CARES Act Grant Funding Outcomes

ArtsWA distributed $3,836,600 in CARES Act funding to Washington State arts and culture nonprofits in 2020. Grants of up to $10,000 were disbursed to organizations in three separate rounds of funding. 447 organizations across the state received funding. Sixty-one percent of funding was distributed outside of King County.

Download the program handout here.

Counties with Organizations Receiving CARES Act Funding

map of Washington State counties

Funding Outcomes

CARES 1.0 – Spring 2020

ArtsWA received federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to distribute.

  • $431,600 distributed.
  • 143 organizations in 29 counties received funding.
CARES 2.0 – Fall 2020

ArtsWA partnered with the Dept. of Commerce to distribute federal CARES Act funds.

  • $1,445,000 distributed.
  • 249 organizations in 32 counties received funding.
  • 138 organizations received no funding.
  • No organizations were funded at 100% of their ask.
CARES 2.1 – December 2020

The Governor’s Budget Office/OFM and the Legislature provided funding directly to ArtsWA to distribute.

  • $1,960,000 distributed.
  • ArtsWA increased the awards of the 249 organizations funded by CARES 2.0 to 100% of their ask.
  • ArtsWA funded the 138 organizations initially unfunded by CARES 2.0 (approximately 82% of their ask.)
County # orgs  Total CARES Funding
Benton 15 $106,624.00
Chelan 9 $75,269.00
Clallam 10 $78,269.00
Clark 10 $64,000.00
Columbia 1 $10,000.00
Cowlitz 3 $17,000.00
Grant 2 $12,269.00
Grays Harbor 5 $35,000.00
Island 18 $127,871.09
Jefferson 12 $92,894.15
King 193 $1,487,547.49
Kitsap 23 $152,210.50
Kittitas 4 $20,000.00
Klickitat 1 $10,000.00
Lewis 5 $35,269.00
Lincoln 2 $15,500.00
Mason 1 $10,000.00
Okanogan 12 $84,269.00
Pacific 7 $40,300.00
Pend Oreille 4 $29,000.00
Pierce 33 $220,376.00
San Juan 14 $64,906.03
Skagit 17 $119,114.00
Snohomish 29 $209,690.00
Spokane 25 $192,187.00
Stevens 5 $17,177.04
Thurston 20 $143,000.00
Wahkiakum 1 $2,500.00
Walla Walla 8 $64,500.00
Whatcom 26 $170,588.70
Whitman 5 $37,000.00
Yakima 13 $92,269.00
Total CARES funds distributed statewide by ArtsWA $ 3,836,600.00

Additional ArtsWA Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

In 2020, ArtsWA pivoted its programs and activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a summary of the support and opportunities ArtsWA provided to the arts and culture sector. Visit our COVID-19 main page for more information about all our COVID-19 efforts and news.


ArtsWA created an extensive section on our website to share the latest information to the arts and culture sector. Our COVID-19 section contains resources specific to each region of Washington State.

Converting Grants to Reflect Sector Needs

In April, we made a temporary change to our FY 2020 grant policy. If a funded project, event, or program was postponed or canceled due to government mandate, grantees were authorized to use grant funds for General Operating Support.

We were one of the first state arts agencies in the nation to do this.

Statewide Recovery Survey

In May, we worked with 13 funding organizations to survey the arts and cultural sector. The goal was to identify financial needs related to COVID-19 recovery. Survey results are located on the Statewide Cultural Recovery Economic Survey page.

Sector Reopening Plans

Museum Reopening Plan

In May 2020, ArtsWA led a series of meetings of museum and gallery representatives. The group crafted a reopening safety plan to allow museums to reopen in Phase 2. They used reduced capacity, social distancing, and other requirements from the Governor’s reopening plan for retail establishments and restaurants to craft the museum plan.

In August, the Governor approved the Washington Museum Sector to reopen in Phases 2 and 3.

Performing Arts Reopening Plan

In June 2020, ArtsWA led a cohort of performing arts sector representatives to draft a reopening safety plan. It was completed in July and sent to the Governor for his review. Focusing on the Governor’s Safe Start Washington initiative, the plan proposed reopening protocols for theater & performing arts venues. It was revamped in January 2021 to conform with the Governor’s Healthy Washington – A Road Map to Recovery criteria.