Some call it a sign the economy is changing for the better: the City of Grand Junction announces it will increase its budget for arts and culture grants.
Now instead of $36,000, arts nonprofits will be able to apply for part of $43,300, according to city spokesperson Sam Rainguet.
"The interesting thing about the arts, as I said, like a barometer, they help lead into other jobs, whether its graphics or publishing, digital, media," said Linda Brotman-Evans, whose nonprofit Artspace has received grant money multiple times.
The funds are managed by the Commission for Arts and Culture, a branch of the Parks and Recreation Department. There, Recreational Coordinator Lorie Gregor helps to decide which groups get money and how much.
She said the grant funding is finally back to where it was two years ago.
"Any time that you have art and culture in a community, it draws tourists because people plan their vacations and their activities around different festivals and events," said Gregor. "Arts does bring such a good strong economic impact to the Valley, and the council recognized that."
According to Rainguet, the city had about 8 million dollars more to put into the budget compared to last year. The additional money came from an increase in sales and use tax revenue, Rainguet said.
It shows people are gaining the confidence to spend more.
"I feel that that's a great use of taxpayer money, to help artists with their employment, to raise the profile of the community, show the talent that is here, that lives and works in our community, as well as create a community event to enjoy,” said Evans.
The arts and culture grants were also increased by cutting corners in the arts offices.
"We were able to reel in our expenses, and the extra money that was available was then able to go back into that program,” said Gregor.
Although arts and culture did get its funding back, not all departments were so lucky. However, Rainguet said capital construction (road work) will be starting again after it was put on hold for two years.
If you have a non-profit and would like to apply for a grant, go online to gjarts.org, click on the grants tab and fill out the application.
Any nonprofit across Colorado can apply. The only exception is that your event must be here in Grand Junction.