Piper Trust Announces $1.2 million ART Fund Grants

Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust announced 11 Arts Restructuring and Transformation Fund (ART Fund) grants, totaling $1.2 million. The one-time arts and culture initiative resulted from redirecting remaining grants funds from the wind-down of Metro Phoenix Partnership for Arts and Culture (MPAC) in April.

Piper Trust awarded the grants to develop new business models, streamline internal processes and create strategic alliances—all intended to help organizations increase revenues or reduce costs.

“Arts and culture institutions have received body blows from the economic downturn,” said Judy Jolley Mohraz, PhD, Piper Trust president and CEO. “Piper trustees wanted to support arts organizations as they change the way they do business now and well into the future.”

The selected projects were prepared by Arizona Opera, Arizona Theatre Company with Actors Theatre of Phoenix, Ballet Arizona, Chandler Center for the Arts, Childsplay, Desert Botanical Garden, Heard Museum, Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix Conservatory of Music, The Phoenix Symphony and Theater Works. Thirty-seven previous Piper arts and culture grantees were invited to apply.

“The organizations invested a great deal of time and thought in these projects, and the final proposals we received were of high quality,” said Carol Kratz, Piper Trust program director who supervised the ART Fund process. “The Trust provided consulting assistance from LaPiana Consulting to help finalists develop proposals that were as inventive yet pragmatic as possible.”

The Flinn Foundation and Piper Trust, MPAC’s two major funders, designated remaining MPAC funds for the Flinn-Piper Strengthening the Arts Initiative earlier this year. The Flinn Emergency Fund for Arts Organizations comprised $500,000 in unrestricted grants to 21 arts and culture organizations. The Piper ART Fund included nearly $1 million in unused MPAC funds in addition to $200,000 in uncommitted Trust funds.

The successful projects included:

Arizona Opera
An ART Fund grant to construct a Black Box Theater, Education Wing and space for artists and donor activities at the organization’s new centralized Phoenix facility, the former Circles Building on Central Avenue.
$150,000/24 months
www.azopera.org

Arizona Theatre Company/Actors Theatre of Phoenix
An ART Fund grant to explore a strategic alliance between the two organizations seeking to build on strengths and programming of each theater.
$150,000/24 months
www.aztheatreco.org; www.actorstheatrephx.org

Ballet Arizona
An ART Fund grant to assist with planning a Community School of Dance, providing a variety of non-ballet dance and movement classes for a general audience.
$25,000/12 months
www.balletaz.org


Chandler Center for the Arts

An ART Fund grant to help launch the Chandler Young Artists Academy for training youth 7-17 in performing and visual arts and young people 16-22 in arts administration.
$25,000/12 months
www.chandlercenter.org

Childsplay
An ART Fund grant to increase patron participation and better targeted audiences by changing from a traditional season planning model to more comprehensive planning for each production through expanded technology.
$150,000/18 months
www.childsplayaz.org

Desert Botanical Garden
An ART Fund grant for re-engineering DBG’s website to ramp up ticket, class and shop sales, subscriptions, customer services and social networking.
$75,802/24 months
www.dbg.org

Heard Museum
An ART Fund grant to expand current retail space for Native American artists, add a new bookstore with expanded inventory and open a coffee shop that serves traditional Native American refreshments.
$150,000/24 months
www.heard.org

Phoenix Art Museum
An ART Fund grant to develop a Center for Film to promote film as an art form, host film festivals and increase museum membership.
$150,000/24 months
www.phxart.org

Phoenix Conservatory of Music
An ART Fund grant to promote a strategic alliance with Ear Candy, another small arts organization bringing music to children.
$25,000/12 months
www.pcmrocks.org

The Phoenix Symphony
An ART Fund grant for the Patronage Project to restructure marketing and development functions including differential ticket pricing.
$148,800/24 months
www.phoenixsymphony.org

Theater Works
An ART Fund grant for an arts storage and rental facility.
$150,000/24 months
www.theaterworks.org