San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and City Administrator Carmen Chu today announced over $12 million in general operating support grants to fund arts and cultural organizations. This year’s Grants for the Arts (GFTA) funding is primarily dedicated to the general operating support for arts organizations and also aims to support community parades and festivals to help restore the City’s cultural vibrancy and drive its economic recovery.
“We know that the pandemic has been hard on all of us, but it has been especially difficult for our city’s artists and cultural organizations,” said Mayor Breed. “The arts are part of what makes San Francisco so special and create an inclusive atmosphere for all who live in and visit our city. During this critical time in our economic recovery, we need to do everything we can to bring back our community festivals that are loved by so many, and support those who contribute to our city’s vibrant culture.”
As president of the Board of Supervisors, Mayor Breed spearheaded Proposition E, which was passed by voters in 2018 and allocated 1.5% of hotel tax revenue to the arts. Due to the loss of hotel tax revenues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Breed allocated funding from the General Fund to backfill losses during this year’s budget cycle. Mayor Breed’s budget for Fiscal Year 2021-2022 also includes $12 million for GFTA to support arts organizations, as well as parades and festivals.
“Cultural festivals and arts have always been an essential part of San Francisco’s vibrant community. They draw people to San Francisco, bring communities together, and in many ways, define our experiences here,” said City Administrator Carmen Chu. “Supporting our arts organizations during these challenging times is key to our City’s recovery.”
The City Administrator manages GFTA, a program that has provided a stable and dependable source for general operating costs to support the City’s arts and cultural organizations since 1961. Since its inception, GFTA has distributed over $400 million to hundreds of arts non-profits and cultural organizations. GFTA funds over 250 arts organizations each fiscal year, including those organizing and supporting parades and festivals throughout the City.
Committed to serving San Francisco’s diverse communities, this is the first year GFTA implemented a funding process that used a strong equity lens to focus on art organizations deeply rooted in and serving diverse populations.
“Having art and cultural events around every corner in the City is why people live here and it’s why people from all over the world visit San Francisco. Art and culture is the soul of San Francisco,” said Vallie Brown, Director of Grants for the Arts. “As San Francisco slowly comes out of our long COVID nap, it’s vital that we support our arts organizations and our community’s parades and festivals.”
“Cultural live music and dance has been missing from our community throughout the pandemic,” says Roberto Hernandez, CEO of Carnaval San Francisco. “We appreciate Mayor Breed and Grants for the Arts for providing funding for all communities as we begin to recover and heal.”
In addition to parades and festivals, GFTA funds other essential arts activities, specifically those that capture and reflect the experiences of the City’s diverse communities, including BIPOC and LGBTQ communities and cross-cultural collaborations.
“We are blessed to live in one of the best cities in the world that cares about BIPOC stories, artists, and arts organizations by putting actionable effort into funding them,” says Rodney Earl Jackson Jr., Artistic Director of San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company (SFBATCO). SFBATCO is a Black, Latine, Asian-led non-profit organization producing compelling theater that builds community, fosters cross-cultural dialogue, and promotes social justice.
A complete list of GFTA’s Fiscal Year 2022 grants can be found here.