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ARRA Program History

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) was signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009. It is an unprecedented effort to jumpstart our economy, create or save millions of jobs, and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century. The Act is an extraordinary response to a crisis unlike any since the Great Depression, and includes measures to modernize our nation’s infrastructure, enhance energy independence, expand educational opportunities, preserve and improve affordable health care, provide tax relief and protect those in greatest need.

-National Endowment for the Arts,



Due largely to an extraordinary advocacy campaign conducted by the nation’s cultural community, the National Endowment for the Arts received a 50 million dollar allotment of stimulus money to fund arts projects and activities that preserve jobs in the nonprofit arts sector threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn. This funding was distributed though the National Endowment for the Art’s partners – the state, regional and local arts agencies – and directly to American arts organizations.

In April 2009, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded the Maine Arts Commission $293,100 in Arts Recovery funding through its State and Regional Partnership program. Recovery Act funding was allocated to Maine in order to retain the nonprofit arts industry, one of the state’s vital economic sector, a sector that employs an estimated 68,000 people in Maine, makes Maine a treasured place to live, and attracts thousands of visitors to the state annually.

Non-profit arts organizations were eligible to apply for Maine Arts Recovery grant funding if they had:

  • suffered critical staffing cuts or could provide proof that an important existing position was in jeopardy and had compelling reasons why the retention of a creative worker is vital to the health of the organization were able to apply for a Maine Arts Recovery grant and
  • received at least one grant from the National Endowment for the Arts or the Maine Arts Commission since 2005

No Maine Arts Recovery funding was made available to support:

  • development positions or
  • the creation of new or previously unscheduled work