Nupurum Folk Dance showcased dances from the different states of India in brightly colored saris during the World Beat Festival in June. (Saphara Harrell/ Salem Reporter)

Salem art organizations will have more money in their pockets after the Oregon Arts Commission recently announced its largest grant award of the year.

“It’s probably the most appreciated by the organizations that we serve,” said Carrie Kikel with the Oregon Arts Commission.

More than 100 art organizations across Oregon were awarded $1.1 million total in grants. Locally, nine organizations received close to $60,000 total.

The money isn’t designated for specific projects and can be used for operating costs for organizations with a budget over $150,000. There’s a separate grant award for smaller arts groups.

Lisa Joyce, executive director of Pentacle Theatre, said she listened as grant reviewers discussed her organization’s application and noted that they appreciated that the theater doesn’t “just do old chestnuts.”

“It’s a mix of familiar and unfamiliar shows that are on our season,” she said.

Joyce said the review board also highlighted the theater’s efforts to diversify its funding streams and provide opportunities for members of the community to be involved in theater.

She said ticket sales cover 70% of the theater’s operating costs and it needs other sources of revenue to maintain the building and pay staff.

“There’s real hard costs of operating an arts organization and that’s one of the things we appreciate about the Arts Commission’s operating grants,” Joyce said.

Laura Agüero, director of programs at the Oregon Symphony Association in Salem, said the group will use the money for expenses like insurance, musicians and the venue.

For the 2021 season, she said the symphony is hoping to add a seventh concert.

Kathleen Fish, executive director of Salem Multicultural Institute, which puts on Salem’s annual World Beat Festival, said arts have an economic impact on the community.

 “When you have that strength of arts in the community it’s a more attractive, more inviting and welcoming place to live and to work in,” Fish said.

She said the organization has been receiving funding from the Oregon Arts Commission for years and this year’s money will help support exhibits in the gallery and World Beat Festival in the summer.

Fish said the gallery tries to exhibit different forms of traditional and folk arts from different countries.

“The Arts Commission really has a strong mission to support the arts. Part of their mission is making sure the arts are accessible to everybody and there’s representation from different cultures,” she said.

Kikel said if organizations meet the criteria, they’ll receive an award. The amount varies based on a formula that takes budget size and record of service into account, she said.

The commission’s website states: “The most competitive applicants are arts organizations that offer ongoing, sustained, high-quality arts services or artistic programming and outreach programs in the community.”

The Arts Commission is supported by funding from the Oregon Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Oregon Cultural Trust.

The Salem awardees are listed below:

Children’s Educational Theatre: $4,043

Enlightened Theatrics: $7,627

Hallie Ford Museum of Art: $7,482

Historic Elsinore Theatre Inc: $5,386

Oregon Symphony Association in Salem: $4,931

Pentacle Theatre Inc.: $5,451

Salem Art Association: $12,618

Salem Multicultural Institute: $6,981

Willamette Art Center: $4,438

Have a tip? Contact reporter Saphara Harrell at 503-549-6250, [email protected] or @daisysaphara.