Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe will receive $50,000, with the National Endowment for the Arts recommendation, to counteract COVID-19 impacts

SARASOTA, FL - Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe has been approved by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to receive $50,000 in direct funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The NEA recommended 855 arts organizations – in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico – to receive a total of $44.5 million in non-matching funds to support staff salaries, fees for artists or contractual personnel, and facilities costs. WBTT was one of 33 grantees in Florida.

Grants of $50,000 have been offered to 846 organizations while nine local arts agencies will receive $250,000 each to further award to arts organizations in their area. The National Endowment for the Arts received more than 3,100 eligible applications requesting $157 million for the $45 million available in direct assistance. To review the applications, the agency used more than 200 application readers and panelists to review and score each application using the published review criteria.

“As our stages continue to be dark due to the coronavirus pandemic, and revenues have gone to basically zero, this financial support will be critical in helping us to keep our staff and vendors paid and our facilities attended to,” said WBTT Executive Director Julie Leach. “We are grateful for the CARES Act funding, and appreciative of the careful consideration of the NEA. We will put these funds to good use.”

According to the NEA announcement, the (CARES) Act recognizes that the nonprofit arts industry is an important sector of America’s economy. The NEA awards will help recipient entities and their employees endure the economic hardships caused by the forced closure of their operations due to the spread of COVID-19. As part of this important investment, the Arts Endowment has designed a plan to expedite the distribution of funds to help retain as many jobs as possible, as quickly as possible. These funds are intended to help save jobs in the arts sector and keep the doors open to the thousands of organizations that add value to America’s economy and the creative life of our communities.