Thanks to advocacy efforts by a statewide coalition led by Arts Alliance Illinois, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will distribute a historic $50 million in grant money to help businesses, nonprofit organizations, and sole proprietors in the creative sector that have struggled because of the COVID pandemic.

Quad City Arts is helping Arts Alliance Illinois spread the word and made the announcement Wednesday afternoon.


We know we have a lot of creatives in our region that were hit hard during the pandemic, and we want to make sure they are aware of this opportunity,” the Rock Island-based nonprofit said in its email.

The DCEO Illinois Creative Recovery Grant application portal opens on Wednesday, April 5. If you operate in the creative space, Quad City Arts encourages you to visit for details on eligibility guidelines and more information on how to apply. Hotels and restaurants also will be eligible for similar funding.

“The exciting thing is, the state of Illinois has allocated the same amount of money for the arts and creative sector as they are for hotels and everything,” Quad City Arts executive director Kevin Maynard said Wednesday, noting the $50 million is just for the creative sector (artists, businesses and groups based in Illinois).

This pandemic-related funding for the arts is unprecedented, he said. “They’ve never done anything like this, at this level.”

Through the state’s B2B and Business Interruption Grant (BIG) programs, DCEO has provided more than $535 million to more than 15,000 businesses since the start of the pandemic.

Illinois Arts Council Agency executive director Josh Davis-Ruperto, left, spoke to Kevin Maynard at Quad City Arts Friday, March 10, 2023 (submitted photo).

“Any organization that got funding from the Shuttered Venues Operating Grant or PPP, all of them are still eligible for this,” Maynard said of past federal assistance. “Our region deserves to be represented and funded well.”

“There’s this incredible one-time funding opportunity,” he said. The entire Illinois Arts Council budget for annual grants is about $15 million — which goes to individual artists, arts agencies, park districts and schools throughout the state.

The new grant funding range will be between $5,000 and $250,000 each, Maynard said, adding Quad City Arts will definitely apply.

“They will find out what earned revenue loss did each organization have, and determine based on that, and total number of applicants, to determine what each organization will be eligible for,” he said.

“Any arts organization is going to easily be able to show that, because we were closed,” Maynard said of revenue losses.

Applications will open on April 5, and eligibility guidelines and more are available at Arts Alliance is your go-to resource for help with your application. Visit their website at

The DCEO will hold a webinar on Friday, March 24, at 10 a.m. on how to apply for grants. You can register HERE, and grant applications will be due May 10 at 11:59 p.m.