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Staff file photo by Doug Strickland / The ArtsBuild building is located at the corner of King and 11th streets.

ArtsBuild, the local organization that raises funds and awareness for arts organizations in Hamilton County, has awarded a total of $525,000 in mission-support grants to 21 local arts organizations, including three first-time recipients for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

The grants were created to support local organizations that create and provide year-round arts programs and experiences. A review panel made up of community volunteers evaluates each organization's application, heavily weighted on the organization's efforts to create access to the arts across the community through outreach and inclusion.

Recipients for 2020-2021 include: Art120, Association for Visual Arts, Bessie Smith Cultural Center, Chattanooga Ballet, Chattanooga Boys Choir, Chattanooga Symphony & Opera, Chattanooga Theatre Centre, CoPAC, Creative Discovery Museum, Dynamo Studios, East Lake Expression Engine, Hart Gallery, Hunter Museum of American Art, The Pop-up Project, Scenic City Clay Arts, Sculpture Fields at Montague Park, SoundCorps, Southern Lit Alliance, SPLASH, Stove Works and Unity Performing Arts Foundation of Chattanooga.

The group includes three first-time mission-support grant recipients – Dynamo Studios, The Pop-up Project and Stove Works. The $525,000 is an increase of $25,000 over last year's award money, and 21 is the highest number of arts organizations ever awarded mission-support grants in a year.

The organization estimates that the cumulative total of the beneficiaries of all Community Arts Partners as well as ArtsBuild's own programs and arts education initiatives is close to 1 million people each year.

ArtsBuild President James McKissic points out the diversity of the work done by the recipients and says it is a reflection of what ArtsBuild is about.

"Each of these organizations – ArtsBuild's Community Arts Partners – enriches Chattanooga and Hamilton County, making it a better place to live, work and visit," he said.

ArtsBuild has another grant-making program called Community Cultural Connections that awards grants of up to $2,000 on a rolling basis for projects or programs that use the arts to make our community a better place. Applicants do not need to be 501(c)(3) organizations, and applications are now being accepted through the ArtsBuild website.

Donors provide most of the funding for ArtsBuild programs and other initiatives in arts education, advocacy and leadership. Interested donors can give at artsbuild.com/donate.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com.

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