Application Definitions

Application Definitions

Definitions and clarifying language for applications. 

501(c)(3) tax-exempt status – Being “501(c)(3)” means that a particular nonprofit organization has been approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt, charitable organization. The most common way to show tax status is a copy of your organization's IRS determination letter

The Maine Arts Commission does not accept applications from non 501c3 organizations nor from fiscal sponsors applying on behalf of non 501c3 organizations. Non-501c3 organizations may have an individual from the organization apply for an artist grant or could collaborate with a 501c3 organization and have the 501c3 organization apply on behalf of the collaborative project.

This is the date and time by which applications are due. Materials submitted after the application deadline will not be accepted. The time of Agency deadlines is usually at 5:00 p.m. on the deadline day unless otherwise stated. 

All applications and Final Reports must be submitted through the online Application Portal. To access the portal you will need create a (free) account for yourself and/or your organization at the Login page. With an account you can build a listing in our directory and apply for grants, fellowships, apprenticeships, and other kinds of Agency support. 

The account you will need a Vendor Code (for yourself and/or your organization). A Vendor Code is is a State assigned number that allows award payment processing by the Maine government. It is the letters VC followed by ten digits (VC9876543210). You will not be able to add a vendor code to your account, it is something the Agency will attach. If you do not have a Vendor Code, you can get one by filling out a Vendor Form and submitting it to the Agency prior to the application deadline. We will process the form and attach the code to your account once it is assigned.

Applicants may only request funding for expenses that will occur within the award cycle, even if the project extends beyond the award cycle dates. The amount requested through the application should not exceed the maximum award amount. The agency does not offer multi-year funding. However, awardees are welcome to apply every year and are able to receive grants multiple years in a row (unless otherwise stated).

There are three general restrictions and application restrictions are also clarified in the grant guidelines. 

  • An applicant may only submit one application, per grant program, per funding cycle. 
  • An applicant may only receive one agency grant award, per funding cycle. (unless otherwise indicated). 
  • Multiple applicants may not seek funding for the same part of the same project (only one project, per grant, per funding cycle).

Restrictions on award acceptance do relate to non-grants funding such as Apprenticeships, Fellowships, relief funding, and grants that we administer for other organizations. In these cases, an applicant may apply to multiple offerings and accept multiple awards (unless otherwise stated).

Most Maine Arts Commission applications have six sections divided as pages:

  • Information: (Fields) For general applicant overview (Name, Address, Organization Type, DUNS, etc.
  • Questions: (Fields) For information that relates to the project (Timeline, Public Benefit, etc.)
  • Uploads: (Select Files) Support materials that are either optional or required (Resume, Artistic Samples, etc.)
  • Budget: (Fields) An area to provide budget numbers and explain award-use (Grant, Matching Funds, Other Income, etc.)
  • Assurance: (Checkbox) Outlining the Terms and Conditions of fund use should an award be offered.
  • Submit: (Checkbox) A last chance to review your application before you submit it.

The artistic excellence of the application includes the:

  • Quality of the artists, organizations, arts education providers, works of art, and/or services that the project will involve and their relevance to the audience or communities being served.

The artistic merit of the application may include:

  • Importance and appropriateness of the project to the organization’s mission, artistic field, artists, audience, community, and/or constituency.
  • Appropriateness of proposed project measurements. This includes, where relevant, measures to assess student and/or teacher learning in arts education.
  • Plans for documentation and dissemination of the project results, as applicable.
  • Evidence of direct compensation to artists, art collectives, and/or art workers.

All applicants are notified of their award status (approved or declined) via email after the Commission members approve the review process. Awardees are also listed on the Maine Arts Commission website. Paperwork and instructions for an applicant to accept an award is sent via email. Award funding is delivered by surface mail in the form of a paper check.

To accept an award an applicant will sign the Letter of Agreement that is linked in the notice and return it to the Maine Arts Commission. The delivery of funds may take up to six months from the time of award notification. This means that grant awards may be used to reimburse costs which have been incurred for the project after the grant has been approved but prior to funds being disbursed, as long as it takes place within the award cycle.

Agency awards are taxable income, however, the Agency does not send 1099 or other tax forms to awardees. A copy of executed award contracts can be accessed on the State of Maine site at:

A period of time designated by the Maine Arts Commission in which awarded funds can be used. This is usually one year, from July 1 to June 30.

If funds arrive after the start of the award cycle, award money can be used to cover expenses incurred prior to arrival but after the start of the award cycle. For example, if a cycle was from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, any funds spent on the project prior to July 1 could not use the grant funding. However, if the award check did not arrive until August 10, expenses from July 1 to August 10 could be covered by the grant. All grant funds (and matching funds) need to be spent by June 30, any project expenses beyond June 30 may not be paid for with award funds.

Benefit to community – The community connections of a project expressed through a clear and specific strategy for engagement and inclusion. How will funds benefit entities beyond the primary awardee?

Community includes individuals and organization that inform any stage of the project. This could involve any group of people and/or organizations that share particular characteristics. Populations that share a geography, people that share an artistic discipline, individuals that belong to the same arts collective, students at a school, people who use the same social services, people who regularly attend theatre events and gallery openings, etc. A community does not need to be large. A project may result in skill building for ten members of a printmakers collective or be targeted to a four person school group. These projects can be as compelling as reaching one hundreds of people for performances or thousands for a public exhibition, as long as it is communicated articulately.

Benefit could be strengthening community connections, learning opportunities, skill building, enjoyment, increased awareness of a topic, financial gain, etc.

A DUNS number is a (free) unique nine-digit identifier for a business created by credit bureau Dun & Bradstreet. DUNS numbers are a standard numbering system to identify businesses across the globe. It is what the NEA uses to track grants to organizations, so it is used by the Maine Arts Commission in relation to NEA funds. A DUNS Number is affiliated with a company's Live Business Identity and is not an EIN which is issued by the IRS for tax purposes.

The purpose of the final report is to have the awardee provide the grantor with a written record of grant-related activities, accomplishments, and challenges that have been faced during the grant term. Final reports to the Maine Arts Commission can be accessed online through the application within the Application Portal and are due no later than two weeks after June 30, although they may be submitted earlier. 

When entering the project income for the Final Report budget you should be as accurate as possible. This can include some estimates, for example, if the funded project took up half the square footage of your venue between July and December, then you could estimate that 50% of the income from July to December could be counted towards the project in your report.

To file your Final Report:

  1. Enter the Application Portal with your user name and password.
  2. Select the application that requires the Final Report.
  3. Open the application and select the Final Report link (the top right-hand side of the screen).
  4. Complete the Final Report with appropriate information.

Materials that are required in the report include:

Information (Fields)

  1. Budget numbers of project and matching-fund amounts.
  2. Demographics and accessibility information.
  3. Project summary, including successes and challenges.

Materials (Uploads)  - Materials such as images, press releases, and documents with URL. Materials must contain at least one image of the project and one example of your crediting the Maine Arts Commission.

Survey (Fields) - A quick feedback survey about agency performance and service.

Submit (Button) - Confirmation (Checkbox) that you have completed the required steps and send with the Submit button.

If a Final Report needs to be altered after it has been submitted, please contact the agency Grants Director. The Grants Director will unlock the Final Report. You can then make the appropriate changes, and then click the Submit button to resubmit the Final Report with the updated materials.

A fiscal sponsor is a nonprofit organization that provides fiduciary oversight, financial management, and other administrative services to help build the capacity of another (non-501c3) charitable project. This could include applying for grants on behalf of non-501c3 entities. 

The Maine Arts Commission does not accept applications from non 501c3 organizations nor from fiscal sponsors applying on behalf of non-501c3 organizations. Non-501c3 organizations may have an individual from the organization apply for an artist grant, or could collaborate with a 501c3 organization and have the 501c3 organization apply on behalf of the collaborative project.

There is no charge to sign up for an account on All artists and cultural entities are invited to join and will need an account in order to apply for Agency funding. To create an account, select the “Login to your account” icon that is found on every page of From the content manager log in area, select the "New User" link and fill out the form for new users. Everyone should have an individual account, those representing organizations should also have an account for the organization as well.

A Resident of Maine is an individual that was domiciled in Maine for the entire taxable year or maintained a permanent place of abode in Maine for the tax year and spent more than 183 days there. They have paid (or intend to pay) Maine state taxes for the previous year.

Matching refers to a value that the awardee contributes to a project that is in proportion to funds they are requesting in the application. When required by the Maine Arts Commission this is usually 1 to 1 ratio; so one dollar of value from the awardee needs to match every dollar of the request. E.g. if you ask for $4,550 in the application the match would be $4,550, totaling a $9,100 investment to the project. The project may have a total budget of $9,100 or greater.

Matching can be made through a monetary contribution (a cash match) which can consist of your own money, other grant awards, donated funds, investor money, etc. or non-cash contributions (an in-kind match) that can be assigned a value like hours donated by the artist, volunteer labor, donated goods, the value of a donated facility or equipment, etc. To determine in-kind value, it is recommended that you use the middle-range for fair market value of whatever is being donated. You cannot match funds with other awards from the same organization.

Cash matches and in-kind matches can be used either separately or in combination to meet the required amount. The source of a match will need to be identified in the application and can either be identified as ‘secured’ or ‘pending’, depending on how reliable the match is at the time of application. 

A match must be applied within the award cycle. For example, if the award cycle is from July to June and you have a donation of four months of rehearsal space that is valued at $1000 per month, you could claim $4000 in a match if your rehearsals start in July. However, if your rehearsals started before the award cycle on May 1 you would only be able to claim $2000 of a match because half of the rehearsals are outside the award cycle timeframe.

This is the most you may request when applying for an award. However, you may request under the maximum amount if your project requires less funding.

The Arts Commission welcomes the opportunity to support schools and organizations that engage in arts education projects. However, The Maine Arts Commission will not fund students attending an institution or enrolled in classes. Some educational opportunities that involve part-time study and/or low residency academics may be considered eligible on a case by case basis. 

A individual or collaborative enterprise that is planned to achieve a particular goal. In applications, the Maine Arts Commission uses the term ‘Project’ for whatever funding would be used for. This is the case whether it is an arts project, operational funding, fellowship, or some other endeavor or plan.

A discipline category must be selected for the project.

Craft Arts: Examples include woodcraft, carving, fiber/textiles, ceramics, jewelry, papercraft, etc.

Literary Arts: Examples include writing, editing, critiquing, reviewing, publishing, poetry, prose, etc.

Media Arts: Art mediated in its delivery. Examples include film, video, computer art, podcasts, etc.

Performing Arts: Examples include live performance in theatre, dance, music, circus, opera, playwriting, etc.

Traditional Arts: Creative practices that sustain the historic cultural heritage of their community.

Visual Arts: Examples include painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, installation, photography, etc.

An organization that normally has $50,000 or more in gross receipts and that is required to file an exempt organization information return must file either Form 990, Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, or Form 990-EZ, Short Form Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax.  

These are populations who face barriers to accessing and using particular services or opportunities. Factors that contribute to barriers may include geographic location, income level, ethnicity, gender identity, special needs (such as language barriers, disabilities, alienage status, health, and/or age), or other elements that reduce full participation to offered amenities. Applicants whose project will engage underserved populations should be specific about population(s) and explaining how they are underserved. Census data about population density, poverty levels, school lunch program participation, etc. is frequently used in applications. Information about the makeup of attendees to previous events also illustrates how a project may work with underserved populations.

Your Vendor Code is a State assigned number that allows award payment processing by the Maine government. It is the letters VC followed by ten digits (VC9876543210). If you do not have a vendor code, you will not be able to accept funding. Please check your Maine Arts Commission User/Organization account to see if there is a number in the Vendor Code field. If the field is blank you will need to complete a Vendor Form with exactly the same name and contact information as used in the application. You will also need to fill out a Vendor Form to update your information if you have had a recent address change or name change. 

The Vendor Form must be provided to the agency prior to the application deadline and can be submitted through email, surface mail, or FAX to the Agency. Email can be directed to

Please do not upload the Vendor Form as part of the application. It can take several weeks to be assigned a Vendor Code, so the Code may not be attached to your account at the time of deadline, this is fine. However, the Vendor Form must be submitted by the deadline date. Once it is assigned, the Code will be attached to your Arts Commission account automatically. A blank Vendor Form and instructions can be downloaded from the Grants Help page.

Get Started in our Application Portal

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Need More Help?
For General Questions:
Director of Grants & Accessibility
Kerstin Gilg: 287-6719
Help by Discipline:

Interim Media & Performing Arts Director
Meg Fournier: 287-2713

Assistant Director, Visual Arts Director
Julie Horn: 287-2790

Arts Education Director 
Martha Piscuskas: 287-2750

Traditional Arts Specialist
Kathleen Mundell: 236-6741