Arts Funding Passes Payson By

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Northern Gila County missed out on $3 million worth of statewide grants distributed by the Arizona Commission on the Arts for the 2006-2007 fiscal year, Chris Burawa, public information officer said.

The endowments, announced July 5, circumvented the Rim Country because area art groups didn't apply, he said.

Nevertheless, grants are available for the upcoming fiscal year.

"The only criteria is the artistic merit and whether the project is feasible," Burawa said.

Southern Gila County received $10,300 to fund local art projects: Cobre Valley Center for the Arts, Globe, $3,694; San Carlos Apache Cultural Center, Peridot, $5,225; and Vecinos Y Companeros, Globe, $1,584, Cinco de Mayo Fiesta.

A panel of 15 commission-appointed experts overviewed the applications and made recommendations based on their findings.

"We ask them to look for the artistic quality of the project," Burawa said. "Is it doable for the amount of money the organization is requesting?"

Sue Jones, vice president of the Payson Art League, said a representative from the commission addressed the group, but no action was taken.

A total of 452 awards were granted to 290 projects statewide; 119 of the funded proposals went to organizations that didn't apply for funding last year; and 228 or 50 percent of the funded proposals support arts education programs in the schools or after-school art programs.

Burawa encouraged all art-related groups or pending projects, including the tribe, to apply.

The application deadline is Sept. 21. Applications are available online at: www.culturegrants-az.org.

For more information contact the commission at (602) 255-5882.

Grants are funded from the state's general fund, Arizona Arts Trust Fund, Arizona ArtShare and the National Endowment for the Arts.

-- To reach Felicia Megdal call 474-5251 ext. 116 or e-mail fmegdal@payson.com.

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