If Plato and Aristotle were right about art imitating life, then 2020 has been a rough and tumble year of uncertainty in the arts. COVID-19 has endangered both the lives and the livelihoods of artists, and planned events and creative collaborations have been postponed or cancelled. Social distancing has made it difficult or virtually impossible to interact with audiences. Galleries and music venues have been shuttered, some of them permanently.
To provide much-needed support, the North Carolina Arts Council, in collaboration with local arts councils, has established the North Carolina Arts Council Artist Support Grant (ASG). The special one-year regional grant program’s goal is to support artists during and following the pandemic. The grant awards will range from $500 to $1,000, and stipulations for how they may be used have been adjusted to make them especially flexible and relevant.
Typically, such grants are tied to a specific art project. But these can be used in a variety of ways, such as helping artists explore new ways to reach their audiences or generate online sales. As Leigh M. Forrester, executive director of the Haywood County Arts Council, explains, “They are intended to provide artists with as few complications as possible. Essentially, these grants should all help individual artists build on their careers, further their skills, or improve their business models. Fifty percent of the grant can actually be used just for artist fees. In a sense, artists can pay themselves up to half of the grant amount provided to them.”
The other 50 percent may be used to complete and present new work, to purchase supplies and equipment for an exhibit, or to rent space or launch a website. Artists in all disciplines are eligible to apply for the grants, including performance artists and musicians, filmmakers, dancers, playwrights, visual artists, and crafters.
The Artist Support Grants will support initiatives from November 2020 to June 30, 2021, and applications must be submitted by 5pm on September 30, 2020, 5pm. Both individual artists and small, unincorporated groups of collaborating artists are eligible to apply. The Haywood County Arts Council will distribute grants within the region of Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Polk, Rutherford, and Transylvania counties.
For more information or to apply for an Artist Support Grant, visit: ashevillearts.com/services-for-creatives/grants/ . Applications must be completed and submitted online or mailed or hand-delivered to Haywood County Arts Council, Attn: Artist Support Grant, P.O. Box 306, Waynesville, NC, 28786 by Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, at 5pm.