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Why a Phoenix councilmember voted against $1 million in arts and culture grants

Nearly 100 arts and cultural groups will share close to $1.3 million, thanks to grants approved by Phoenix leaders last week. But one City Council member voted against the awards and criticized the process.

“Our support for the arts should not be reserved for our downtown or central city,” said Councilwoman Betty Guardado. “All Phoenix communities should be given access to experience and appreciate the arts. It is the job of our arts and culture department to ensure there is equity in our funding so that this becomes a reality.”

Guardado expressed dissatisfaction over arts and culture programs and priorities since she took office three years ago.

“We keep hearing about different programs that will be done in District 5 and out in the west side and we see no timelines on them,” she said.

Mayor Kate Gallego said the city’s arts and culture office has made changes to  the grant program, like offering the portal in Spanish and opening the process to small LLCs and artists’ collaboratives.

“I think we’re not there yet but it does seem to me that the Arts and Culture Commission and our office is really trying to take important steps and we got an increase in applications this year which is exciting.”

Some of the smallest grants — around $2,500 — will go to the Hatcher Business Alliance, the Arizona LGBT plus history project and an artists collective called the Sacred Gs. The biggest grant, $45,000, will go to Ballet Arizona, followed by $41,000 for Phoenix Theatre, and $40,000 each for Phoenix Art Museum and Desert Botanical Garden.

By the April 4, 2022, application deadline, the Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture had received 110 applications. Of those, it determined 100 were eligible for support “and were reviewed by community panels made up of laypersons, artists, arts professionals, and educators to ensure a through and unbiased review.”

Of the 100 applications reviewed, 98 received funding.

Grant recipients

Grantee Amount
Act One $18,750
Advocates for Latino Arts & Culture Consortium $5,000
African Association of Arizona $3,000
Almost Famous Theatre Company $10,000
Alwun House Foundation $6,500
Arab American Festival $2,850
Arizona Aikido $5,500
Arizona Center for Nature Conservation (Phoenix Zoo) $24,000
Arizona Jewish Historical Society $18,000
Arizona LGBT+ History Project $2,550
Arizona Masterworks Chorale $7,750
Arizona Matsuri $2,850
Arizona Opera Company $35,000
Arizona Science Center $31,000
Arizona Theatre Company $31,000
Balkan Community Culture and Heritage Organization $2,850
Ballet Arizona $45,000
Black Theatre Troupe $15,000
CALA Alliance $14,500
Central Arts Alliance (Phoenix Center for the Arts) $17,250
Childrens Museum of Phoenix $28,000
Childsplay $15,500
Cihuapactli Collective $15,500
Convergence Ballet Company $3,000
Cultural Arts Coalition Celebrating Global Connections $3,000
Cultural Coalition $12,750
Desert Botanical Garden $40,000
Desert Overture Live Cultural Entertainment $6,500
Downtown Chamber Series $9,500
Familias Consulting $2,850
FEXAM Media $2,700
Free Arts for Abused Children of Arizona $35,000
Fuerte Art Collective $2,700
Furious Styles Crew $2,700
Genesis Program $3,000
Grassrootz Bookstore $9,500
Great Arizona Puppet Theater $12,750
Grey Box Collective $10,000
Harmony Project Phoenix $12,750
Hatcher Road Business Alliance $2,550
Heard Museum $35,000
Heartsy $10,000
Helios: a modern renaissance $3,000
Heritage Square Foundation $12,750
In The Q Records $3,000
Indige Design Collab $2,850
Irish Cultural and Learning Foundation $7,000
iTheatre Collaborative $5,500
Japanese Friendship Garden of Phoenix $14,000
Jazz in Arizona $14,000
Kids In Focus $12,750
Latina Dance Project $2,850
Movement Source $3,000
Musica Nova $6,750
Musical Instrument Museum $35,000
Musical Theatre of Anthem $16,000
North Valley Symphony Orchestra Inc $7,750
NUEBOX $2,850
Orpheus Male Chorus of Phoenix $12,000
Owlsong Productions $3,000
Palabras Bilingual Bookstore $5,000
Phoenix Art Museum $40,000
Phoenix Boys Choir $18,750
Phoenix Chamber Music Society $14,000
Phoenix Childrens Chorus $19,250
Phoenix Chinese Week $2,850
Phoenix Conservatory of Music $15,500
Phoenix Film Foundation $12,250
Phoenix Girls Chorus $13,000
Phoenix Institute of Contemporary Art $8,750
Phoenix Performing Arts Center (Herberger Theater Center) $14,500
Phoenix Symphony $35,000
Phoenix Theatre $41,000
Phoenix Womens Chorus $6,500
Phoenix Youth Circus Arts $3,000
Phoenix Youth Symphony Orchestras $11,750
Phonetic Spit $14,000
Playback Theatre of Arizona $3,000
Red Rocks Music Festival $12,500
Reframe Youth Arts Center $13,500
Rising Youth Theatre $12,750
Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation $11,000
Rosies House a Music Academy for Children $20,000
Scorpius Dance Theatre $6,000
Shemer Art Center and Museum Association Inc Shemer $15,000
Skyes the Limit Foundation $2,850
Sounds Academy $13,250
Spotlight Youth Theatre $11,250
Teatro Bravo $3,000
Teatro Meshico $6,500
The Phoenix Chorale $13,000
The Sacred G's $2,550
The Sagrado $8,750
Valley Youth Theatre $14,000
Wasted Ink Zine Distro $10,000
Xico $16,750
Yes and Productions $9,500
Young Arts Arizona $14,000
As a senior field correspondent, Christina Estes focuses on stories that impact our economy, your wallet and public policy.