The following FAQ’s are being updated as new information is available. Last update on April 11, 2020.

The impacts of the coronavirus pandemic are unprecedented, and being felt in Flagstaff, throughout Arizona and around the world.  This is a challenging time for all of us as we consider the health of our families, friends, the broader community, and ourselves.

FAC is impacted by:

  • Urgent responsibility to support Flagstaff’s art, science, and culture sectors
  • Closure of Coconino Center for the Arts
  • Cancellation of events such as ArtWalk
  • Reduced attendance at Viola Awards
  • Significant losses in earned and contributed revenue

The Flagstaff Arts Council’s mission is to foster creative opportunity. As we reflect on this new mission, which was announced in March at the 12th annual Viola Awards, we want to ensure that the temporary challenges we are faced as a community today lead to future opportunities for our artists, makers, creators, students, and patrons alike. To do this we need to simultaneously maintain sustainable operations, address impacts to our programs, and shift as many resources as we can to support the entire creative sector.

Our responses include:

  • Closure of offices at CCA and allowing all non-essential employees to work from home.
  • Increased communication with art, science, and culture nonprofits.
  • Coordinating and sharing of applicable emergency resources.
  • Maintaining readiness of CCA and rescheduling events when possible.
  • Increased staff training.
  • Outreach and coordination with state and regional partners.
  • Reducing expenses where possible.
  • Developing a FY21 budget and workplan that anticipates ongoing social distancing measures.

The Coconino Center for the Arts is a Coconino County-owned facility operated by Flagstaff Arts Council. The health of patrons, staff, volunteers, and presenting artists is our top priority.

CCA will remain closed until at least June 30, 2020. The board and Executive Director will make a decision of when to reopen once restrictions are lifted. This decision will be based on our ability to ensure quality experiences and programming while also exceeding health authority guidelines. We are committed to keeping patrons informed and will announce updates on our website as soon as they are available.

In the meantime, we are focusing our energy on projects we don’t otherwise have time to pursue.

FAC advocates at the local and state levels. Because of our ongoing Vision 2030 project, we’ve been engaging with local leaders regularly and we are fortunate to have had nearly all of the Flagstaff City Council and Coconino County Board of Supervisors attend the Viola Awards in March. We are working hard to keep the arts and the creative sector top of mind. Additionally, we are pursuing collaborative projects that include our government partners to help them feel more connected to our programs and the efforts of the entire community.

Through our partnership with the City of Flagstaff, supported by BBB tax revenues, we are the largest local grantmaking agency for creative sector nonprofits in Flagstaff. Last year, 45 grants valued at $360,000 were awarded. Over the next couple of months, we are on track to award another $360,000 through our general operating, innovation, and capacity building grant programs. The pandemic is top of mind as we consider how to allocate those resources. We have been in near constant communication with the City about the stability of these dedicated funds as tax revenues decline.

In March, we began fundraising for a special COVID-19 Art & Science Nonprofit Relief Fund. With the support of a $5,000 matching grant from Flagstaff Rotary Club and donations from nearly 70 community members, $19,000 has been awarded to the following 15 initial organizations. During its budget retreat on April 23, Flagstaff City Council expressed support to allocate an additional $100,000 from the BBB Art & Science Fund for Flagstaff Arts Council’s COVID-19 response efforts. $87,000 is allocated to the relief fund grant program. With the additional support, larger grants will be able to be awarded to more organizations. Click here to learn more about the relief fund.

FAC provides financial support of the creative sector as follows:

  • Art, science, and cultural nonprofits
    • As a grant maker described above. We continue to fundraise to support our existing and emergency grant programs.
    • Sharing of opportunities including from the National Endowment of the Arts, Arizona Commission on the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, statewide foundations, and others with our nonprofit email lists.
    • Guidance and support on relief programs and fundraising strategies.
  • Businesses
    • Historically, Flagstaff Arts Council’s support of businesses has been through marketing opportunities and partnerships. We are monitoring the needs of our for-profit creative businesses to better understand how we might be able to support them in the future in other ways.
  • Artists and Creative Professionals
    • The most direct way that we are supporting individuals during this crisis is sharing all funding opportunities that we are made aware of on our social media pages and website.
    • Otherwise, individuals are supported through projects or other nonprofit organizations. As we develop our new strategic plan, we are evaluating best practices to determine how best to support artists and creative professionals in the future.

Shortly after the crisis began to unfold, we convened a video call of nonprofit leaders to discuss potential impacts and to initially understand how those organizations were adjusting to social distancing guidelines. Since then, we created a Facebook Group for art, science, and culture organization managers and have started weekly conference calls to share information that is being provided to us by local, state, and national organizations as well as to brainstorm how to adjust to Flagstaff-specific needs.

In March we shared with our patrons and partners tips and insightful websites, along with credible health sources.

Flagstaff Arts Council employs a staff of nine, 3 full-time and 6 part-time. FAC is proud that it is able to offer generous paid time off for all employees as well as comprehensive health insurance for all full-time employees and competitive wages.

All non-essential employees are required to work from home as of March 18, 2020. Strategic investments in technology over the past year, including new laptops and cloud-based software, have made this transition easier. With few exceptions, only facilities maintenance staff continue to work at Coconino Center for the Arts.

Thus far, we have been able to maintain all paid staff at their regularly scheduled hours and pay. Our intention is to continue to do so as long as it is financially justifiable. As we are advising our nonprofit stakeholders, we are also applying for stimulus relief through the CARES Act and other emergency relief programs. The Paycheck Protection Program, which we anticipate confirmation on in the coming days, will ensure that we can maintain our full payroll for at least two more months. By which time, our board will consider how best to utilize staffing resources to support our ambitious community-wide goals and the gradual reopening of Coconino Center for the Arts.

All of CCA’s current events have been cancelled or postponed. Ticketholders will be notified via our ticketing platform of all event changes as soon as they are confirmed. Tickets to a postponed event will be automatically transferred to the new event date.

If you are unable to attend the rescheduled date, or if there was a cancellation, we ask that you consider not requesting a refund and instead donating the value of your tickets to the presenting organization. Many organizations that present at CCA are nonprofits as well. If needed, a donation receipt can be provided. Refund requests must be received within one week of the cancellation or date change notification.

Although we cannot host our programs at this time, the Arts Council and our partnering organizations continue to work; planning future events, creating digital content, and working to make ensure Flagstaff remains a creative community. Your generosity directly supports these efforts.

ArtWalk has been cancelled until guidelines allow the majority of participating businesses to reopen, hopefully in July.

If you are interested in performing or being on the ArtWalk map for June or July, please contact Sarah Downing at sdowning@flagartscouncil.org.

FAC is, as are many businesses and nonprofits in Flagstaff, facing drastic reduction in normal operations which directly impacts revenues. Revenue losses include workshop registrations, tickets for performances, rental fees, fundraisers, and a drastic reduction in membership signups and renewals. Assuming our upcoming Spring Appeal is strong, and we are able to reopen for normal programming in June, we will sustain $75,000 in revenue losses. If our Spring Appeal isn’t strong or June programming is unable to proceed, we will face revenue losses of nearly $100,000 by the end of the fiscal year.

Closures also affect our ability to fulfill sponsor contracts. We are in the process of reaching out to impacted sponsors to come up with alternate plans to support their contributions.

Fortunately, Coconino County donates the use of Coconino Center for the Arts. While we don’t pay rent, we do incur significant utility and maintenance costs. Those costs should decrease while the facility is not in use. Our most significant expense is for personnel which is projected to be $95,000 for March through June. Another $20,000 in non-program related expenses were planned for the same time period. We are doing everything we can to reduce ongoing expenses while maintaining staff.

FAC staff is researching every available avenue for relief funding that is able to support the organization and its people through this crisis. Thus far, FAC is seeking relief funding in the following ways:

  • Paycheck Protection Program: $40,000
    • This is contingent on CARES Act available funding and SBA approval. Our application has been submitted for a total of $49,000. Our anticipated forgiven amount is between $40,000 and $45,000.
  • Additional Allocation from City’s Art & Science Fund: $13,000
    • Contingent on City Council approval of $100,000 for emergency general operation support of art, science, and culture nonprofits.
  • Support from Existing Grant Agencies: $5,000
    • We are working with existing grant partners to convert project-specific grants to unrestricted grants. At this time, the only open grant FAC has is with the NEA for the upcoming Parched exhibit.
  • National Endowment for the Arts: up to $50,000
    • CARES Act relief funding is restricted to organizations that received NEA funding in the past 4 years. Flagstaff Arts Council and Museum of Northern Arizona are the only eligible organizations within northern Arizona.
    • During the last recession, NEA relief funds favored larger organizations. Because of this, it is unclear how realistic it is that we will be able to obtain emergency relief funds funded by the CARES Act by this past history.
    • Additionally, NEA CARES Act grants may only be used for expenses in the next fiscal year.
  • Other small foundation grants. We’ve applied for several small relief grants valued at less than $10,000.

FAC is greatly expanding the kinds of grants it is seeking for future projects and programs including Prop 202 Gaming Funds. These efforts currently underway, will not provide financial support, if funded, until 2021. Current and pending asks for future programs total nearly $200,000. These asks do not support current and projected losses.

Prior to the pandemic, using a new financial strategy, FAC was on track to have its strongest fiscal year in more than a decade. That will no longer be the case. As mentioned above, we are hopeful that we will be able to resume programming in July. If we are able to, we will be able to hold revenue losses at less than $100,000, assuming that normal donations from generous individuals, families, and businesses continue.

This is the breakdown of the revenue FAC will lose through June:

  • Net event revenue: $35,000
  • Rentals: $5,000
  • Fundraising impacts: $35,000

We intend to recover some of these losses by:

  • Paycheck Protection Program: $40,000
  • Additional Allocation from City’s Art & Science Fund: $13,000
  • Support from Existing Grant Agencies: $5,000
  • Cost savings: $7,000

Total loss after confirmed recovery through June: $63,000
Total loss with intended recovery through June: $10,000

Numbers are based on closure and cancelled programming through May, impacts will be greater due to closures and cancellations through June.

Become a member or donate if you can. While immensely helpful, much of the stimulus available will not address a longer-term slowdown in event attendance, individual and corporate giving.

In addition to providing stimulus funding, the CARES Act created a new above-the-line deduction for charitable contributions of up to $300. Regardless of whether you itemize or not, your contribution today can be claimed on your 2020 tax return. The law also lifts the existing cap on annual contributions for those who itemize, raising it from 60 percent of adjusted gross income to 100 percent. For corporations, the law raises the annual limit from 10 percent to 25 percent.

If you want to make a contribution to support fostering creative opportunity in Flagstaff, please donate online or mail a check to Flagstaff Arts Council, PO Box 296, Flagstaff, AZ 86002.

We hope you’ve found this information helpful. As we continue to watch and prepare for the coming weeks, we will be tracking local response and welcome your questions. Please reach out with updates, questions, and other resources to jstone@flagartscouncil.org