Montgomery County Grant Program Increases Support for Local Arts and Culture

In its third year, a local grant program is increasing funding, removing barriers, and providing new opportunities for professional development for the arts and cultural industry.

The Special Projects Grant program, which is funded by the Montgomery County Arts & Cultural District (MCACD) and administered by Culture Works, provides grants of up to $10,000 to Montgomery County nonprofits, schools, universities, and government entities to produce arts and cultural projects. The MCACD, with support from the Board of County Commissioners, committed $150,000 to the program in 2020 and $166,000 in 2021. For the 2022 cycle, which launches February 9th, they have increased the available funding to $250,000.

Additionally, this year’s cycle will offer support to a greater variety of projects. In past cycles, grants have supported community festivals, performances, exhibitions, public art works, and artist residencies in local schools. New in 2022, arts and cultural organizations will also be able to apply for funding for capacity building projects that enhance their ability to carry out their missions. Examples of potential capacity building projects include strategic planning initiatives, professional development training opportunities for staff and board members, marketing plan and website development, and market research efforts.

”It is a priority for MCACD to support the diversity and breadth of arts and cultural programming across the county,” said MCACD Executive Director Matt Dunn. “We are happy to provide funding, but we also recognize support can be offered in other ways, particularly for organizations with limited capacity.”

As part of their commitment to equity, the MCACD and Culture Works will also provide additional guidance to applicants, particularly newer and smaller organizations. During the application period, Culture Works will host several virtual grant writing workshops focused on specific application components. Small nonprofits will also have the opportunity to receive free one-on-one consultation with a professional grant writer to receive feedback on their applications prior to submitting. Lastly, small to mid-sized organizations will no longer be required to secure matching funding for repeat projects.

“We recognize the challenge many organizations face who do not have a professional grant writer on staff,” said Culture Works President & CEO Lisa Hanson. “We want to remove funding barriers for the many emerging organizations that are creating amazing arts experiences in our community, and we’re grateful to have such a strong and dedicated partner supporting these efforts in Montgomery County.”

Organizations interested in applying are encouraged to attend a free virtual info session on February 9th at noon. Details about the info session, as well as the full grant guidelines, will be posted to cultureworks.org.

To apply for a Special Projects Grant:

  1. Applicants are encouraged to attend a free, virtual grant info session on Wednesday, February 9, 2022 at noon. Details and a link to register will be posted at cultureworks.org.
  2. All organizations must submit an online Intent to Apply form by March 4, 2022 indicating the proposed activities, the amount requested, and their nonprofit status. The form will be available at cultureworks.org starting February 9, 2022. Culture Works and the MCACD will review all Intent to Apply forms for eligibility.
  3. In March, eligible organizations will receive an invitation to complete the online grant application. The deadline for submission will be April 27, 2022.

An independent panel of arts administrators, artists, and other community leaders will review applications and evaluate each proposed project’s artistic quality and community impact, as well as the administrative capability of the applicant organization. Funding decisions will be made during a virtual public panel meeting in late June.

Full eligibility requirements, guidelines, and the intent to apply form for the Special Projects Grant program will be shared via the Culture Works website at cultureworks.org/apply-for-funding/#special-projects.

For more information about grant opportunities available through Culture Works, visit cultureworks.org or contact Karen Maner, Grants Manager, at kmaner@cultureworks.org.