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David Platts

Announcing SCAC Arts Emergency Relief grants

Applications open, April 29

Application deadline: Friday, May 15, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. ET


This is a critical update with vital information on assisting South Carolina arts and culture organizations and individual artists during, and as we emerge from, this time of crisis. First, I am happy to announce that as a result of tireless work by our team, South Carolina Arts Commission Arts Emergency Relief grants for organizations and individual artists will launch next week. The guidelines are available for review on our website now. Simply click here to access them. The application to apply for the Arts Emergency Relief grant will be open from Wednesday, April 29 through Friday, May 15. There will be a single user-friendly application which will ask which of the three eligible categories applies to you:
  • Arts organizations who ARE current (FY20) operating support grantees (General Operating Support, Operating Support for Small Organizations, and Statewide Operating Support)
  • Arts organizations who are NOT current (FY20) operating support grantees
  • Individual artists
Funding for organizations will be determined by their budget size. Individual artists are eligible to receive up to $1,000. I would like to express thanks to the South Carolina Arts Foundation and the donors to its South Carolina Artist Relief Fund campaign, which is helping to support the grants to artists. The recently-passed CARES Act provides funding to the National Endowment for the Arts and supports aid to arts and culture organizations nationwide. This relief may support salaries and administrative costs to the nonprofit arts sector in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes salary/fringe, rent/mortgage, and other operating expenses, but you may not duplicate emergency funds (for example, if you have received other emergency funds to cover rent, you may not also use this grant to cover rent). Again, I invite you to review the guidelines for our new Arts Emergency Relief grants here.
Second, the result of work with our partners at the South Carolina Arts Alliance and the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation is a free webinar series for South Carolina arts and culture organizations focused on financial best practices for moving beyond COVID-19. Thanks to our funding partners, leading nonprofit financial consulting firm FMA Consultants will lead these webinars beginning next week. Each 90-minute webinar will be hosted twice, with space limited to allow for manageable groups and Q&A. Session topics and dates:
  1. Understanding Financial Heath & Planning Ahead in a Time of Uncertainty Wednesday, April 29 (2:30 p.m.) OR Tuesday, May 5 (2 p.m.)
  2. Scenario Building & Contingency Planning Tuesday, May 12 (1 p.m.) OR Friday, May 15 (1 p.m.)
Learn more and register for these wonderful opportunities on the South Carolina Arts Alliance website by clicking here.
Today’s update marks significant progress toward helping practitioners of arts and culture find themselves as strong as possible when we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis. We at the S.C. Arts Commission have been strongly encouraged by your determination and innovation in finding ways to share through technology.  As always, we stand ready to assist you as we can.  

David Platts

Constituent updates on arts relief aid, Part II

Artist Relief and more on CARES Act relief


(Last week's update, Part I, is available here.) This week’s update includes a major announcement about relief for artists and clarification about recovery funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Artist Relief Fund

You might have read here yesterday that Americans for the Arts and a consortium of funders introduced the new $10 million Artist Relief Fund for artists facing dire financial circumstances due to COVID-19. The fund launches with $5 million in seed funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation matched with $5 million in initial contributions from an array of foundations across the United States. Each week through September, Artist Relief will provide grants to 100 artists from multiple disciplines. It relies on the support of a growing number of foundations and individual donors and will continue to evolve over the coming months as the needs of artists shift. Organizers will continue to raise funds to assist with the rapidly escalating needs of the country's artists. Applications are now open, and the deadline to apply for the first funding cycle is April 23 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Subsequent deadlines are:
  • Cycle II: April 24-May 21 (closes 11:59 p.m. ET)
  • Cycle III: May 22-June 18 (closes 11:59 p.m. ET)
  • Cycle IV: June 19-July 23 (closes 11:59 p.m. ET)
  • Cycle V: July 24-August 20 (closes 11:59 p.m. ET)
Those in need can apply for assistance here, and those who are able may donate to the fund here.

NEA/CARES Act Relief

Back to CARES Act funding. The CARES Act passed by Congress provides a total of $75 million in funding to the NEA.  The NEA will direct 60% of this funding as direct grants to organizations who have received direct NEA grants in the past four years Those organizations should have received communication from the NEA already. The South Carolina Arts Commission’s disbursement will come out of the remaining 40 percent, which the NEA will apportion among the states according to population. Our team is developing guidelines to get critical relief flowing in South Carolina. An announcement will come soon.
Our most recent study revealed that 115,000 friends and neighbors in South Carolina work in jobs supported by the arts and creative sector. My team and I feel it is important to note that arts relief funding is not a “handout for arts projects,” as some misconstrue. Rather, arts relief supports organizations that provide income and benefits for individuals (and often their families) in arts and creative jobs who might otherwise lose access to basic necessities, not to mention dignity and quality of life, through no fault of their own. Knowing we can help drives us to serve our constituents. For ways you can be involved in advocacy efforts, I again direct you to our partners at the South Carolina Arts Alliance.
Photo by John Guccione www.advergroup.com from Pexels

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: Emerging Leaders of Color + CARES Act grants

Good morning!  "Tuning Up" is a morning post series where The Hub delivers curated, quick-hit arts stories of interest to readers. Sometimes there will be one story, sometimes there will be several. Get in tune now, and have a masterpiece of a day. And now, in no particular order...


BREAKING

As The Hub was compiling this update, guidelines for the National Endowment for the Arts' CARES Act grants were released. The South Carolina Arts Commission is reviewing the guidelines and developing a grant program. (If you weren't aware, 40 percent of the NEA's $75 million relief funding is designated to state arts agencies to use for grants.) We will announce details as soon as possible.
Remember this? Like so many other things disrupted by the pandemic, South Arts is extending the April 17 deadline for Emerging Leaders of Color program applications indefinitely. Details on timing will be announced when they are available. Here's a quick refresher on ELC (South Arts link):

To promote representative leadership and equity in the arts, 11 to 13 cultural workers and arts administrators located in seven states in the southern region will be selected for this partnership program between South Arts and our colleague Regional Arts Organization WESTAF (Western States Arts Federation). Building on the success of WESTAF’s ELC program which has been attracting, training, networking and promoting a new generation of diverse arts leaders since 2010, the South Arts program will serve to advance Southern vitality through the arts through leadership development.

Here are a couple updates on other South Arts grants:
  • Jazz Road Tours: Applications due April 21, 2020 Note: In addition to the April 21 deadline, in the coming weeks Jazz Road Tours will begin accepting rolling applications so artists can submit on their own schedule. Details will be announced when they are available. Jazz artists from anywhere in the US can apply for funds to build tours that include three to six sites, with an emphasis on reaching rural, isolated, and underserved communities in combination with dates at more traditional venues. Grants of up to $15,000 are available to support tours taking place between August 15, 2020 and August 14, 2021.
  • Literary Arts Touring Grants: Applications due May 1, 2020 Literary Arts Touring grants support presenting organizations for engagements by guest Southern writers (fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry) from outside the presenter’s state. These touring funds support publicly accessible readings and educational activities that provide opportunities for people to participate in the arts. Grants of up to $2,500 are available for projects taking place between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021.

Jason Rapp

NEA debuts ‘Chairman’s Corner’ podcast

A weekly visit with the chairman


Today, the NEA announced the first episode of a new weekly podcast featuring National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Mary Anne Carter. Each week, host Josephine Reed will interview Chairman Carter (right) about what’s on her mind. They will discuss the work of the Arts Endowment and artists and arts organizations across the country. Take a listen to this week’s "Chairman’s Corner" where she talks about the current impact of COVID-19 on the arts community and the $75 million the National Endowment for the Arts received from Congress in the CARES Act.
The NEA invites you to visit its frequently updated COVID-19 resource page at this link. South Carolina artists (#SCartists) and S.C. Arts Commission constituents can visit the SCAC's response page here.

David Platts

Constituent updates on arts relief aid

The CARES Act and the arts


Additional details have been released on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the $2 trillion bill signed into law last Friday. It offers benefits to South Carolina’s artists and arts organizations, and I want to update you on those. First, though, it is imperative that we get your help by asking you to complete the five-minute Americans for the Arts survey if you have not already done so. The survey aggregates data for each state on the real loss that cancelations and closings will have on arts and culture. South Carolina needs more input to be accurately reflective. Please, no matter your size or reach, stop now and take the survey. You may also update numbers previously submitted. Back to the CARES Act. I am happy to report it includes access to loans, grants and unemployment benefits previously unavailable to many independent artists or arts organizations. In case you missed it, this act also provides $75 million for the National Endowment for the Arts. State arts agencies like the S.C. Arts Commission will receive 40% of these funds to distribute. We do not yet know when we will receive these funds or have the details of how this grant will be distributed, but we will share details as soon as we know them. The other 60% will be distributed as direct grants from the NEA to local arts organizations and  can be used for operational support. Other aspects of the relief package relevant to the arts sector are loans through the Small Business Administration. Non-profit organizations, sole-proprietorships, and independent contractors are eligible to apply beginning today, Friday, April 3. Some of these loans are “forgivable” to encourage retaining workers and function more like grants. If you are interested in securing one, check  to see whether or not your bank is part of this network or find a list of SBA-approved participating lenders here. Our partner the South Carolina Arts Alliance has comprehensive information available about Small Business Administration loans and grants and unemployment benefits for artists and arts organizations. To learn more or to become involved in further advocacy, visit the South Carolina Arts Alliance website. Artists and other creative workers are eligible for federal unemployment benefits offered to those who are part of the gig economy. The new benefits cover the weeks ending April 4 through July 31. The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce administers unemployment insurance in South Carolina. Applications will be made through that agency. For all these things, please keep in mind that patience may be necessary as federal guidelines are interpreted and implemented. Our pledge is to point you in the right direction for assistance. We will continue to collaborate with the South Carolina Arts Alliance to give you timely information.
Photo by John Guccione www.advergroup.com from Pexels

Jason Rapp

NEA announces relief aid for arts orgs

$75 million included in CARES Act


In recognition of the arts’ $877 billion contribution to the U.S. economy and a source of 5.1 million American jobs, the National Endowment for the Arts will distribute $75 million in funding provided by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The bill was enacted into law Friday. The Arts Endowment will award funds to nonprofit arts organizations across the country to help these entities survive the forced closure of their operations in response to the spread of COVID-19. “In this time of great economic uncertainty, I am grateful to the members of Congress and the president for recognizing the contributions of the arts to our nation and our economy and the devastation and job loss that this virus has wreaked upon the arts community,” said National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Mary Anne Carter. “With the agency’s experience in disaster recovery, economic crises mitigation, and distributing relief funds, the Arts Endowment will deliver assistance to help retain as many jobs as possible and keep the doors open to the thousands of organizations that add value to America’s economy and the creative life of our communities.” As stated in the legislation, the $75 million is intended to assist nonprofit arts organizations “to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus, domestically or internationally.” The legislation allows funds to be used for general operating expenses, a departure from the Arts Endowment’s requirement of supporting project-based funding and an acknowledgment of the dire situation facing the arts community. In addition, arts organizations do not have to provide matching funds to receive their grant. As regards to the distribution of the funds, the standard distinction remains of 40 percent awarded to state and regional arts organizations and 60 percent to be awarded by the Arts Endowment directly to applicant organizations. Details regarding timing and applications are being developed and will be announced as soon as they are available. Please check arts.gov in the coming days for more information. “On behalf of America’s taxpayers, we fully understand and welcome the responsibility which has been entrusted to the Arts Endowment,” said Chairman Carter. “America needs the arts and these jobs as part of our economy, our communities, and our lives and the National Endowment for the Arts is committed to doing its part.” Economic Data According to data recently released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts, arts and culture contributed $877.8 billion, or 4.5 percent, to the nation’s gross domestic product in 2017. That same year, there were over five million wage‐and‐salary workers employed in the arts and cultural sector, earning $405 billion. Today, as in 2017, most nonprofit arts organizations operate with lean budgets so the loss of earned income can have an outsized impact. This leads to fewer jobs with the organizations themselves as well as the businesses that supply them, from dry cleaners to parking attendants. Economic Crises The Arts Endowment has experience in recovery efforts. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, Congress appropriated $50 million to the Arts Endowment to support the preservation of jobs in the nonprofit arts sector. The agency obligated $48.575 million in grant funds in 20 weeks, using less than one percent of its allocation to cover increased administrative costs. The Arts Endowment was the first federal agency to get all its money out the door, funds that helped preserve over 7,000 jobs. Disaster Recovery In addition, the Arts Endowment has responded to natural and man-made disasters, using the arts to support physical rebuilding and promote healing. Two examples: after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, the agency led design charrettes to create a memorial honoring victims of the attack. In 2017, the Arts Endowment awarded emergency funding to the state arts agencies in the areas affected by Hurricanes, Harvey, Irma, and Maria to re-grant to their artists and organizations. The NEA also sits on the steering committees of coalitions such as the National Coalition for Arts Preparedness and Emergency Response and the Heritage Emergency National Task Force.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit arts.gov to learn more.