HUDSON -- Three area arts organizations were among the 385 statewide organizations chosen for a total of $15 million in COVID-19 Cultural Organization Grants.

The Phipps Center for the Arts, the River Falls Community Arts Base and the River City Chorale will receive funding from the program designed to help cultural nonprofit organizations hurt by the pandemic.

“These cultural organizations represent the vibrant fabric of communities across our state and support Wisconsin's tourism industry and local economies,” Gov. Tony Evers said in a news release. “This grant program will help organizations cover essential costs related to keeping their employees and communities safe throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”

The purpose of the grant fits The Phipps’s needs perfectly, Director Darby Lunceford said, as the center lost revenue this season during the pandemic. The Phipps received more than $137,000.

“Given that we continue to operate a building particularly at lower capacities without those revenues, then that money again is doing exactly what it is designed to do to help get our budget a little bit closer to expense and revenue in this unprecedented year,” Lunceford said.

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River Falls Community Arts Base closed its office in February, losing the income from sales in its gallery, but continuing to pay rent, Vice President Cheryl Maplethorpe said. The Community Arts Base received about $7,800 from the program.

“This grant will help CAB survive the pandemic and be ready to serve the community when we can all start returning to normal,” Maplethorpe said. “We look forward to showing the work of local artists, giving art classes, hosting Art on the Kinni and contributing art events to local celebrations like River Fall Days and the Bacon Bash.”

The River City Chorale received about $6,800.

Being selected was a relief for The Phipps, Lunceford said.

“It definitely gave us some breathing room as we end our fiscal year on Dec. 31,” he said.

It was wonderful to receive funds, CAB's Maplethorpe said, though unfortunate that many others who applied didn’t receive the full amount requested.

“On the other hand, it was great to see that Wisconsin has so many cultural organizations that support music and theater and visual art in Wisconsin,” she said.

Lunceford said he is grateful to the legislators and elected officials, especially the governor’s office, for using the CARES fund in this way and increasing the total amount awarded.