Aromas Bridge project by 2019-2020 Arts Express! Grantee Terra Cultura. Photos provided by San Benito County Arts Council.
Aromas Bridge project by 2019-2020 Arts Express! Grantee Terra Cultura. Photos provided by San Benito County Arts Council.

This article was contributed by the San Benito County Arts Council.

The San Benito County Arts Council is pleased to announce the awarding of over $28,000 in local arts grants from their 2020 Arts Express! Grant Program, which supports local artists, art groups and arts and cultural organizations through direct funding. The purpose of the Arts Council’s Arts Express! grant program is to support cultural and artistic growth, foster arts accessibility and equity and promote cultural diversity in San Benito County.

The San Benito Arts Council accepted applications through Feb. 7 for general operational support, project-based grants and teacher grants and received a total of 26 applications with total funding requests of over $47,000. Funding decisions were based on a rigorous peer review ranking of applications, conducted by a seven-member grants committee, which were then approved by the Arts Council’s Board of Directors.

This year’s grantees include:

Organizations- El Teatro Campesino, San Benito Stage Company, Chamberlain’s Youth Services, JMM Dance Company, Terra Cultura, Aromas Hills Artisans, Youth Alliance, Yamamoto Hula Ohana, Oriana Chorale, Animation Dance Community, Writers’ Collective and San Juan Committee

Individual Artists & Teachers- Victoria Murray, Kirti Bassendine, Kelly Hacker and Christina Ross

Schools- RO Hardin School, Ladd Lane School, Hollister Dual Language Academy and Anzar High School

As a result of COVID-19, most grantees have been allowed to apply grant awards towards general operations, in order to help support and sustain these groups and individuals during this global pandemic. Several of the grant-funded programs and projects that were set to take place this spring or summer have since been postponed or canceled, and moreover, the vast majority of artists and arts organizations locally, as well as across the state and country, have been negatively impacted by lost revenue, canceled contracts and other financial hardships as a result of COVID-19. The Arts Council hopes grant funds will provide some additional support during these trying times.

Funding for the Arts Express! Grant Program is made possible through the generous support of the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, Corbin, and through contributions made by individual donors during the Arts Council’s Giving Tuesday fundraising campaign. For more about the Arts Express! Grant Program, click here or contact the Arts Council at