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King County COVID Funding supports Arts in Times of Crisis

Source: King County Creative (

During COVID, at times, things stood still. Many of us didn't know where to turn or how to move during these unknown times. Could you do your day-to-day activities? Were you allowed to participate in things that bring you joy? We knew that we had to teach ourselves how to find joy during this time of isolation. The pandemic, for some, became a time to value the arts. From music to dance, to film, to painting, big or small, art made a difference in how we lived our lives. The arts help us create our own version of wellness in our daily lives. The arts help us process how we live, and the arts allow us to come together collectively, even while being physically apart. So what happened to all of the art-focused funding during the pandemic?

King County operates the 4Culture Grant Program. 4Culture takes a unique approach to serve our region. Their four program areas—arts, heritage, historic preservation, and public art—put public resources to use all over King County. They work to ensure access to cultural experiences for all, from museum collections to theater productions to artists showing work in our gallery.

Of the $2.16B of COVID-19 funding received, $9.4M (0.44%) was dedicated to supporting arts programming in King County via 4Culture. Of the $9.4 million dedicated to 4Culture, they allocated $5 million to funding for arts, culture, and heritage organizations. 4Culture program staff developed a coordinated approach to distributing ARPA funding for organizations and Sustained Support funding, which is 4Culture’s annual operating support for cultural organizations funded by King County lodging tax.

So far, 4Culture has distributed a total of $5,008,736 to 179 cultural organizations in the areas of art, heritage, and historic preservation and a total of $921,000 to 107 individual producers.

These grants addressed the effects of COVID-19 on arts and culture throughout the region. Individual grants were available from $1,000 - $12,000 and aimed to stabilize the finances of cultural producers in King County who lost a minimum of $1,000 in income in 2020 due to the public health crisis. Disaster relief grants were offered to support individuals that, for purposes of these programs, met a definition of a cultural producer to stabilize their living situation and stimulate cultural production and income generation. For organizations, this program aimed to increase employment opportunities and public program offerings by King County cultural organizations. Grants to assist organizations in weathering the pandemic were offered to small and mid-sized nonprofit cultural organizations with annual revenue of less than $1 million to stabilize operations, stimulate rehiring, and relaunch public programs.

So what's still available? The 4Culture awards to both individual producers and cultural organizations impacted the cultural sector throughout King County. The following maps show the funding distribution for both awards by King County Council District. Visit for more information about 4Culture and available grant opportunities.

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