The San Antonio Department of Arts and Culture announced June 29 that local arts organizations may now apply for recovery grants funded through the American Rescue Plan Act.

The ARPA 4 Arts Grant Program will distribute a total of $4 million to San Antonio arts nonprofits and $1 million to local individual artists who were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release.

Now through July 29, individual artists can apply to receive up to $7,500, and eligible arts nonprofits will be granted funds based on budget size and the communities they serve. The program is expected to help more than 130 San Antonio individual artists and 40 arts nonprofits, the city said.

Eligible individual artists must live in San Antonio, have been a professional artist for the last three years who derived a portion of their income from their artistic activity and demonstrate COVID-19’s impact to their artistic career, the release said.

Eligible arts nonprofits must be based in San Antonio, have been providing arts programming for the last three years and demonstrate COVID-19’s impact to their business, the release said.

City officials said scoring for the grant program includes a focus on equity, as COVID-19 disproportionately impacted specific communities more than others, including low-income communities, communities of color and women.

Local officials said the pandemic spurred shutdowns of venues through which many individuals and groups active in San Antonio’s creative economy derive much of their income.

According to the Saber Research Institute, San Antonio’s creative economy job loss during the pandemic was 18%, and estimated losses for nonprofits are $71 million as of January 2021.

Additionally, Americans for the Arts research notes that the arts sector is recovering slower than other industries, with COVID-19 continuing to disrupt in-person programming, audience size and charitable giving, city officials said.

“In the midst of the pandemic and facing significant hardships, so many of San Antonio’s artists and cultural organizations provided free virtual programming to keep our community connected when we could not safely gather in person,” Department of Arts and Culture Interim Executive Director Krystal Jones said.

Jones said San Antonio’s creative industry is still in a recovery phase.

“The funding provided by ARPA 4 Arts is critical to supporting the arts sector that supported us, so artists and organizations can move forward and continue to increase the quality of life of residents and visitors through arts and culture,” she added.