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Jason Rapp

Applications open for NEA’s ‘Big Read’ program

Arts orgs eligible for $20,000 grants

Application deadline: WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27, 2021

Arts Midwest is now accepting applications for the 2021/2022 National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Program.

pile of books on a wooden stoolThe NEA Big Read is a community engagement opportunity with grants of up to $20,000 for community-wide reading programs (virtual and/or in-person). Organizations can choose one of six available books. They can also tie in thematically-related books of their choice to expand the program's potential and reach a wider audience. Eligible organizations include arts organizations, but also:
  • community service organizations,
  • institutions of higher education,
  • libraries and literary centers,
  • museums,
  • school districts,
  • tribal governments, and more!
Past grantees have a proven track record of successfully engaging their audiences through the power of literature and stirring up a passion for reading that persists year after year.  They've also developed meaningful and lasting partnerships with other organizations in their community. Studies have shown that reading for pleasure has positive impacts on one’s health and this program can also provide entertainment and connection to community members in a time of isolation. The deadline to apply is January 27, 2021. Learn more about the NEA Big Read via the attached grant guidelines and at this link: https://www.artsmidwest.org/programs/neabigread/about If you have any questions, please contact Arts Midwest at neabigread@artsmidwest.org or 612.238.8010.

Jason Rapp

S.C. Arts Commission grants eclipsed $5.5 million in FY20

Emergency relief assisted 346 artists and arts organizations

Grants distributed in 44 counties


For Immediate Release

COLUMBIA, S.C. – In recently completed FY2020, South Carolina Arts Commission grants totaling $5.59 million went out into state communities to assist 835 artists and providers of arts and arts education.

While this represents a rise of more than $1.1 million and 377 grants over FY2019, it is important to note that extenuating circumstances render comparisons difficult. Fourth-quarter Arts Emergency Relief grants in 2020 pushed its overall numbers up. Additional funding from the state general assembly nudged the non-relief grant totals higher than FY2019 by just less than $685,000 with 489 grants awards versus 458. A new impact map available on the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) website provides visual representation of the statewide impact of agency grants (and their related programs).

Arts Emergency Relief was a factor

Arts Emergency Relief grants, announced in April, added $506,736 to FY2020 totals. Those provided support funding to arts organizations and artists who could prove losses from shutdowns caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. A portion of CARES Act funding was granted to the National Endowment for the Arts for distribution in part to state arts agencies like the SCAC. The subgranted funding was designated solely to provide relief to arts organizations. The SCAC made 177 grants totaling $381,636 to South Carolina arts organizations as a result, helping those groups to offset losses and help keep them operating. Additional relief funding was provided by the South Carolina Arts Foundation. A separate entity that supports the SCAC, the foundation raised money through a spring fundraising drive that contributed around $50,000 of the $125,100 the SCAC spread among 168 individual artists. Both arts organizations and individual artists continue to suffer losses because of the pandemic’s prolonged effects and find themselves in need of additional relief. A recent Brookings Institution study estimated losses in South Carolina’s arts and creative sectors of $1.2 billion.

It was still a big year

The SCAC’s normal grant categories experienced a big year. Grants that provided funding support to the SCAC’s three service areas of arts education, artist development, and community arts development increased to nearly $5.1 million in FY2020. Grants were made in 44 of 46 counties, and one out-of-state grant covered programmatic obligations to South Arts, a regional arts organization and frequent partner in the SCAC’s work. One big factor was the January introduction of School Art Materials grants. This new grant provided one-time money for arts teachers to purchase supplies and other needed materials to assist them in providing quality arts education. There were 63 grants awarded totaling $396,000. The largest single grant category remained General Operating Support, which enable arts organizations across the state to provide arts experiences to residents and visitors alike. $1.9 million was distributed among 129 such organizations. Another $112,000 was awarded in operating support to smaller arts organizations. While the majority of the SCAC’s funding comes from state appropriations, it is grateful for additional generous funding support from the Coastal Community Foundation (CCF) and the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of CCF. Funding from those sources is applied to two SCAC grant categories: Subgranting and Arts Project Support.
  • Partnering arts agencies in South Carolina receive grants they may subgrant to artists and arts organizations in the communities they serve. CCF support helped seven awards in the category total $70,000 in FY2020.
  • A grant from the John & Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of CCF helped the SCAC fund arts projects for artists (14) and arts organization (18) in 12 counties totaling around $30,000.
As of the start of FY2021 on July 1, 2020, the state is operating under a continuing resolution that holds its budget at FY2020 levels until January, when lawmakers expect to have a clearer picture of the effect of the pandemic on the state’s finances. The SCAC is working to ensure that state lawmakers are aware of losses suffered by arts providers and practitioners while we wait for the budget to be resolved.
About the South Carolina Arts Commission The mission of the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC) is to promote equitable access to the arts and support the cultivation of creativity in South Carolina. We envision a South Carolina where the arts are valued, and all people benefit from a variety of creative experiences. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the SCAC works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key areas:
  • arts education,
  • community arts development,
  • and artist development.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.

Jason Rapp

NEA, Arts Midwest make NEA Big Read guidelines public

The National Endowment for the Arts, in collaboration with Arts Midwest, announced today that guidelines are now available for nonprofit organizations interested in applying for a grant to hold an NEA Big Read project between September 2021 and June 2022.

Since 2006, more than 1,600 National Endowment for the Arts Big Read programs have taken place throughout the nation, giving communities the opportunity to come together to read, take part in meaningful discussions, and enjoy book-inspired events. The deadline for grant applications is January 27, 2021. The books available for the 2021-2022 NEA Big Read are designed to provide communities and readers with insights into aspects of our nation’s history and culture. Applicant organizations are encouraged to collaborate with a broad range of partners to offer events and activities that engage the whole community. Eligible applicants and partners include, but are not limited to: arts centers, arts councils, arts organizations, community service organizations, environmental organizations, fairs and festivals, faith-based organizations, historical societies, housing authorities, humanities councils, institutions of higher education, libraries, literary centers, museums, school districts, theater companies, trade associations, and tribal governments. Visit Arts Midwest’s website for complete application details. “This selection of books for the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read will offer a platform to launch meaningful discussions about our nation’s past, present, and our hopes for its future,” said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “These books all provide insights into different aspects of our history and we look forward to seeing the creative ways organizations find to explore their selected book with their community.” The books available for 2021-2022 programming are:
  • An American Sunrise—A collection of poems by Joy Harjo—current U.S. poet laureate and member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation—that revisits the homeland from which her ancestors were uprooted in 1830 as a result of the Indian Removal Act.
  • Beloved—A novel by Toni Morrison set in 1873 in Cincinnati, Ohio, about one woman’s struggle to raise her daughter while coping with the memories of her life as an enslaved person in pre-Civil War Kentucky.
  • The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir—Thi Bui’s memoir about the lasting effects of one family’s journey from war-torn Vietnam in the 1970s to a new life in America and the universal challenges of becoming a new parent.
  • The Call of the Wild, White Fang, and Other Stories—A collection of short and long tales of heroism and hardship by Jack London featuring canine protagonists and set in the Pacific Northwest amidst the backdrop of the Klondike Gold Rush of the late 1800s.
  • The Grapes of Wrath—A novel by John Steinbeck published in 1939 that chronicles the harrowing westward migration from Oklahoma to California during the time of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression.
  • The House on Mango Street—A series of interconnected vignettes by Sandra Cisneros published in 1984 about a year in the life of a young Mexican-American girl growing up in Chicago in the 1980s.
Resources for each book, such as readers’ guides and teachers’ guides will be available in Spring 2021. In order to broaden participation, applicants may also choose to develop certain events and/or activities around other literary titles that relate in some way (thematically, historically, etc.) to their selected NEA Big Read book. “For nearly 15 years, NEA Big Read has inspired communities to come together over the joy of a good book,” shared Joshua Feist, director of grantmaking at Arts Midwest. “We look forward to supporting organizations as they test innovative ways to connect their audiences—which includes events in virtual spaces and socially distant programs—to ensure that communities have access to creativity, literature, and the important stories and ideas embedded in these books.” A webinar for potential applicants will be held on November 12, 2020 at 1pm ET. Click here to register.

About the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read

Since the program began in 2006, the National Endowment for the Arts has funded more than 1,600 NEA Big Read programs, providing more than $22 million to organizations nationwide. In addition, NEA Big Read activities have reached every Congressional district in the country. Over the past 14 years, grantees have leveraged more than $50 million in local matching funds to support their NEA Big Read programs. More than 5.7 million Americans have attended an NEA Big Read event, approximately 91,000 volunteers have participated at the local level, and 39,000 community organizations have partnered to make NEA Big Read activities possible. For more information, please visit arts.gov/neabigread.

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.

About Arts Midwest

Arts Midwest believes that creativity has the power to inspire and unite humanity. Based in Minneapolis, Arts Midwest grows, gathers, and invests in creative organizations and communities throughout our region and the nation. One of six non-profit regional arts organizations in the United States, Arts Midwest's history spans more than 35 years. For more information, visit artsmidwest.org.

Jason Rapp

Tuning Up: Update on relief funding awards to S.C. arts orgs

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...


Columbia

The Columbia Museum of Art announces it has been selected as a recipient of a CARES Act economic stabilization grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The $150,000 award will support public programming associated with the upcoming major exhibition Visions from India: 21st-Century Art from the Pizzuti Collection. “I am pleased that the Columbia Museum of Art has received funding allocated through the CARES Act,” says Congressman James E. Clyburn. “The museum serves as a community center, art studio and entertainment venue. We must continue to support them as they strive to provide safe opportunities to participate in meaningful cultural experiences and connect with others.” From Oct. 17, 2020, through Jan. 10, 2021, the CMA will present Visions from India, a breathtaking sweep of 21st-century painting, sculpture, and multimedia works from India and its diaspora. The museum is eager to showcase this exhibition for diverse local and regional audiences and believes it will make an important impact on the community. The NEH is generously providing support for exhibition-related activities that require retaining humanities staff to maintain and adapt critical public programs.

Greenville

Local arts organizations have received another infusion of COVID-19 relief funds thanks to a $100,000 contribution from Hollingsworth Funds Inc. The funding, which is being distributed by the Metropolitan Arts Council, was awarded to the following groups: Artisphere, Centre Stage, Greenville Chorale, Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville Symphony Orchestra, Greenville Theatre, Metropolitan Arts Council, Peace Center, South Carolina Children’s Theatre and Warehouse Theatre. Each of the 10 organizations will receive $10,000 within the next few days, said Alan Ethridge, executive director of the Metropolitan Arts Council.

Jason Rapp

Hub E-Vents: July 23

You want art. You crave art.

#SCartists and arts organizations want to fill that void. They live for that. It’s a calling. Yet in times of social distancing, that’s hard to do. Through the wonders of modern technology, many are trying and succeeding. So while we’re all staying home to protect vulnerable family, friends, and neighbors,  The Hub is stepping up to fill the void between artists and arts lovers. (Learn more about Hub E-vents here.)

Today

Well, it might not be #SCartists, but it's still a pretty big deal. On Thursday, July 23 at 7 p.m. ET, there will be a virtual celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. It’s a free event that will be emceed by Danny Woodburn. You can register at www.ADA30LeadOn.Eventbrite.com or watch via Facebook Live or on YouTube. Join disability rights leaders, performers, artists, singers, dancers, poets, filmmakers and storytellers with disabilities in the celebration. There will also be messages from Mary Anne Carter of the National Endowment for the Arts, Beth Bienvenu, and Charles Baldwin (Mass Cultural Council) highlighting the roles of the SAAs and RAOs and Arts Endowment grantees.

Bonus video content: ADA30 Lead On - Marlee Matlin Promo

More event information and guest appearances:
  • Learn about the five titles of the ADA through the disability lens of entertainment. Join Tony Award winner Ali Stroker (Oklahoma); with performances by Maysoon Zayid (General Hospital); RJ Mitte (Breaking Bad); Alice Sheppard (Kinetic Light) performing her dance “Descent;” Heidi Latsky Dance; Krip-Hop Nation’s Leroy Moore & Keith Jones performing their “My ADA Story;” photos by Tom Olin and more.
  • With messages by Senator Tom Harkin; NCD Chair Neil Romano; Tony Coelho; Judy Heumann; Marlee Matlin; Jim LeBrecht (Crip Camp); CJ Jones (Avatar) and more.

Jason Rapp

CARES Act funding announced for 7 S.C. NEA grantees

Awards total $350,000


Washington — The National Endowment for the Arts announces the nonprofit arts organizations recommended for direct funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

These 855 organizations—located in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico—will receive a total of $44.5 million in nonmatching funds to support staff salaries, fees for artists or contractual personnel, and facilities costs.

Grants of $50,000 are offered to 846 organizations while nine local arts agencies will receive $250,000 each to further award to arts organizations in their area. The National Endowment for the Arts received more than 3,100 eligible applications requesting $157 million for the $45 million available in direct assistance. To review the applications, the agency used more than 200 application readers and panelists to review and score each application using the published review criteria.

“All of us at the National Endowment for the Arts are keenly aware that arts organizations across the country are hurting, struggling, and trying to survive and that our supply of funding does not come close to meeting the demand for assistance,” said Arts Endowment Chairman Mary Anne Carter. “That said, I am enormously proud of the over-and-above efforts of the Arts Endowment staff to swiftly and professionally manage such a large amount of additional work in a relatively short period of time on behalf of the American public.”


These awardees represent the diverse nature of arts organizations around the country. Overall funding is divided nearly evenly between small, medium, and large arts organizations. Also, 18% went to organizations either in rural (non-metro) areas or in metro areas with populations below 250,000.

Seven NEA grantees in South Carolina received $50,000 grants each. They are:
  • Aiken Music Festival (Joye in Aiken) - Aiken
  • Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County - Camden
  • Spoleto Festival USA - Charleston
  • Columbia Film Society - Columbia
  • Pawleys Island Festival of Music & Art - Pawleys Island
  • Preserving Our Southern Appalachian Music (POSAM) - Pickens
  • Hub City Writers Project - Spartanburg
  • View the full list of nationwide recipients by clicking here.

In April, the agency announced the distribution of the required 40 percent of the CARES Act’s $75 million appropriation to the state and regional arts agencies for their granting programs. Each agency has its own process and timeline for awarding those funds, however, the Arts Endowment anticipates that together those entities will make between 4,200 and 5,600 awards.

From the beginning, the Arts Endowment has pursued both speed in making awards, and maintaining the agency’s reputation for organizational excellence. Just 12 days after President Trump signed the CARES Act legislation, the Arts Endowment posted guidelines for direct funding applicants. In less than three weeks, the agency had announced awards to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations. This press release marks less than 14 weeks since the legislation was made into law.

Arts and culture are a key component of the U.S. economy that contribute $877.8 billion, or 4.5 percent, to the nation’s gross domestic product in 2017 and employ over 5 million wage‐and‐salary workers who collectively earned $405 billion. This funding will help support those jobs and those nonprofit organizations during this time of great need so that arts and culture will persevere as a significant contributor to the American economy.

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.

Jason Rapp

SCAC receives 2020 NEA funding

$864k grant supports agency's work


As a part of its regular grantmaking, the National Endowment for the Arts announces over $84 million for 1,144 new awards to organizations in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and each of the five U.S. territories.

Grants will be awarded in 13 artistic disciplines, arts research, and partnership agreements with all U.S. state and regional arts agencies. They are separate from the NEA's grants related to CARES Act funding. In support of its work in arts education, artist development, and community arts development, the South Carolina Arts Commission, as a state arts agency, is receiving $864,000. In total, $1,006,500 is coming to South Carolina in this round. Other groups receiving funds are the College of Charleston, Columbia Film Society (2 awards), and The Watering Hole Poetry Org. Applications for these recommended grants were submitted to the Arts Endowment last summer and reflected the wide range of performances, exhibitions, and activities that the agency has traditionally funded. At the end of March 2020, the listed projects were approved, followed by two months of extensive technical assistance in which agency staff worked one-on-one with hundreds of organizations to adjust their projects to meet the new reality created by the pandemic. Changes include postponing activities and taking activities virtual as the examples below illustrate. As a result of this plus additional work related to the CARES Act, project descriptions are not being included in the grant lists accompanying this announcement. The most current information for all projects will be available on the agency’s grant search tool. “These awards demonstrate the continued creativity and excellence of arts projects across America and the nimbleness of our nation’s arts organizations in the face of a national crisis that shuttered their doors for months” said Mary Anne Carter, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “By funding arts projects in every U.S. state, territory, and the District of Columbia, the National Endowment for the Arts again celebrates the opportunity to make the arts available to every corner of the country and to see how the arts can heal and unite us.” Grants this round support a range of activities, including:
  • Arhoolie Foundation in El Cerrito, California is recommended for a $25,000 award to support enhancements of the organization’s website which will serve as a publicly available virtual museum honoring America’s diverse musical roots.
  • Miami Dade College will use their $25,000 grant to support Generation Genius, a literacy and learning initiative designed to engage youth of all ages in learning through reading and writing. Miami Book Fair will conduct fall 2020 activities virtually and are investing in significant new technology infrastructure to build online programming.
  • Art Mobile of Montana in Dillon is recommended for a $20,000 award to support a traveling exhibition and visual arts education program featuring original works by Montana artists. The program will provide resources for teachers in schools throughout the state with a focus on rural locations, including Native American reservations.
  • Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts in Vienna, Virginia will use their $65,000 award to support professional training programs for singers and opera performances. The summer residency will include career development seminars, voice lesson, language coaching, and more. Young artists will perform for virtual audiences in summer 2020.
  • Sunflower Music Festival in Topeka, Kansas is recommended for a $20,000 award to support their festival celebrating the centennial of the passage of the 19th Amendment. Rather than moving to a virtual platform, the festival is postponed until summer 2021.
  • Alliance for Media Arts + Culture in Spokane, WA is recommended for a $30,000 award to support the development of a suite of online professional resources as part of Arts2Work, an apprenticeship and workforce development program for media artists.
  • Transart & Cultural Services in New Paltz, New York is recommended for a $50,000 Our Town award to support the Kingston Pinkster Festival, a virtual festival celebrating African-American history, arts, and culture in the Hudson Valley region. The festival will engage residents by integrating arts and culture into strategies for addressing challenging local issues.
  • Polk County Iowa in Des Moines is recommended for a $125,000 Our Town award to support Shoreline Signals, a series of public art installations along the Central Iowa Water Trails System at the confluence of the Raccoon and Des Moines Rivers. The initiative will engage residents of Des Moines in flood resiliency as well as water safety and access issues.
Grants in four funding categories are recommended this round, including Art Works, Our Town, Research Grants in the Arts, and State and Regional Partnerships. All current grants and project details can be viewed through the Arts Endowment’s recent grant search.

Art Works II: 1015 awards totaling $25,334,900

Art Works grants support artistically excellent projects that celebrate our creativity and cultural heritage, invite mutual respect for differing beliefs and values, and enrich humanity. For fiscal year 2020, the Arts Endowment encouraged applications that honor the Women’s Suffrage Centennial. Matching grants generally range from $10,000 to $100,000.

Our Town: 51 awards totaling $3,643,000

Our Town is the National Endowment for the Arts’ creative placemaking grants program. This year marks the tenth year of support for Our Town projects that integrate arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes. Matching grants range from $25,000 to $150,000. The National Endowment for the Arts advances creative placemaking efforts through publications and resource development in addition to funding. Visit the Arts Endowment’s Creative Placemaking Resources page for details.

Research Grants in the Arts: 14 awards totaling $780,000

Research Grants in the Arts support research that investigates the value and/or impact of the arts, either as individual components of the U.S. arts ecology or as they interact with each other and/or with other domains of American life. Matching grants range from $10,000 to $100,000.

State and Regional Partnership Agreements: 64 awards totaling $54,296,000

Each year, the National Endowment for the Arts designates 40 percent of its grant-making budget to the state and regional arts organization through partnership agreements. Grants are awarded to the nation’s 56 state and territorial arts agencies and the six regional arts organizations. This funding enables these agencies and organizations to respond to priorities identified through public planning undertaken with their constituents, partners, and stakeholder as well as Arts Endowment objectives. It is from this category that the South Carolina Arts Commission's allocation came.
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.

Jason Rapp

Fourth time a charm for new S.C. Poetry Out Loud champion

Persistence rewarded in final attempt

for immediate release 22 May 2020

COLUMBIA, S.C. – She earned her way to the state finals every year of her high school career and in the fourth and final attempt, the payoff finally arrived for a Lancaster student.

Judges selected Andrew Jackson High School senior Taylor Wade as state finals competition champion in the national recitation contest Poetry Out Loud, administered in South Carolina by the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC). Seven other South Carolina high school students competed with Wade in a virtual state finals. The annual competition was scheduled to be held in Columbia on March 14, but was canceled by the SCAC to conform with guidelines related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bonita Peeples, Poetry Out Loud coordinator for the SCAC, arranged for a virtual competition. The eight finalists sent videos to be reviewed by the judges: Paul Kaufmann, Darion McCloud, Kimberly Simms, and Dr. Nancy D. Tolson. Wade recited “Dead Butterfly” by Ellen Bass and Edgar Allan Poe’s “Israfel” in preliminary rounds. She and two other students advanced to the final round, where she recited “Adam’s Curse” by William Butler Years and received the four judges’ highest score. In a typical year, Wade would have joined finalists from the other 49 states, the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico in Washington to compete for a $20,000 cash prize at the national finals. In lieu of that competition, the champion of each state that held or will hold a state finals will receive a $1,000 prize. In states where the finals were canceled, the state arts agency will receive $1,000 to either award to a state champion named at a later date or divide among the students who advanced to the state finals.

About Poetry Out Loud

Now in its 14th year, Poetry Out Loud helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about literary history and contemporary life. Created by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation in 2005, Poetry Out Loud is administered in partnership with the State arts agencies of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. Poetry Out Loud offers more than $100,000 is prizes and school stipends each year. It provides free teacher resources and a comprehensive website with a large anthology of classic and contemporary poems, audio and video clips, as well as complete contest information. Since its establishment in 2005, Poetry Out Loud has grown to reach nearly 3.8 million students and 60,000 teachers from 16,000 schools in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For more information, visit PoetryOutLoud.org.

About the South Carolina Arts Commission

With a commitment to excellence across the spectrum of our state’s cultures and forms of expression, the South Carolina Arts Commission pursues its public charge to develop a thriving arts environment, which is essential to quality of life, education, and economic vitality for all South Carolinians. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing grants, direct programs, staff assistance and partnerships in three key areas:
  • arts education,
  • community arts development,
  • and artist development.
Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit SouthCarolinaArts.com or call 803.734.8696.

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.
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