Oahu businesses and nonprofits involved in culture and the arts that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic can now apply for reimbursable grants from the city through a $10 million Culture and Arts Relief and Recovery Fund announced Tuesday by Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
Two grant programs are available for those seeking reimbursements for costs incurred for implementing safety precautions to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus or related reopening costs. The funding is coming from the city’s $387 million share of the COVID-19-related federal CARES Act funding that must be spent by the end of the year.
The goal is to help artists and cultural practitioners who are part of the “gig economy” that consists of people who work contractually from job to job with little security and few employment rights or benefits. Applicants would need to have been in business before March 20.
Those businesses and nonprofits generating less than $1 million in revenues annually may receive up to $10,000 in one-time reimbursements under the Malamalama program. Among the eligible would be artists or cultural practitioners who conduct most or all of their work at home.
The Ho‘ola program targets nonprofits that make $1 million or more. Those who qualify may receive up to $50,000 in reimbursements. For-profits are not eligible for Ho‘ola. Among those who may qualify are museums, large theaters and those that display cultural or art attractions or other commercial art exhibit spaces.
One well-known nonprofit expected to apply: the financially strapped Friends of Iolani Palace.
Nonprofits must show they are registered and in good standing with the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs and designated as tax-exempt, and operate or support the culture and arts industry as defined by standard federal and state guidelines.
Businesses and nonprofits that qualify for the reimbursements must show receipts, canceled checks, credit card charge statements or other proof of expenses.
Not eligible for reimbursements are costs already covered by another federally funded program such as the CARES Act, Paycheck Protection Plan, Economic Injury Disaster Loan and others.
Tony Silva, one-half of Da Braddahs comedy duo and a member of the Mayor’s Office of Culture and the Arts, said other programs required people to have storefronts or business addresses to qualify.
“We are thankful because a lot of us work from home; we don’t have a business address to work from,” Silva said. “That was a really, really big part of this program. We’re able to get some reimbursement for some of the moneys we have spent to become virtual to show our comedy, to show our music talents across the world.”
“This is a program that we’ve tailored … to help the arts and culture community survive this pandemic,” said kumu hula Vicky Holt Takamine. “Artists are going to have to figure out how they’re going to survive in the next few months, to go from everyday, face-to-face contact with local people … to a virtual one. And we have to help them pivot to that.”