Resilience and relationships: Key to funding for the arts

Recent reports about the status of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) have many wondering what that might mean to local, regional and state support for creatives. As part of the County government, Arlington receives its primary funding for arts and creative economy initiatives through the general fund budget.  But taking on bigger projects and working with multiple community partners often requires funding above and beyond the approved allocations. With limited eligible grant options for public sector entities, the NEA is a prime resource. For many years, Arlington has been awarded grant funding from the NEA ranging from Our Town to Access to Artistic Excellence and Heritage/Preservation. From those have come extraordinary outcomes, including the celebration of Arlington’s Mongolian culture in Hamtdaa: Together at Artisphere and the recent community development process of designing Nauck Town Square with Walter Hood.

But even with the additional funding, it takes more than supplemental resources to make a creative sector sustainable and thriving. It takes relationships - local, regional, across disciplines, within your workforce and others, to build a resilient ecosystem. It’s been a backbone approach in many industries in Arlington and the creative sector is no different. How has the creative economy initiative mirrored that? By expanding and leveraging partner support with internal departments like libraries, non-profits like business improvement organizations, professional umbrella associations and private business rooted in the community.

So while funding sources need to be pursued, and the NEA holding firm, without those relationships and partnerships, you could be leaving money on the table.

Curious about what creative partnerships can be used to supplement your resources?

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