NASAA Notes: October 2021

October 4, 2021

Oregon, West Virginia: Artist Relief Funds

In March 2021, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) received $135 million in funding from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act of 2021 to support jobs in the arts sector, keep the doors open to arts organizations nationwide, and assist the field in its response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Forty percent of this funding was allocated to state, jurisdictional and regional arts organizations. Eligible state arts agencies are regranting funds to the arts organizations, artists and culture practitioners across their states through their funding programs. Below are two examples, from Oregon and West Virginia, that highlight how state arts agencies are adopting interesting areas of focus for artist relief funds.


Corn husk weaver Michael Johnson of Umatilla County, Oregon, practices a traditional style of corn husk twining called false embroidery—an increasingly rare technique. Photo by Oregon Folklife Network courtesy of Oregon Arts Commission

The Oregon Arts Commission will be allocating $100,000 of the $805,000 grant awarded by the NEA through the ARP funds to expand an existing partnership with the Oregon Folklife Network (OFN), Oregon’s folk and traditional arts program. The Traditional Arts Recovery Program, to be administered by OFN, aims to bolster economic and cultural recovery by supporting the creation of new artwork by traditional artists in Oregon. The program will provide stipends of $5,000 for the creation of new work to 15 traditional artists who use a range of art forms to represent and express Oregon’s diverse ethnic, sacred, occupational and regional cultural arts. Nonmatching awards will be distributed through an open call for nominations and by invitations from a panel. Applications are simplified to be brief project proposals or phone interviews, to make the process more accessible. To learn more about the program, contact Oregon Arts Commission Visual Arts Coordinator Eleanor Sandys.

West Virginia

The West Virginia Commission on the Arts, part of the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, launched the American Rescue Plan: Individual Artist Project Support grant program. Supported by the NEA through the ARP funds, the Commission will be awarding a portion of its $765,000 to professional or teaching artists for the creation of visual, performance or literary works of art that engage communities in creative activities designed to help to help them heal and recover from the impact of the pandemic. Grant amounts will be up to $7,500 and will not require a match. Individual artist applicants may receive a stipend under this grant program, up to 75% of the total grant request. In addition to applicant artist fees or stipends, artists can use grant funds for materials, space rentals, or equipment purchases or rentals. Applications from artists living in counties designated by the Appalachian Regional Commission as at-risk or distressed will receive scoring bonuses. For more information, contact West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History Individual Artist Coordinator Elizabeth Yeager.

In this Issue

From the President and CEO

State to State

Legislative Update

The Research Digest

Announcements and Resources

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