Vermont receives $606,000 in arts grants, highest percentage in nation

Posted August 5, 2009

Governor Jim Douglas announced today that 42 Vermont arts organizations have been awarded funding totaling $606,000 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

These grants will help preserve jobs in Vermont’s nonprofit arts sector that have been threatened by declines in philanthropic and other support during the current economic downturn.

“The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is designed to jumpstart the economy, create and protect jobs, and invest in key priorities,” said Governor Douglas. “Like other jobs, arts jobs help individuals and families pay household expenses, put children through college and achieve financial stability.”
 
Through ARRA, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) received $50 million to help restore and preserve jobs in the nonprofit arts sector. As partners of the NEA, state arts agencies and regional arts organizations like the New England Foundation for the Arts, played an important role in advancing the goals of this program. 40 percent of the $50 million was distributed directly to the state and regional arts organizations.
 
The Vermont Arts Council received $250,000 to support and preserve jobs in Vermont’s non-profit arts sector. Some arts organizations were eligible to apply directly to the NEA and/or to the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA) for this funding. If approved by one or more grant-maker, the applicant had to choose one. Sixteen Vermont Arts organizations were eligible to apply directly to the NEA. Of these, eight were funded for a total of $341,000. Vermont and Iowa ranked highest in the percentage of applicants funded at 50 percent, though Iowa only had eight applications. Two Vermont organizations applied directly to NEFA and one was funded for $15,000.
 
“Non-profit arts organizations contribute to economic revitalization not only by employing workers, but also by stimulating commerce, enhancing property values, generating tax revenues and helping communities retain their vibrancy. As of January 2009, Vermont’s cultural sector included more than 2,150 arts-related businesses employing at least 6,780 people, and these grants will help this important segment of our economy weather this recession,” Douglas continued.
 
This year we have employed more than 75 artists from Lamoille County, paid thousands of dollars in payroll taxes while providing after school, elder and day care arts programs - as well as festivals and shows. We've worked with college interns, folks doing community service, Reach Up and vocational training,” said Steve Ames, Executive Director River Arts in Morrisville. This grant allows us to rehire a program director and leverage that position to hire many more artists to deliver arts programming in Lamoille County. It will keep our mission to Enrich the Community through the Arts alive and well.”
“The Stimulus funds enable us to continue staff and programs at current levels and to add back an important artist residency. Both are hugely important to Burlington’s downtown economy and the quality of life of the region,” said Andrea Rogers, Executive Director and CEO, Flynn Theater, Burlington
 
The Arts Council created Art Jobs, a competitive grant program to help the state’s arts community weather the immediate economic storm while continuing to fulfill artistic and public service goals. Non-profit arts organizations were invited to apply for one-time grants to support staff salaries, as well as artist or consultant fees. Organizations with annual operating budgets under $150,000 could apply for up to $5,000, and those with budgets of $150,000 or more could apply for up to $10,000. The Council received 92 applications totaling $729,650 in requests.
 
Source: Governor's office. Aug, 5, 2009