Ucross Foundation stock

UCROSS — Ucross announced this week the nonprofit has been approved to receive an American Rescue Plan grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to help the arts and cultural sector recover from the pandemic.

Ucross is recommended to receive $100,000 to support the residency program’s operations, program staff salaries and artist stipends.

“Our nation’s arts sector has been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Endowment for the Arts’ American Rescue Plan funding will help arts organizations, such as Ucross Foundation, rebuild and reopen,” said Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, chair of the NEA. “The arts are crucial in helping America’s communities heal, unite and inspire, as well as essential to our nation’s economic recovery.”

“We’re thrilled that the NEA recognizes that Ucross is an important resource for artists, as well as an important piece of the creative economy in Wyoming and beyond,” said William Belcher, Ucross director of development and external relations. “This funding will allow us to maintain the hard-fought momentum we’ve built over the last few years.”

Typically, each year, Ucross welcomes 100 artists to its 20,000-acre Wyoming ranch for residencies, which comprise of time, studio space, living accommodations, meals by a professional chef and the experience of the majestic High Plains. The nonprofit also runs an art gallery, hosts events to champion its alumni and provides stewardship for its land.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, Ucross abruptly closed its artist residency program and gallery mid-session, while swiftly helping artists-in-residence return home safely. The organization remained closed for several months before gradually reopening with precautions in place, including a reduced number of artists in the residency program, an adjusted gallery schedule and an online event series featuring alumni artists.

“Ucross is very grateful for this generous $100,000 award to support our program,” said Ucross President Sharon Dynak. “The American Rescue Plan grant will directly assist us in our mission to foster creativity in deeply committed artists across the U.S., while serving as responsible stewards of our land in northern Wyoming.”

This marks the second NEA grant Ucross received in 2022; earlier in January, the NEA announced that Ucross was approved for a $30,000 Grants for Arts Projects award to support its artist residency program with an emphasis on increasing support for underserved artists, including Native American visual artists and writers.

The American Rescue Plan was signed into law in March 2021, when the NEA was provided $135 million for the arts sector. The funding for organizations is the third installment providing more than $57.7 million for arts organizations. 

In April 2021, the NEA announced $52 million (40%) in ARP funding would be allocated to 62 state, jurisdictional and regional arts organizations for regranting through their respective programs. 

The second installment in November 2021 allocated $20.2 million to 66 local arts agencies for subgranting to local artists and art organizations. In total, the NEA will award grants totaling $57,750,000 to 567 arts organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington, D.C.

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