ARTSFAIRFAX Awards $396,703 to 37 Fairfax County Arts Organizations

By Editorial Team on September 11, 2019

ARTSFAIRFAX, Fairfax County’s designated local arts agency, announces $396,703 in Operating Support Grants to 37 arts organizations in the County and Cities of Fairfax and Falls Church for the fiscal year 2020. These grants annually support more than 14,000 performances, exhibitions, events, classes, and other activities, and engage audiences of more than 400,000 Fairfax County residents and visitors.

ARTSFAIRFAX’s Operating Support Grant awards range from $500 to $50,000 for arts and cultural organizations based within Fairfax County and the Cities of Falls Church and Fairfax. Grants were determined through a panel review process that ensures that the recipients meet the highest artistic and management standards as well as diverse public engagement that strengthens communities through the arts.

Operating Support Grants are ARTSFAIRFAX’s largest grant program providing Fairfax nonprofits with essential flexible funds to strengthen and sustain organizations. This cultural investment supports a range of organizations from volunteer-driven programs to larger established institutions.

“Fairfax County benefits from a dynamic and diverse arts sector comprised of cultural organizations, which are centerpieces and economic engines of their communities. To grow

this cultural capital over the long-term requires a consistent source of public and private investment. ARTSFAIRFAX’s General Operating Support funds are a direct public investment by our community. This investment allows the grantee to leverage the prestige and credibility of this award to generate individual, corporate and local business support,” said Linda Sullivan, President & CEO of ARTSFAIRFAX.

ARTSFAIRFAX Operating Support Grants are competitive and require each organization to raise a 2:1 match in private funds. The need for Operating Support Grants is self-evident each year with requests for funding exceeding the available pool of grant funds. For FY2020, the applications for Operating Support Grants exceeded $1 million, almost triple the amount of funding available.

Lisa Mariam, ARTSFAIRFAX Director of Grants and Services, explains, “Fairfax County’s community-based arts organizations’ impact transcends their size or budgets. These grants fund programs that make art a part of the everyday lives of Fairfax residents and create connection through the arts. The social and economic impact of the County’s cultural sector is a critical measure of the public value delivered by these arts grants.”

“Simply put, Vienna Choral Society could not do without the ARTSFAIRFAX grant. [As] venue rents skyrocket, the resources we need to continue excellent programming force us to be as frugal as possible. Every dollar is stretched to the snapping point, and the grant is what gives us the breathing room and cushion to take artistic risks – which is how artistic organizations continue to grow,” said Sohini Baliga, Executive Director, Vienna Choral Society.

Brad Russell, founder and Executive Director of the Washington West: Film Festival agrees, “We had more Fairfax County residents attend our film festival in 2018 than in previous years. More awareness, more ticket sales and higher attendance were results of ARTSFAIRFAX’s grant. We received anecdotal evidence from many Fairfax County residents that they see our film and television programming as extremely unique, high quality and a strong benefit to our region.”

ARTSFAIRFAX congratulates the following Operating Support grant recipients:

To learn more about arts events and grant opportunities, visit


ARTSFAIRFAX is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, incorporated in 1964, as Fairfax County’s designated local arts agency.  ARTSFAIRFAX is funded in part by Fairfax County, corporations, foundations, individuals, the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts.

(via ARTSFAIRFAX. Photo “Out of the Shadows” music by women composers. Courtesy of Mike Olson.)