Dear Arts Colleagues:
As we in the arts sector consider how to plan for the next 12 to 18 months, questions arising from the pandemic loom large in our minds. How long will it be before enough vaccines have been distributed and “herd immunity” is achieved? When will current safety guidelines be lifted so that arts venues, whose activities have been severely curtailed since last March, fully re-open to the public? Will participation in the arts ever return to pre-Covid patterns, or will segments of our population remain leery of attending indoor events? And finally, when will the economy regain enough vigor so that people who have suffered unemployment or income reductions can once again afford to support the arts?
These questions, among others, make it very difficult for arts organizations to know when on-site programs and activities before live audiences will be feasible, or for working artists to anticipate when their incomes will rebound. Given these conditions, the North Carolina Arts Council will continue to administer our grant programs in ways that will help artists and organizations weather the pandemic, rather than going back to our standard grant-making practices.
Applications to the State Arts Resources, Statewide Service Organizations, and Traditional Arts Programs for Students (TAPS) grant programs will again be streamlined, and flexible funding for either operations or programming will be available to nonprofit arts organizations through the Organization Support category. The grant deadline for arts-in-education programs will be in the fall, so that schools have the opportunity to plan for programs in the first half of 2022.
The Grassroots Arts Program application will revert to pre-pandemic guidelines, but with strong encouragement for local arts councils to make subgrants for operating support rather than projects.
We will continue to defer artist fellowships and the North Carolina Heritage Awards and instead fund Artist Support grants, which deliver assistance to many artists in need.
One important addition to our grant offerings in FY 21-22 is the creation of Arts Equity Project Grants, a category that will support arts activity in communities that have been historically underserved or underfunded. This category, which deepens our work in diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion, is open to organizations that are not eligible to receive Organization Support grants. We hope that this program brings us into partnership with organizations of color and rural nonprofits that use the arts to enrich the lives of North Carolinians.
The application deadlines for the Arts Council’s FY21-22 grant programs can be found here.
We also are advocating a “Restart the Arts” campaign that will provide new programming and marketing resources to our arts sector across the state. I will write you with more details as plans progress.
The number and amount of grants we can make depend, now as always, on our budget. The state legislature convened last week and I urge you to stay connected to Arts North Carolina for current information on how to communicate your messages to elected leaders effectively.
Thank you for your resilience and dedication to sustaining and growing the arts for all North Carolinians and their communities.
Wayne Martin, Executive Director
North Carolina Arts Council