ARAC’s Next Steps and New Grant Opportunities

Here’s an update on how the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council is responding to the the pandemic. Our goals are built around three principles:

1.) Artists and Arts Organizations are crucial to get us through this.

2.) We must double down on all issues related to equity.

3.) There are things we can do to help including get money into the field as soon as possible, be flexible with existing grants, and advocate for artists wherever we can.

 

Key things we’re doing:

  • We’re creating two new grant programs. One is for individuals and one is for organizations that we hope will help during the pandemic. The details of the new programs are below.
  • We awarded 12 COVID-19 Small Grants in the first weeks of that program, but have run out of money for that program. (If we can get more money, we will put it into our new programs which we think will have more impact for artists.)
  • We’re keeping the programs for which applications have already been submitted, but asking applicants how their programming might change because of the pandemic.
  • Working with affected organizations and individuals to get technical assistance to apply for federal aid (SBA loans and grants for organizations and unemployment insurance for individual artists and other individual entrepreneurs.) If you’re struggling with any program, let us know and we’ll tell you of your options and point you in the right direction.
  • Allowing our grantees to make changes to their grants as extensively as the law allows. If you can’t reschedule your event, talk to us and let us know how we can come up with alternative outcomes that will allow you to keep all of your grant money. We are also working with a number of statewide organizations to extend the date that you can do the work. If you were awarded a grant prior to July 2019, unless the legislature acts you have to spend all of your funds by June 30, 2020. We are working to change that.
  • We are suspending our Established Regional Artist grant for this year because we felt that giving more grants to working artists sooner (By June instead of August) is important.
  • We may need to suspend or modify more programs in FY21. We won’t know until May, or possibly June, how much money we will have to spend. We intend to keep our Operating Support Program for organizations and offer additional funding to organizations and working artists. Our aim will be to get the money into the field as soon as we can.

The new grant programs will become live later this week for you to apply. The deadline for applications is Friday, May 8th, 2020, at 4:30 p.m.

What comes next? We’ve been warned by our statewide leaders that the financial turmoil caused by the pandemic might result in deep cuts to the money available for arts grants. We’re planning for alternative scenarios and collecting input on how best to respond. Our goal is to keep the arts infrastructure alive during the pandemic and the financial problems that will follow in its wake.

If you’d like to weigh in on how we can help, join our virtual arts town hall this Thursday, April 16, at 4 p.m. If you’re interested, email us at info@aracouncil.org and we’ll send you the sign-in information. We’d like to use the time to give a brief explanation of our new programs and then hear ideas about how ARAC can help artists during this period.

New Grant Programs:
Here are the descriptions and criteria for the new programs:

Organization Sustainability Grant

$2,000 to sustain nonprofit arts organizations during the COVID-19 crisis. Money can be used to pay artists, staff, or for needed equipment to provide art in a new setting. A portion of the grants will be set aside for teaching artists to pay for their time or needed equipment to convert their work to new virtual requirements.

Applications Open: April 15, 2020
Applications Deadline:
Friday, May 8, 2020 at 4:30 p.m.
For Funding beginning June 1, 2020
Your project must be completed, and grant funds spent by December 31, 2020.

Criteria:

  • Organizational need (40%)
  • Artistic Vision and Importance in the Arts Ecosystem of their Community (40%)
  • Strength of plan to use the grant (20%)

This program is open to non-profit arts organizations and non-profit organizations run by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color with substantial arts programing.

Emergency Working Artist Grant

$2,000 for working artists to do a work of art in the next six months and sustain themselves during the COVID-19 crisis. The art produced does not have to be specifically about the pandemic, but rather we are looking for projects that can be done within the next six months. A portion of the grants will be set aside for teaching artists to pay for their time or needed equipment to convert their work to new virtual requirements.

We plan to award 24 grants of $2,000.

Applications Open: April 15, 2020
Applications Deadline:
Friday, May 8, 2020 at 4:30 p.m.
For Projects beginning June 1, 2020
Your project must be completed, and grant funds spent by December 31, 2020.

Criteria:
The criteria for this program includes artistic quality of both past and current work, the ability of the artist to complete the work, and a determination by the panel evaluating the grants that the slate of grants reflects the diversity of our region (with diversity as defined by the state’s Office of Grants Management best practices for competitive grants review). We want to ensure that the grants are divided among our geographic regions, in many artistic disciplines, and with racial diversity. This grant will be funded by our support from the McKnight Foundation.

  • Artistic Vision, both of past work and of the proposal presented (75%)
  • Ability to carry out the project (25%)

Artists must also assert that they are working artists and rely on their artistic income for a substantial portion of their income.