LANSING, Mich.—Recovering financially from pandemic losses has been different for everyone. It is no secret that the arts and culture sector in Greater Lansing was hit especially hard during the pandemic shutdown. The Arts Council of Greater Lansing was keenly aware of the struggles their community had been facing since 2020 and consistently sought funding opportunities that could offer relief. In 2021, they applied for and received a grant that would allow them to create their Gaining Recovery in Transition (GRIT) Grant Program. The program, announced earlier this year, is providing a total of $200,000 in recovery funds to Greater Lansing’s arts and culture community.
Made possible by support from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), GRIT Grants are providing an opportunity for those organizing and creating in the arts to receive funds that will provide pandemic recovery support. The GRIT Grants will fund projects and/or operational costs to help artists and arts and cultural organizations regain their strength and continue serving the Greater Lansing community.
“We are so happy for all of our grantees and so proud to be able to offer these funds to them,” said Meghan Martin, Arts Council executive director. “We have such a talented and amazing arts and culture sector in Greater Lansing, and these dollars are going to go a long way to support their work and help them thrive again, which is important to our overall success as a community.”
According to a 2022 report by Americans for the Arts, U.S. non-profit arts and cultural organizations had an estimated $17.97 billion in losses, and 95 percent of artists and creatives experienced a significant loss of creative income. Prior to the pandemic, the arts and culture sector was a nearly $900 billion industry that supported 4.6 million jobs across the U.S.
Arts Council membership and program manager Taylor Haslett and program assistant Tabor Vits were deeply involved in the grant program’s creation. They held multiple workshops around the region so that those interested in applying had a thorough understanding of the application process.
“Helping our artists and organizations through grant funding opportunities is one of the best parts of my work,” Haslett said. “We want to see them all excel and be able to create, and that has been hard since the pandemic. These grants are going to help them come back strong, and we are so proud of everyone who took a chance and applied,” she said. “Our goal was to make them as accessible as possible, and as a result, we received applications from all over the region.
A total of 49 applications were submitted and reviewed through external panels formed by the Arts Council and 43 grants were awarded in total. While this program was a one-time opportunity, the Arts Council hopes that a permanent version of the program can be created in the future.
“As the only Michigan organization awarded this NEA grant, we were extremely honored to receive these funds," says Martin. "It was an exciting challenge for our team to create a program that put those dollars back out to the community, and we are extremely proud of its success. We look forward to seeing all of the projects proposed and to watching our area organizations grow and have some breathing room in the process.”
Below is a list of all of the FY2023 GRIT Grant Program recipients.
Matthew Anderson; Mikeyy Austin; Cheyanne Britten; Jacqueline Carroll; Petra Daher; Carolyn Damstra; Katherine Erickson; Elyse Gambino; Brianna Garrett; Sarah Sanders; Daniel Hogan; Dedria Humphries Barker; Dustin Hunt; Kylee Kellett; Ji Hyun Kim; Dara Mayhoe; Matt Mulford; Justin Reid; Jane Reiter; Zahrah Resh; Jozefa Rogocki; Masaki Takahashi; Marissa Tawney Thaler; Barb Whitney; Kristina Wood
All-of-Us Express Children’s Theatre; Capital City Film Festival; Clinton County Arts Council; Community Circle Players; Cracked Pot Studio Tour; Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum; Focus on Love Foundation; Great Commission Studios; Happendance; Lansing Art Gallery and Education Center; Lansing Children’s Choir; Lansing Symphony Orchestra; Michigan Institute for Contemporary Art (MICA); MSU Science Festival; Peppermint Creek Theatre Company; REACH Studio Art Center; Sistrum, the Lansing Women’s Chorus; Williamston Theatre