October 14, 2020
Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation Announces CARES Arts Organization Relief Grants Program Awards $790,000 in Support to 79 Mid-Atlantic Region Arts Organizations
Baltimore, MD – October 13, 2020 – Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (MAAF) has announced $790,000 in grant awards through the CARES Arts Organization Relief Grants program in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Small to mid-sized non-profit arts organizations in MAAF’s partner states, jurisdictions, and territories (DC, DE, MD, NJ, NY, PA, USVI, VA, and WV) were eligible to apply through a competitive process for one-time, non-matching grants of up to $20,000. Funding for the program was provided by the National Endowment for the Arts through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

“We are pleased to pass along this important CARES Act funding to organizations in the mid-Atlantic region in the hope that it offers some relief to an arts field struggling with the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Theresa Colvin, MAAF’s Executive Director. “We know the need is great, and will continue to look for ways to further support and strengthen the arts community during this challenging time.”

“We heard, early on in the process, that there were a lot of applications from Virginia. We know it was a competitive process, but we are pleased to see the diversity of organizations--the regions and people they serve--who are benefitting from these awards. And we are grateful to MAAF for making this additional funding available,” said Janet Starke, Executive Director for the Virginia Commission for the Arts.  

MAAF received 1,022 applications requesting $10.7 million in support at the program deadline. Applications went through a rigorous review process that involved a diverse group of panelists to ensure an equitable distribution of funds. Panelists from across the region were selected for expertise in nonprofit arts management across various artistic disciplines and sectors. A total of 79 grants were awarded to organizations working in the performing, visual, and literary arts and 57 of the 79 CARES grantees are new to MAAF programs.

These funds for Virginia-based arts organizations are in addition to $380,500 in CARES Act grants awarded by the Virginia Commission for the Arts in two funding cycles between April and July, benefitting 175 arts organizations across the Commonwealth. 

Virginia Organizations Awarded Funding from Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation

Armed Services Arts Partnership, Alexandria, VA, $10,000
ART 180, Richmond, VA, $20,000
Art for the Journey, Richmond, VA, $10,000
Art on Wheels, Richmond, VA, $5,000
Arts for Learning Virginia, Norfolk, VA, $10,000
Bowen McCauley Dance Company, Arlington, VA, $10,000
GreenSpring Foundation, Richmond, VA, $10,000
Soundscapes, Newport News, VA, $10,000
Tidewater Arts Outreach, Norfolk, VA, $5,000
About Virginia Commission for the Arts
The Virginia Commission for the Arts is the state agency that supports the arts through funding from the Virginia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts.  
The Commission, which was created in 1968, is guided by 13 Commissioners appointed to five-year terms by the Governor and confirmed by the General Assembly. To ensure statewide representation, at least one Commissioner — and no more than two — is appointed from each Congressional district. A full-time staff of five implements programs and policies. The Commission is assisted by a statewide network of advisory (grants) panelists.Virginia Commission for the Arts supports artistic excellence and encourages growth in artistic quality for the benefit of all Virginians. www.arts.virginia.gov
About Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation
Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation develops partnerships and programs that reinforce artists’ capacity to create and present work and advance access to and participation in the arts. The Foundation was created in 1979 and is a private non-profit organization that is closely allied with the region’s state arts councils and the National Endowment for the Arts. It combines funding from state and federal resources with private support from corporations, foundations, and individuals to address needs in the arts from a regional, national, and international perspective. For more information on the Foundation’s programs and services, please visit: www.midatlanticarts.org

About the National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $5 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. www.arts.gov

Karen Newell
Director, External Affairs
Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation
(410) 539-6656 x.104

Janet Starke
Executive Director
Virginia Commission for the Arts
(804) 225-3132
You Spoke…We Listened! Additional Changes to the FY21 Guidelines for Funding for The Performing Arts Touring Program 
Beginning in mid-March 2020, Virginia presenters began postponing live performances per state regulations surrounding COVID-19. At that time, many thought that they could potentially present the artists, but perhaps only after the June 15, 2020 deadline. In late spring, VCA staff extended the deadline (to those presenters who had applied before the shutdown) to November 30, 2020 in hopes that the contracts could be fulfilled. Staff also made allowances for artists to present their performances through online virtual platforms if there was also a live component to the presentation, and eliminated the 30-mile radius rule for these virtual presentations. However, as the summer progressed and the numbers of COVID-19 cases continued to rise, it became apparent that presenters, and especially schools, were not prepared to present either live or virtual performances (some due to lack of broadband access), and many of those postponed concerts were cancelled completely.   

On September 15, 2020, VCA held a Touring Artist Feedback Session at which it gathered information to inform its current Guidelines for Funding. The following changes to the Performing Arts Touring Program and Technical Assistance were approved at the October 1, 2020 Commission meeting.  

  1. The Presenter Touring Assistance Grant deadline has been extended from December 1, 2020 to February 1, 2021.
  2. VCA is allowing for flexibility on the four-week advance application deadline for presenters. Applications from presenters must now be received at least ONE week in advance with one payment in full once the final report is received. 
  3. In order to help hard hit communities rebuild, VCA will eliminate the 30-mile radius regulation (as was done for the virtual performances) for live performances in FY21 (through June 15, 2021).  
  4. Technical Assistance grants will now be available to current FY21 VCA touring and teaching artists for equipment to record and present virtual performances as high quality recordings have become more and more important.

For more information, please contact VCA Program Coordinator Cathy Welborn at Catherine.Welborn@vca.virginia.gov
Guidelines Now Available
Washington, DC— 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.