The Arts Council for Long Beach recently announced that, on top of its annual grant programs supported by the City of Long Beach’s allocation for the arts, the nonprofit was able to give an additional $130,536 in grants to artists and arts organizations this year thanks to the city’s recently implemented Percent for Arts Program.

How these funds are distributed is decided by the ACLB, but at its most basic, this means more money is being given to more artists and arts-focused organizations to continue making Long Beach such a vibrant, culturally diverse place to live.

Thirty-four total grantees were awarded, selected by an independent review panel of community members and arts professionals. A new category under fellowships was created, the Percent for Arts Fellowship, and three additional organizations under the ACLB’s Community Projects Grant received support, according to Programs Director Lisa DeSmidt.

This is the second year funds from the Percent for Arts program have been distributed throughout the community—where 1% of the cost of qualified construction projects over $100,000 is given to support the arts.

“As an arts funder, our support fosters creativity and culture,” said ACLB Executive Director Griselda Suarez in a statement. “We are glad to see increased funding this year and look forward to working with the city to continue building a robust arts and culture grant program.”

Professional Artist Fellowships, are given to artists who live, work or actively create in Long Beach and have an exhibition or production record of at least three years, with artistic merit and professional achievement taken into account.

This year’s fellows are figurative painter Eric Almanza, whose portrait work was commissioned for Metro’s Art Portrait Series, self-taught playwright and teaching artist at South Coast Repertory Diana Burbano, local artist Jorge Mujica, whose sculpture, a “High Five” to Long Beach, was erected in Gumbiner Park in May, and Jane-of-all-trades Nancy Woo, a poet and community organizer who co-founded the Long Beach Literary Arts Center.

New sculpture in Gumbiner Park a ‘High Five’ to Long Beach

The three Percent for Arts fellows are renowned political printmaker, Sandow Birk, whose large-scale, detailed works were recently shown in “Monumental” at the Long Beach Museum of Art; Virginia Broersma, whose ongoing column with the Hi-lo, Survival of the Artist, and entrepreneurial venture, The Artist’s Office, as well as mural workshops, uplift the local arts community and Cal State Long Beach sculpture professor Brittany Ransom, whose artwork uses 3D printing and other digital technologies to tackle environmental and social issues.

Fellowship recipients will get to be a part of a year-long exhibition at the newly named Billie Jean King Main Library, expected to open in September.

The Community Project Grant program, which supports innovative programming and projects, went to 16 organizations this year: Cambodia Town, Inc.; Cal State Long Beach, College of the Arts; Carpenter Center; Homeland Cultural Center; Infinite Stage; Kontrapunktus; Long Beach Blues Society; Long Beach Chorale and Chamber Orchestra; Long Beach Youth Chorus; LGBTQ Center of Long Beach; Rising TIDE; The Rock Club – Music is the Remedy; South Coast Chorale; South Coast Dance Arts Alliance; University Art Museum and Up & Coming Actors.

Operating Grants support organizations that collect, preserve or commission art. This year’s recipients are Able ARTS Work; Art Theatre of Long Beach; International City Theatre; Khmer Arts Academy; Long Beach Camerata Singers; Long Beach Opera; Long Beach Playhouse; Long Beach Symphony Orchestra; Museum of Latin American Art; Musica Angelica; and Musical Theatre West.

“It is important for us to continue to offer this kind of support since there are a limited number of foundations that provide operational funds,” stated the release. “Many of our grantees use these funds to offset costs for educational and community programs.”

Artists can apply to the ACLB’s grant programs, generally during the summer. For more info, check out the link:

Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her @hugelandmass on Twitter and Instagram and at [email protected].