Member Spotlight: Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona

For the month of July, GIA’s photo banner features work supported by Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona.

This is the text Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona submitted for this Spotlight:

In Southern Arizona, days are longer, as we just experienced the Summer Solstice while temperatures are reaching the highest marks of the season. Meanwhile, as the first monsoon rainfall descends, artists, collectives, cop-ops, and organizations are in the drawing-room and collaborative spaces, stirring up ideas on how to get back to work and back to interfacing in public spaces that unite neighbors and strangers in curated and ephemeral sites. Our service region is dressed in borders, geopolitical including the US/Mexico border, seven Native Sovereign Nations/Arizona cities and towns, and not to mention the gradient-like border of the Chihuahuan and Sonoran deserts.

As stewards of local, regional, and national funding, in the service of arts workers and cultural production, the Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona strives to deliver an effective, equitable, and accessible suite of services and economic incentives that reach the broadest constituency of artists and organizations in rural towns, suburban hubs, main street, metro arts districts, and tribal nations.

The Arts Foundation team is committed to equity work, leading to experimentation, amassing significant results in our recent grantmaking. We are proud to share that through Project Creosote, a relief effort to support artists, collectives, and arts organizations that demonstrate a commitment to enriching the community through arts and culture, we received 75% BIPOC applicants and funded 75% BIPOC applications.

Part of the strategy called for building community trust by implementing Spanish language outreach and application options with direct multichannel access to the Arts Foundation team via phone, text, WhatsApp, and social media messaging. During the application period, 200+ phone and messaging consultations took place, including 12 call-in applications in English and two call-in applications in Spanish. Additionally, the applicant pool was geographically diverse, with first-time grantees residing in four border communities and five Native Sovereign Nations.

As we turn a corner in our DEI work, we are more clear-eyed in strategizing methods to nurture this moment guided by our dynamic creative workforce, which is becoming more representative of who we are as Southern Arizona.

Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona joined Grantmakers in the Arts in 2011.

You can also visit Arts Foundation for Tucson and Southern Arizona’s photo gallery on GIA’s Photo Credits page.

Image: Ammi Robles
Project Creosote grantee, BBDanceur artists performing original choreography at the Bination Arts Residency, Shared Spaces program, a binational event that took place on both sides of the US/Mexico border fence in Douglas, AZ and Agua Prieta, SON in 2018.