Distribution of CARES Act Funds

  • April 28, 2020


A Message from the Maine Arts Commission 

April 24, 2020

The Maine Arts Commission has been preparing for the impact of the COVID-19 crisis since early March. Already, $5.2 million has been reported in economic loss across Maine’s creative nonprofit sector. With the recent announcement of the $75 million dollars appropriated to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Arts Commission staff have been busy re-aligning their existing grant programs to provide relief to arts sector as efficiently as possible. The Maine Arts Commission will receive $426,800 from the NEA through the CARES Act.

Here’s what you need to know:

CARES Act relief funds supports salaries, fees, and administration costs to the nonprofit arts sector in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Where is that money going?

- On March 15, the Maine Arts Commission promoted its Fiscal Year 21 Organizational Development Grant as funding support for organizations adjusting to the COVID-19 crisis. The grant deadline was also extended by one week to give applicants enough time to restructure their applications. This grant is the Arts Commission’s primary relief for arts organizations. The grant will be “fast-tracked” for early approval in May in order to get funds to the sector as quickly as possible. These grants will be in the amount of up to $5,000 each.

 - Additionally, arts organizations that applied for and received a grant in the previous cycle (Fiscal Year 2020), will now be eligible to apply for funding for the maximum amount that was requested in their applicationFor example, if “Main Street Arts” applied for $5,000 through an organizational project grant and was awarded $3,000, Main Street Arts would now be eligible to request the remaining $2,000 for economic relief. Additionally, if “Arts & Company” applied for only $3,000 through an organizational project grant and was awarded $2,000, Arts & Company would now be eligible to request the remaining $1,000 for economic relief.

-Bicentennial Grant recipients are not included in this program and are not eligible for CARES Act funding.

- An additional $50,000 will be set aside for Maine Arts Commission salaries and wages, fringe benefits, and operating expenses to administer the CARES Act funds as permitted by the NEA.

 *The Maine Arts Commission expects to process the first round of CARES Act funds for FY20 grantees by mid-May 2020.  

Will there be future relief packages?

The quicker the arts and culture sector distributes CARES Act funds, the better positioned it will be to receive future allocations for economic relief. In anticipation of this, the Maine Arts Commission’s priority for the next few months will be laying the groundwork for a new grant program in order to administer future arts relief packages. The Arts Commission will keep the field updated with any news of additional relief funding should it become available.

What about Maine artists?

There are more than 22,000 artists and creative workers living in Maine who contribute to the state’s economy, and who, along with creative organizations, make up 2.5 percent of the state’s GDP. The Maine Arts Commission understands many artists have been hit hard by the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis. We continue to encourage artists to apply for the Maine Artist Relief Fund through ArtsEngageME – the Arts Commission’s 501c3 support organization.  ArtsEngageME recently announced grants totaling $24,000 that have already been disbursed to Maine artists. In addition, the New England Foundation for the Arts has awarded ArtsEngageME $47,000 to enable further support to Maine artists in the coming weeks.  

Artists can continue to apply to the Maine Artists Relief Fund by creating an account (if you do not already have one) in the Maine Arts Commission Grants Management System.

ArtsEngageME is also accepting donations. Donations to the Maine Artist Relief Fund are made through ArtEngageME's Annual Fund.

For the most up to date news, please continue to visit the Arts Resources Page at www.MaineArts.com.

For general questions please contact  Julie Richard, Executive Director, julie.richard@maine.gov or 207/287-2710 or Kerstin Gilg, Director of Grants and Accessibility, at kerstin.gilg@maine.gov or 207/ 287-6719. 

Help by Discipline:

Interim Media & Performing Arts Director
Meg Fournier: 287-2713 | megan.b.fournier@maine.gov

Visual Arts Director
Julie Horn: 287-2790 | julie.horn@maine.gov

Arts Education Director 
Martha Piscuskas: 287-2750 | martha.piscuskas@maine.gov

Traditional Arts Specialist
Kathleen Mundell: 236-6741 | culturalresources2001@gmail.com


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Julie Richard

193 State Street
SHS 25
Augusta  ME  04333