Explore Arts Council Funding Possibilities

Does your historical organization produce programming that relies on writers, artists, storytellers, or craftspeople? Do you regularly engage the community with these activities? If so, you may want to reach out to your local arts council for partnerships or additional support and/or consider applying to the NC Arts Council for a direct grant.

NCMOHAAfestivalThe 13th annual African American Cultural Celebration is a great example of a history museum/ arts council partnership and will take place at the North Carolina Museum of History on Saturday, January 25, 2014. NCMOH works with state, local, and national arts councils to make the event possible.

Even though many historical organizations cross-pollinate with the literary, performing, fine, and folk arts, we do not always take full advantage of the possibilities. The fall 2013 meeting of the Federation of North Carolina Historical Societies featured a workshop on fundraising and Vicki Vitiello, a Senior Program Director for the NC Arts Council, discussed the direct grants program. Funny how the missions of art and history organizations overlap significantly but those 2 branches of “cultural resources” are not always mutually aware. History organizations need to know about arts council funding possibilities for their community programs.

There are two ways the NC Arts Council can support your institution’s art-related programming—direct grants to organizations and grassroots funding via local arts councils. Direct grants are available for eligible nonprofits. The applying organization must:

  • have provided arts programming to their communities for at least 2 consecutive years
  • have prior-year organizational cash operating expenses of at least $20,000.

Grant applications are now available electronically. Even if your institution’s primary mission is historical, this program is something to consider. For most organizational grant categories, funded expenses can range from $5,000 to $15,000. The deadline for 2014-15 organizational grants is March 3rd.

In contrast to direct grants to organizations, grassroots funding is the result of a county-by-county decision-making process in which each local arts council selects community projects. If your organization is not eligible to apply for a direct grant, consider partnering with your local arts council to initiate projects through the Grassroots Arts Program.

Three members of the Federation of NC Historical Societies, who were also fall workshop participants, discussed their institutions’ arts-related programs. Each offers a different type of program with the support of its local arts council.

  • The New Hope Valley Railway, a volunteer-run train museum in Apex, has partnered with the Apex Arts Council to sponsor a writer-in-residence program. Click here to read the poem, “Clackety Clack,” one of the recent products of that partnership.
  • This past June, the Catawba County Historical Association hosted a Bluegrass music festival, sponsored by their local arts council, at the historic Murray’s Mill site.
  • The Wayne County Historical Museum joins with the  Wayne County Arts Council and 4 local libraries to present “Wayne County Reads.” In 2013 “La Laguna” was the book selection and the museum hosted a speaker from Mexico, a panel of former residents from Mexico telling about their pre-immigration lives, and a fair for all local Spanish-speaking residents.  Community members displayed various crafts, demonstrated dances, etc. Three years ago the book, “Three cups of Tea,” inspired several museum programs including an exhibition, a panel of soldiers from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base discussing their experiences in Afganistan, and a presentation about Islam by a Duke professor.  The museum also co-sponsored a fair for children that included photographs, costumes, and toys reflecting Afghan culture.

Most history museums and sites provide programming that involves reading, writing, music, or folklife. Wouldn’t NC Arts Council funding help make these initiatives bigger or better at your institution?

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About collectionsconversations

This blog will contain posts from the C2C project staff on a variety of topics related to collections care and disaster preparedness. Enjoy the posts and let us know if you would like additional information or have a topic you would like for us to address.

Posted on January 7, 2014, in Fundraising, Grants and Funding, historic sites, museums, public programs and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Steven Urquhart

    I have a slave quilt I purchased before any of this nonsense about quilt patterns was published because I recognized the Ghanan symbol for freedom which is described at “monkey wrench” by American quilters. It has the symbol in black, twice, on a pastel background so it cane be displayed folded once or twice, wide advertising an escape, narrow for the time of the escape. It is so old the back and the stuffing are missing and it’s been sewn on to another backing. I live on the north-south route out of the Quaker brothers who lived in N.C. and Indiana and I have personally discovered three of the heretofore unknown “stations” in Virginia.

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