The Washington State Arts Commission, in coordination with the Washington State Department of Commerce, is accepting applications for CARES Relief funding grants to be distributed to arts and cultural organizations statewide.

The deadline to apply is Oct. 23.

“Arts and cultural organizations play a particularly important role as we grapple with the social and emotional challenges of the pandemic and reckoning with inequality,” Commerce Director Lisa Brown said. “These grants will help support a strong creative economy in our state that benefits artists from diverse backgrounds and builds community for all.”  

Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, including tribal organizations and fiscally sponsored groups impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, are eligible to apply for a grant of up to $10,000. Organizations must have current federal tax-exempt status or be sponsored by a qualifying non-profit that has arts, culture and/or heritage in their mission statement. Grants will be processed and paid by the end of December.

“The creative sector is an important part of Washington’s economy that’s been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” ArtsWA Executive Director Karen Hanan said. “We’re grateful that the Department of Commerce has made these funds available for arts and cultural organizations that desperately need help to survive.”

A Statewide Cultural and Creative Economic Recovery Survey conducted by 14 partner organizations found that 75 percent of the 483 arts and culture organizations that responded will have depleted their operating budget by the end of November 2020.

“Because we want to distribute the grants as soon as possible, the application period is only four weeks long,” Hanan said. “We’re especially hoping that rural and underserved nonprofit organizations across the state take this opportunity to apply.”

Applications will be evaluated under three main criteria: financial need, arts and cultural programming and communities served. To ensure geographic distribution, applications will be evaluated by regional panels serving the northwest, southwest, central and eastern regions of the state.

For information, go to or email Miguel Guillén,