NASAA Notes: November 2021

November 1, 2021

Michigan and Ohio: Reconnecting Arts and Communities

The isolating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have underscored the importance of the arts as a vehicle for restoring human connections, building social capital and helping communities heal after difficult experiences. State arts agencies are encouraging this kind of public engagement by supporting projects that embed the arts in civic practice to contribute to the critical work of their state’s recovery efforts. Artists are central to these programs, as are cross-sector partnerships and community-centered planning. Michigan and Ohio offer two recent examples.

Michigan: Community Partners Grant Program

“Portrait of a Dreamer,” a sculpture by Ivan Iler, commissioned by the City of Lansing, Michigan. Photo courtesy of Lansing 5:01

The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, in partnership with Arts Midwest, recently launched the Community Partners grant program, which aims to strengthen communities by encouraging them to work collaboratively with artists and cultural entities to explore local issues. Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, government entities and tribal organizations. The program will award nonmatching grants from $10,000 to $20,000 that can be used to cover project costs including artist fees, travel and marketing expenses.

To qualify for the grant, projects should propose ways of drawing the community together leading to meaningful collaborations between community members, artists, and civic, human service. and business groups and practitioners. Additionally, the projects should be successful in identifying unique aspects of each community and deploy creative processes to explore community change. The primary organization must partner with at least two organizations (nonprofit status not required) that will be responsible for implementing the project. The partner organizations should work with the primary organization and artists, who will serve as the creative leads, helping the primary and partner organization plan the project, prepare the grant application and implement the project. To learn more about the program, contact Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs Arts Education & Project Support Program Manager Chad Swan-Badgero.

Ohio: Arts Resiliency Initiative Community Project Awards

Passion Works Studio in Athens celebrates reopening through its Parade in Place, safely bringing community members and artists together in Appalachian Ohio, despite the pandemic. Photo courtesy of Passion Works Studio

To accelerate recovery for artists, arts organizations and communities, the Ohio Arts Council launched the Arts Resiliency Initiative grant program. In addition to providing operating support for organizations that have not yet received public relief funding and are new to the Arts Council, the program is offering Community Project Awards. The projects should employ local artists engaged in community based projects having a strong public engagement component. Funded projects can support, for example, creative professionals who will facilitate recovery and revitalization through creation of new public art, newly commissioned work, preservation of oral histories or local stories, creation of new exhibitions or artist-led communitywide projects. Awards range between $10,000 and $15,000 with no match requirement. Funds flow through cultural organizations, but all funds must be used for artist fees.

Applicants are required to propose projects planned in collaboration with community members. Projects from rural or historically underfunded areas of Ohio, having long-term benefits that outlive the grant-making period, as well as those led by and/or featuring BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and/or people of color) leaders and artists will be prioritized. To learn more about this initiative, contact Ohio Arts Council Organizational Programs Coordinator for the Central and Southeastern Regions Brianna Dance, Organizational Programs Coordinator for the Northeastern Region Patrick Roehrenbeck, or Organizational Programs Coordinator for the Western and North Central Regions Jim Szekacs.

In this Issue

From the President and CEO

State to State

Legislative Update

The Research Digest

Announcements and Resources

More Notes from NASAA




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