The Arkansas Arts Council administers both federal and state funds to provide financial aid and state arts grants for programs and services benefiting Arkansas organizations, schools and artists. Federal funds are appropriated by Congress to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), which grants funds to the Arkansas Arts Council. State funds for grants and programs are appropriated by the Arkansas General Assembly. Grant money from the Arkansas Arts Council is awarded annually.
The Division of Arkansas Heritage is pleased to announce the application period is now open for the Arkansas Arts Council American Rescue Plan (ARP) Grant. This grant will aid 501(c)(3) arts groups based in Arkansas that have experienced financial hardships or loss of program capacity due to lost revenue in the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Funding for this grant comes from the $784,000 AAC received from the National Endowment for the Arts in the ARP. Eligible arts organizations may request up to $15,000. This is a one-time-only grant category and may not be extended or renewed.
“Arts organizations play an important role in their local economies and contribute substantially to the quality of life in our state,” said Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism. “We are very pleased to be able to offer this grant to help offset the economic injury caused by COVID-19.”
Our agency recognizes this moment as an opportunity for the sector not just to reestablish old ways of operating, but to rebuild in a way that works better for all arts organizations.
To qualify for the ARP grant, organizations will be considered on:
The Arkansas Arts Council ARP grant can be used for the following administrative costs:
To apply for the ARP grant check out our grants portal website: https://bit.ly/2XnbWU4. New users will have to create an account to apply. The deadline to apply is October 15.
For more information or assistance contact Grant Programs Manager Jess Anthony at [email protected] or 501-324-9768.
This grant reimburses nonprofit organizations for up to 40 percent (or up to $2,000) of the cost to hire a professional artist. The artists must be from the Arts on Tour Artist Roster. Nonprofit organizations, including schools, libraries, festivals and churches, can apply for these grants.
Application Deadline Ongoing. Use Form A for events before January 1, 2022. Use Form B for events on January 1 or after. Forms are in Grants Manager at the link.
For additional information, contact the Grant Programs manager.
These grants are available for $1,000 to $10,000 and require matching funds. The grants are designed to encourage collaboration with two or more community organizations and to assist nonprofit applicants with the contracted cost of art activities. Specifically, the grant seeks to fund projects for underserved community groups and to help cover art-related costs. Grant funds are supplementary to the budget of any grantee. Applicants are encouraged to secure and demonstrate broadly based financial commitments for the proposal submitted. Grant awards are based on anticipated Arkansas Arts Council revenues and can be reduced at any time during the grant period. Nonprofit organizations, including schools, libraries, festivals and churches, can apply for these grants. For additional information, contact the Grant Programs manager.
These grants are designed to help fund administrative and operational costs for established nonprofit organizations with programs involving the arts. The program is for local arts agencies or single discipline arts organizations with total incomes between $50,000 and $999,999. GOS funding may only be spent for non-programmatic, administrative expenses, including, but are not limited to, administrative staff salaries, general marketing and fundraising costs, facility rental, utilities, maintenance of the facility and staff travel. The requested amount for these grants must be between 7 and 12 percent of the total income from the organization’s last adjusted operating income based on budget size. The grant also requires some matching funds. For additional information, contact the Grant Programs manager.
Fellowships are unconditional, non-matching grants made directly to individual artists. Awarded annually, these fellowships recognize the artistic creative excellence of the recipient’s work and enable the selected artists to devote more time and energy to creating their art and mastering their craft. Funding categories change each year. Up to nine fellowships of $4,000 may be awarded. Artists must be at least 21 years old and an Arkansas resident for at least one year at the time of application.
The program funds established not-for-profit local arts agencies or single discipline organizations with a three-year budget average equal to or greater than $1 million. The program has two grants: General Operating Support and Arts in Education grants.
MAP General Operating Support grants may be spent only for non-programmatic, administrative expenses. It may not be used for artistic or technical staff or for contracted administrative or artistic costs.
MAP Arts in Education (AIE) grants are awarded for the purpose of placing professional artists either in residencies at specific school sites or in conjunction with other community-based nonprofit organizations. For additional information, contact the Grant Programs Manager.
This grant is made in memory of Sally A. Williams, who served as the Arkansas Arts Council’s Artist Services manager for 25 years before she passed away April 20, 2010. The fund was established, in part, from private donations, including Williams’s family and friends, and from proceeds from the sale of Williams’s artwork after her death. The grant helps pay for up to $500 in professional development and career advancement costs for artists. A request must be matched by the artist with a cash amount equal to or more than the grant. Artists may receive a minimum of $100 per application. The grant covers virtual conferences, travel and publishing costs, for example.
The Arts in Education program initiates new arts programs, or enhances existing ones, in schools and local arts agencies by providing direct interaction with professional artists in residencies for pre K–12 students. All artists involved in AIE residencies must be selected from the Arts in Education Artist Roster.
Three Arts in Education grants are available: After-School / Summer Residency Program, Arts Curriculum Project Grants, and In-School Residency Program.
For more information about the Arts in Education program, contact the Arts in Education Program Manager.
These mini-grants are awarded to schools and nonprofit or governmental organizations and institutions to help support projects that advance the goal of arts as a basic part of education. Projects must seek to enhance current arts curricula or must assist in the goal of establishing on-going arts programming and/or curricula in schools and organizations. Artists selected for this grant must be from the Arkansas Arts Council’s Arts in Education Artist Roster. The grants can be awarded up to $10,000 but require a full match. Contact the Arts in Education Program manager for more information.
The Arts for Lifelong Learning Mini-Grants program enriches the lives of adults of all experience levels and abilities through quality arts learning experiences. This program provides funding for eligible institutions that wish to host a short-term (up to 10 days) residency program with professional artists who are listed on the Arts in Education Artist Roster. Programs should have hands-on arts activities for adult populations in community-based or governmental organizations and institutions. An in-service workshop may also be included in the mini-residency program. Grants are available up to $1,000 and require matching funding. Mini-grants are awarded until the funding runs out. Contact the Arts in Education Program manager for more information.
The Arts in Education In-School Residency program places professional artists during the school day or school year in residencies at specific school sites or in conjunction with other nonprofit community or governmental organizations and institutions. The program provides a way for artists to demonstrate their art form, create or perform works of art so that participants may observe the creative process and relate their art form to other K-12 curriculum areas. The program is designed to strengthen the role of the arts in education with the understanding that the development of aesthetic awareness and participation in the arts should be an integral part of life and the basic education process. These residencies may last from 10 days to the entire school year. Grant award payments, of up to $40,000, are scheduled to accommodate the grantee’s program requirements to the extent possible. This grant requires matching funds. Contact the Arts in Education Program manager for more information.
The Arts in Education Mini-Grants are short-term residencies of up to 10 days where professional artists provide curriculum-based arts activities in a school environment or other location, or provide a teachers’ professional development workshop. Artists must be selected from the Arts in Education Roster.Pre K-12 schools for programs during school hours, and/or organizations that provide after school or summer programs, have an opportunity to apply for Arkansas Arts Council funding to:
We recommend that applicants speak with the appropriate grant program manager before submitting any Arkansas Arts Council grant application. Complete applications must be submitted online by the date of the deadline for a specific grand program. Application forms are available through the Arkansas Arts Council's Grants Portal and the Individual Fellowship Artist Grants Portal.
Use the grants code: aac
Applications will not be accepted online unless all required pieces are submitted. Late applications will not be accepted unless the applicant demonstrates good cause for missing the deadline. Good cause generally will be limited to events or factors beyond the applicant's control - such as natural disasters - and will be determined by the Arkansas Arts Council's Executive Director.
The format of each grant application is designed to assist the review process and to provide an analysis of the artistic and administrative structures of the applicant organizations. When submitting an online application, an eligible organization must include all application information requested and submit the complete application package by the grant program deadline.
The budget form is available as a downloadable Excel spreadsheet that will calculate for the applicants. If a budget line item does not apply, type a zero in the space. Do not leave blank spaces in any section of the application. The Total Income for the FY23 proposed grant application budget should equal the Total Expenses. Any surplus amount of operating income indicated for FY23 will be subtracted from the grant request.
For clarification on what each budget line item includes, refer to Standard Definitions the Process and Policies links below. Applicants should use those definitions to determine how to divide their operating resources according to the budget line items indicated on the grant application form. Explanations or additional budget information requested should be submitted on Sheet2 indicated on the bottom of the downloaded Excel budget page.
The following information applies to grant applications for the General Operating Support program, Arts in Education, Major Arts Partners, and the Collaborative Support program.
Under these guidelines, funding for organizations is not available for:
Prior to the beginning of the grant cycle of each state fiscal year (July 1 - June 30), the Arkansas Arts Council approves grant categories, policies, and review procedures. The Arkansas Arts Council uses a review process at the time of application to determine grant recommendations. All grant recommendations are presented to the Council for review and are voted on to determine final grant amounts. Grant award payment schedules are setup relative to the activity periods outlined in the approved grant applications.
Review panels are composed of Arkansas Arts Council members and field representatives. Arts Council panelists are chosen from members who have expressed an interest in reviewing a particular grant category. Arts Council members serve on panels as ex-officio advisors to facilitate the review process and to provide insight and historical perspective.
Field representatives are chosen from a pool of nominations consisting of former panelists, academicians, arts administrators, and discipline specialists. Staff members select panelists from the pool based on consideration of geographic proximity, artistic qualifications, racial/gender diversity and availability. The executive director of the Arkansas Arts Council approves final panel selections. Each panelist completes a conflict of interest statement prior to the application review and does not participate in any application review where a potential conflict may exist.
Applicants must submit a complete application package as outlined in the FY22 online guidelines no later than the stated application deadline for a particular grant program. Once an organization submits its online application package, the Arkansas Arts Council staff checks the submission for technical completeness. Any question of application eligibility is resolved at that time.
Questions on costs submitted for ineligible projected budget line items, or for a projected budget surplus or deficit, will be resolved before the application goes on to panel review. Each panelist is assigned of every eligible application in a specific grant category for an online preliminary analysis prior to the scheduled public review. A signed online copy of each submitted evaluation is available in the Arkansas Arts Council office for review.
Arts Council grant application reviews are conducted as conference call webinars. Grant applicants are invited to listen in while outside panelists are selected Arts Council members comment on each submitted application. Procedural rules are stated prior tot he beginning of the panel discussions to ensure that all panelists and applicants understand the review format. The panel chair, facilitated by staff coordinator, is responsible for maintaining the announced review schedule and enforcing procedural rules.
The discussion for each application is limited to the amount of time agreed upon n advance of the reviews. A timekeeper will monitor the time.
The panel hair introduces each application to the panel. The staff facilitator presents comments on the technical aspects of the application based on the information submitted. The panel then discusses and evaluates the information in each application narrative relative to established criteria. Official representatives of an applicant organization will only be given the chance to answer specific questions addressed to them by the panel during its discussion of the application narrative. The relevance of information presented will be monitored by the panel chair.
Representatives of the applicant organizations are encouraged, but not required, to listen to the panel review to answer questions that panelists may have, and to utilize the review comments as a management tool.
Each panel discussion is recorded through the webinar format used, and the panelists' preliminary written comments are available as a PDF if requested after the review.
Each panelist uses a review sheet listing the criteria established by the Council to record a numerical score and provide written comments. The completed panelist review sheets are signed, dated, and submitted to the Council staff for processing.
After the individual discussions are completed, the staff calculates two lists of application rankings based on an average of the field panelists' scores and an average of the Council member panelists' scores. The panel then compares the two averages, with further discussion held on any application with significant score discrepancies. The average of the field panelists' scores is given precedence in determining the panel's recommendation to the Arkansas Arts Council. If panel agreement on a final score cannot be reached, the matter will be forwarded to the full Arts Council for discussion.
All panel scores are reported to the Arkansas Arts Council. Review sheets are kept on file in the Arts Council office.
The final amount of funding awarded for each grant application is determined at the annal funding meeting of the Arkansas Arts Council.
Each year, the Council approves funding priorities for each grant category based on available funds. Arts in Education, Major Arts Partners AIE projects, and Collaborative Project Support proposals are reviewed first based on panel recommendations. General Operating Support and MAP GOS Years 2 and 3 are reviewed for funding before GOS and MAP GOS Year 1 panel reviewed applications are considered.
The applicant's request amount adjusted for ineligible terms and the panel's numerical score provides the basic grant amount eligible for each applicant. The Arkansas Arts Council staff factors the basic eligible amount by available funds to determine the final grant amount recommended to the full Council.
The recommended amount is presented to the Arkansas Arts Council along with a prepared summary on each application review. A copy of this summary will be sent to each grant applicant after the annual funding meeting as part of the official announcement of the grant award.
Once the Arkansas Arts Council determines the awards at the annual funding meeting, an applicant may request reconsideration of a decision. A request for reconsideration may be made if the applicant can demonstrate any of the following:
Dissatisfaction with either the denial of an application or the amount of an award is not sufficient reason to request Arkansas Arts Council reconsideration.
To request reconsideration, an organization should consult with the appropriate program manager to review the factors that contributed to the Arkansas Arts Council’s decision.
If an applicant believes there are grounds for reconsideration, its representative must write a formal letter to the Arkansas Arts Council executive director requesting reconsideration within ten (10) working days of funding notification. The letter should contain evidence to support one or more of the listed grounds for reconsideration.
The request will be reviewed by members of the Arkansas Arts Council staff and by the executive committee of the Arkansas Arts Council. The executive committee may deny the request, or it may recommend a review by the full Arts Council at its next scheduled meeting.
The applicant will be notified in writing of any decision made by the executive committee and by the Arkansas Arts Council within 30 days of the decision.
Each grant applicant must certify that it has on file a Section 504 Self-Evaluation for its organization in order to be eligible for funding. For more information on ADA compliance, contact Janet Perkins, Community Development program manager. Find checklists and tools here.