Member Spotlight on Arizona Commission on the Arts

During the month of April, GIA's photo banner features artists and projects sponsored by the Arizona Commission on the Arts. The Commission is in its 50th year of supporting a statewide arts network that delivers grants and support to cultivate sustainable arts communities and promote statewide public access to arts and cultural activities in Arizona.

Arizona Commission on the Arts is celebrating its 50th year in a challenging fiscal environment. Executive Director Bob Booker shares:

Arizona’s legislature and Governor recently passed a budget for Fiscal Year 2016 that eliminates $1 million from the budget of the Arizona Commission on the Arts. As we enter our 50th year as Arizona’s state arts agency, it appears our funding level will be at best comparable to what it was during the worst years of the recession and, at worst, may reach a 30-year low.

Nevertheless, just as we have done in the past when faced with dramatic funding reductions, we will seize this outcome as an opportunity to reimagine the state arts agency, to challenge outmoded models, to invest more strategically and to explore innovative approaches.

On the occasion of our 50th anniversary we are embarking upon a major and visionary statewide engagement and planning initiative. Next50, as we are calling it, will unfold over the next two years and employ focused research, innovative community engagement strategies, targeted grantmaking, professional development and collaborative cross-sector ideation.

Though our grantmaking capacity has been severely hampered, we know that our most impactful role is as a catalyst. Through the Next50 initiative we intend to spark conversations, partnerships and activities that will leverage the arts sector’s potential as a vital contributor to the improvement and success of Arizona’s communities.

Arizona Commission on the Arts has a recent track record of reimagining models and practices. Last year, it launched a unique funding initiative, Arizona Art Tank, with part of a $1 million allocation of funding generated from interest on Arizona's Rainy Day Fund. This initiative made strategic investments in arts-based "business unusual" projects pitched in 6-minute presentations by applicants across the state. Arizona Art Tank will be one of the risk taking models featured in the April GIA web conference, Pushing the Needle: Risk Taking in Grantmaking, scheduled for April 7.

Learn more about the Arizona Commission on the Arts and their grant programs.

You can also see all the images on our Photo Credits page.

Arizona Commission on the Arts has been a GIA member since 2009.