Thursday, February 17, 2022

The American Rescue Plan logo

The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) provides $350 billion to help states, counties, cities, and tribal governments cover increased expenditures, replenish lost revenue, and mitigate economic harm from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Of the $350 billion provided by ARPA, funds were distributed in the following manner:

  • $195.3 billion was provided to states and the District of Columbia.
  • $65.1 billion was provided to counties.
  • An additional $65.1 billion was provided to cities and towns.
  • $24.5 billion was provided to U.S. territories and tribal governments.
  • $10 billion was reserved to finance a Coronavirus Capital Projects Fund

The act allowed for a fairly broad use of these funds in four main areas:

  • Respond to the COVID-19 emergency and address its economic effects, including through aid to households, small businesses, nonprofits, and industries such as tourism and hospitality.
  • Provide premium pay to essential employees or grants to their employers. Premium pay could not exceed $13 per hour or $25,000 per worker.
  • Provide government services affected by a revenue reduction resulting from COVID-19.
  • Make investments in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.

While the arts and culture are not specifically named in the authorizing legislation, they are fully eligible for funding.

Three of Americans for the Arts’ partner organizations—the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), the National Association of Counties (NACo), and the National League of Cities (NLC)—have created ARPA fund trackers that categorize ARPA funding and briefly overview the project. These trackers provide concrete examples of how governments are using ARPA funds to support the arts and culture.

Local arts leaders are encouraged to use these trackers to get ideas on the type of programs being funded and as examples to share with elected officials.

Questions? Send an email to Jay Dick, Americans for the Arts’ Senior Director of State and Local Government Affairs.

National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) State Government ARPA Funding

NCSL has an excellent state level ARPA tracker. To use the tracker, click on the image of the United States. The system will them take you to the tracker. Click the “arts, culture and tourism” box to see the various ways state governments have used funds for the arts.

Screenshot of the state level ARPA tracker

National League of Cities (NLC) Local Government ARPA Funding

To use the local tracker, click on “search by city action” and then type in “ arts” (note: be sure to include a space before “arts” so you won’t get items that include words like “starts”). You can also search for any other terms you want to explore. 

Screenshot of the local ARPA tracker

National Association of Counties (NACo) County Government ARPA Funding

To use the county tracker, under “local government type” select “county” and then find your county to see how they have spent their ARPA funding. Unfortunately, this tracker does not allow you to search specifically for arts and culture projects. 

Screenshot of the county ARPA tracker