Grants given to support county organizations
The Grassroots Arts Program has been central to helping the Union County Arts Community Council meet its mission—to serve the people of Union County by promoting the arts as an essential component of community life. Founded in 1980 by a group who county life could be greatly enhanced by an arts organization whose primary purpose was to serve as a cultural planner, the GAP has been in place for 30 of the group’s 31 years.
Each year, the Council uses GAP to fund several arts organizations and programs throughout the county. Last year, seven organizations received funding: the Union Symphony Society, Union County Youth Ballet, Union County Performance Ensemble, Learn With Laughter, the Union Chorale, the Storefront Theater and The Very Special Arts Festival.
Although the application has strict guidelines, the Council is always willing and eager to help groups through the process. “We even offer resources to help determine if a project meets the criteria or not,” explained Executive Director Barbara Faulk.
As in years past, applicants must operate on a non-profit basis, and selections are based on an organization or individual’s organizational strength, financial stability including their ability to meet the required match dollar for dollar, the project’s merit, ability to serve the broad-based community—particularly traditionally underserved populations— while potentially broadening the community’s understanding and appreciation for the art form.
“It’s a very strong program that gives strong support to diverse art groups,” Faulk said. “Grants are awarded after a committee of residents and board members carefully reviews each application,” Faulk says. Funds for these grants come from the NC Department of Cultural Resources, along with private fundraising efforts. Although the state has reduced funding this year due to budget cuts, Faulk does not anticipate it will be enough to significantly impact recipients.
While grant amounts differ based on a project’s specificity, and groups can’t expect yearly funding, grant goals remain the same: to increase public awareness of the arts, provide leadership in coordinating and channeling this awareness and help create a climate where artists can grow.
Faulk encourages applicants to discuss submissions with her well in advance of the August 25 deadline. GAP details and the online applications are available at www.unionarts.com. The review committee will announce recipients no later than the end of September.
About the Council
The Union County Community Arts Council is a leading NC arts organization, and partners with UCPS, businesses and individuals to promote the arts and create community-wide awareness. According to its website, the group has helped provide arts in education to over 38,000 UCPS students, supported programs for elderly and handicapped citizens, summer programs in area daycares, and even public exhibits to showcase local artists.