A Boca Raton cultural landmark, a beloved opera company and an epicenter of Black heritage and history have all received substantial grants through the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) recently.
As part of the CARES Act passed by Congress in March, the NEA has allocated $44.5 million in nonmatching funds to 855 arts organizations in the United States that have been negatively impacted by the coronavirus. More than 3,000 such organizations applied for the grants. In Palm Beach County, the NEA selected three recipients—the Boca Raton Museum of Art, Palm Beach Opera and the Spady Cultural Heritage Museum—which each netted $50,000 to offset revenue losses during the pandemic recession.
“Palm Beach Opera has been a member of this community for nearly 60 years, and we are immensely grateful to receive this grant and proud to be recognized as a vital arts organization in Palm Beach County during this critical time of need,” said General Director David Walker in a press release. “… The cancellation of our opera in March due to the pandemic presented us with unprecedented financial challenges. This grant from the NEA, matched with the crucial support from our community, will help ensure that Palm Beach Opera’s important work will go on.”
Statewide, 33 applicants received $50,000 infusions, including 13 in the tri-county area. In addition to the three Palm Beach County recipients, other organizations earning the NEA infusion include All Florida Youth Orchestra, Florida Grand Opera, Karen Peterson and Dancers Inc., Locust Projects, Miami Dade College’s Miami Book Fair, Miami Music Project, Thomas Armour Youth Ballet, FUNDarte, Miami New Drama and Opa-Locka Community Development Corporation.
These funds are not a panacea; they’re more like a booster shot offering a temporary reprieve from an economic abyss. Once the arts return to South Florida and the country at large, they can use our support more than ever.