized based on losses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with a maximum award of $250,000.

The DCEO application and more information about the grant can be found here

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