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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

Two S.C. arts organizations receive NEA Our Town grants

Two South Carolina arts organizations (and current South Carolina Arts Commission grantees) are the recipients of Our Town grants from the National Endowment for the Arts: The Nickelodeon Theatre in Columbia and Preserving Our Southern Appalachian Music (POSAM) in Pickens. Indie GritsThe Nickelodeon Theatre will receive $50,000 to support the expansion of free public programming for the 2015 Indie Grits Festival. Though it began in 2009 as a film festival in Columbia, S.C., Indie Grits has grown to showcase diverse and innovative work of artists from across the Southeast. Columbia Film Festival and the City of Columbia will partner to increase public programming throughout the festival, including video installations in downtown storefronts, pop-up arts experiences along Main Street, and public panels discussing how arts and culture can help shape the future of cities. Artists will activate vacant storefronts during the festival, demonstrating the potential for spaces to be used year round for creative endeavors. Preserving Our Southern Appalachian MusicPreserving Our Southern Appalachian Music will receive $25,000 to support the redesign of a former elementary school auditorium into a community cultural space for workshops, concerts, and traditional arts activities in Pickens, S.C. The schoolhouse now serves as the Hagood Community Center and is in need of significant restoration to function as an arts space and the cultural and civic hub of the town. Preserving Our Southern Appalachian Music, City of Pickens, and the Senior Citizens of Pickens will come together to conduct historical research to inform the design of the facility, host town hall meetings to solicit citizen input, hire an architect to redesign the auditorium, and participate in fact-finding visits to learn from other cultural centers in the region. This project will provide a space for residents and visitors to keep alive the traditional arts and culture of Appalachia. "Our Town grants are very competitive," said S.C. Arts Commission Executive Director Ken May. "For the past three years, only one grantee from South Carolina has received this grant, so to have two this year is remarkable. We always encourage and offer to work with eligible S.C. organizations to apply for this grant and others from the NEA. The application process can be time-consuming, but the payoff can be great." Sixty-six Our Town grants totaling $5.07 million were awarded to organizations in 38 states, investing in local efforts to leverage arts assets to drive community development. Since Our Town's inception in 2011, the NEA has awarded 256 Our Town grants totaling more than $21 million in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Our Town projects generally fall into two categories; those that feature arts engagement activities, and others that deal with design and cultural planning activities. In arts engagement projects, artistic production is the focus. Design and cultural planning projects develop the local support systems and infrastructure necessary for community development to succeed. Visit the Our Town website to find out more and explore the interactive map with all Our Town projects to date. Via: National Endowment for the Arts