COVID Relief Fund for the Arts


The COVID Relief Fund for the Arts grant program is closed.


The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD)/Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA), with funding allocated to the State of Connecticut through the CARES Act, will provide up to $9 million in grants to help non-profit arts organizations recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID Relief Fund for the Arts is intended to support arts organizations that have had to curtail operations for a period of time due to the COVID-19 pandemic and which have had limited ability to re-open due to pandemic restrictions and have had to pivot their service delivery due to pandemic restrictions.


To be eligible for this funding, an arts organization must fall into one of the following categories and meet all additional eligibility requirements:


  • Performing Arts Center - a multi-purpose facility with the primary purpose to serve as a venue for live performances, in-person classes and programming, such as theaters that present live performances

  • School of the Arts - an organization that has arts education as its primary mission and offers in-person classes/instruction, such as a community art school, music school, etc.

  • Performing Group - a group of artists who perform works of art, such as an orchestra, theater, chorus or dance group. To qualify as a Performing Group, the organization must either:
  • own a venue in which it performs;

  • spend more than 20% of its "Pre-COVID" organizational budget on fixed costs. Fixed costs may include rent, utilities, electricity, heat, telephone, internet, insurance, accounting and legal, software and online services, equipment leasing and/or maintenance; OR

  • spend more than 20% of its "Pre-COVID" organizational budget for a combination of fixed costs and compensation of artists. Artists may include musicians, actors, dancers, singers and/or stagecraft technicians, for example lighting technician, sound technician, stage hands.



Qualifying organizations will receive a base grant award of $5,000.  A base grant does not require a cash match. 

In addition to a $5,000 base grant, a supplemental award will be calculated based on 50% of contributed income from non-governmental sources received between March 1, 2020 through November 1, 2020.  The maximum grant award is $750,000.  A supplemental award requires a 2:1 cash match of contributed income from non-governmental sources. 


No grant will exceed an organization's eligible expenses per federal CARES Act guidelines.

Example:  An organization has eligible expenses of $100,000 and has contributed income of $400,000.  That organization will receive an base award of $5,000 plus a supplemental award of $95,000 for a total award of $100,000.  Even though the organization qualifies for a match of up to $200,000, the total grant may not exceed the organization’s eligible expenses incurred between March 1, 2020 through December 30, 2020.

Applicants will be notified on or around December 1, 2020.  All awards are expected to be awarded prior to the end of 2020, pending execution of grant contracts.


Eligible Expenses

Per the federal CARES Act guidelines, the following are eligible expenses:
  • Payroll
  • Fees paid to contractual workers
  • Rent/mortgage
  • Utilities
  • Telephone and internet service
  • Insurance
  • Accounting and legal services
  • Software and on-line services
  • Equipment leasing and maintenance
  • Costs associated to ensure compliance with Reopen Connecticut Sector Rules

Program Guidelines:


How to Apply

Fiscal Information