More Coronavirus Relief For Denver Artists Is On The Way With New Grants

(Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)
Dragondeer plays Levitt Pavilion’s last free show of their inaugural season, Sept. 24, 2017.

With uncertainty over the coronavirus still on the minds of many artists, the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation and the Denver Foundation are teaming up once again to distribute funds to cash-strapped arts organizations.

The fund is collecting donations through February to distribute to small and mid-sized arts organizations in 2021. They’re aiming to raise more than a million dollars for local artists.

Applications for grants ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 each will open on Jan. 6.

Bonfils-Stanton Foundation President Gary Steuer said supporting artists during this crisis is important for everyone. 

“The reality is that we need a holistic systemic response to COVID,” he said. “Yes, we absolutely need to address our health care issues to address food insecurity, to address homelessness, but at the same time, we're human beings and our life needs to be worth living. The arts are critical to that.”

Steuer said arts give people hope and joy, especially during stressful times like the resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The arts are there for you and the arts will be there for you when we get past this and the arts, in fact, will help us process this,” he said.

Last summer, the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation teamed up with the Denver Foundation to form the COVID-19 Arts and Culture Relief Fund, which has given around $1.2 million to support the arts community in the city. In all, 41 organizations have so far benefited. Many organizations continue to cancel and scrap planned events, concerts, performances, in-person classes and other resources during the pandemic. The COVID-19 Arts and Culture Relief Fund seeks to give groups, both first-time and returning grant winners, more money to get them through the pandemic. 

Some of the past grantees include Vocal Coalition (VOCO), a children’s choir, D3 Arts — an arts nonprofit that focuses on Mexican American culture and community — Levitt Pavilion — an outdoor stage that provides free live music to the public — and the Curious Theatre Company

Steuer also encourages supporting the arts this holiday season. His foundation is one of many that participated in Arts Through It All, a campaign encouraging gift givers to donate to or buy from Colorado museums, holiday markets and online shops.

“What they need is for those donors who believe in them and who care about them to step up and support them in this time,” Steuer said. “Continue to subscribe, continue their memberships to, especially in this holiday season, think about giving a membership to a friend or family member as a holiday gift. Think about buying tickets, think about buying art.”