Councilman Steven Hansen votes for the Creative Economy Recovery Program during Tuesday’s Sacramento City Council meeting held online. 

The Sacramento City Council approved a $7.5 million program to provide relief to artists, creative businesses and arts organizations. The Creative Economy Relief Program will use federal funding Sacramento received from the CARES Act to aid creative community members who have struggled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

City council members voted unanimously to approve the plan on their virtual meeting Tuesday.

The money will be dispersed through grants in six categories: cultural asset, emergency general operating support, cultural equity investment, arts education, arts and cultural equipment, and creative economy. Artists, businesses and organizations will have to apply for the money and demonstrate the effect of the pandemic for their creative enterprises.

Grants will be used by recipients to pay rent, buy necessary personal protective equipment, move to a virtual setting or just stay afloat.

The Creative Economy Recovery Program was designed to reflect the Creative Edge cultural plan designed by the city’s Arts Culture and Creative Economy Commission, which recently split from a county-wide commission to serve Sacramento specifically.

“Part of the reason we reconstituted as a city commission is to get deeper and more effectively into the under-served communities,” said councilman Steven Hansen, whose District 4 includes the Land Park and River Oaks neighborhoods.

The commission passed an arts equity policy that is reflected in the new Creative Economy Recovery Program through the cultural equity investment grant. Hansen views that grant as an opportunity to “make good on our commitment to underrepresented arts organizations and artists.”

The program could also financially aid the Sacramento Zoo and Fairytale Town. Ray Gargano, the Grants & Cultural Programs Coordinator for the Office of Arts and Culture, believes that such tourism attractions are a big part of the city.

Hansen explained the creative economy is reliant on events, which haven’t been able to happen.

“Most of the creative endeavors rely on people coming together. Art is really healing and catharsis and inspiration. It’s about a connection with others,” Hansen said.

Without the public being able to see a band perform or visit an art gallery, artists and those active in the creative economy have struggled.

Hansen believes that art is important to all of Sacramento, especially in his district, due to the prevalence of theaters, venues and studios.

“We want people to go to their own neighborhood organizations and as a city, I think we have a duty to support organizations,” Hansen said.

By Molly Burke for the Sacramento Bee.


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