The Orange County Arts Commission serves as a clearinghouse for arts information, facilitator of arts programs and advisor to the Orange County Board of County Commissioners regarding the arts. We have been the Designated County Partner (DCP) of the North Carolina Arts Council in Orange County since 1985 and are responsible for sub-granting state and county funds to arts organizations, schools and artists throughout the county. Our mission is to promote and strengthen the artistic and cultural development of Orange County, North Carolina.

In order to submit an application or register, you need to first create a Submittable account.  If you need assistance, please contact Katie Murray at or 919-245-2335. 

The North Carolina General Assembly designated $9.4 million federal CARES Act funds for arts councils and arts organizations to mitigate business disruptions caused by COVID-19. As a result, the Orange County Arts Commission (OCAC), as the Designated County Partner with the NC Arts Council, will be distributing $166,510 in grants to the local arts community.

The application period for Orange County organizations will be Monday, October 12 through Friday, October 30, 2020.

Eligibility for Application

The primary purpose of the NC CARES for the Arts program is to assist the nonprofit arts industry that has been severely impacted by the pandemic. Therefore, nonprofit arts organizations will receive funding priority. However, we also invite other organizations and businesses to apply, particularly those whose operations have a high impact in our community through employment, tourism, or services offered to county residents or artists. 

The following groups are eligible to apply for funding. All applicants must be located in Orange County, NC.

  • 501(c)3 nonprofit arts organizations
  • Community or cultural-based 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations whose arts-related programming expense equals or exceeds 25% of the organization's total budget
  • Businesses whose primary operations are in the visual, performing, or literary arts (including individual artists' businesses*)
  • Unincorporated arts groups or LLC's

*Individual artists may want to consider other grant programs that may be more suitable for their needs.  The Artist Support Grant and Emerging Artist Grant provide funds for artistic and professional development.  The Orange County Arts Support Fund provides grants for essentials such as groceries, rent/mortgage, and healthcare. A fourth round of relief grants will open in early November.

Eligible Expenses

North Carolina CARES for Arts grants are intended to offset business disruption and/or expenses incurred due to COVID-19 between March 1, 2020, and December 30, 2020.

The following expenses can be considered: paid salaries and benefits (including contractors), on-going operating expenses, costs associated with canceling programs and creating virtual programs, and COVID-related safety and cleaning measures. Applicants must provide documentation as evidence for expenses. Documents such as receipts, bill/invoices, monthly financial statements, and payroll ledgers will be considered. Expenses incurred between time of application and December 30 are an estimate; documentation may be required.

Revenue losses are not considered for mitigation in this grant program. 

North Carolina CARES for Arts funding cannot reimburse expenses already paid for by other federal relief funds such as PPP loans, direct grants from the NEA, and stimulus grants issued by the North Carolina Arts Council or other local/state government bodies.

Awards and Reporting

Grant amounts will vary depending on the size of the business interruption claim, the number of eligible applications received and funding availability.

As funds are meant to reimburse expenses incurred between March and December, NC CARES for Arts grant awards can be used towards the ongoing operations and programming of grantee and do not require a match. If a grant is issued, documentation of expenses will be required prior to funds being dispersed. Grantees will be required to submit monthly expense reports for the October, November and December 2020 period documenting expenditures.

For questions or more information, contact Katie Murray at 919.245.2335 or email

The Eno Mill Artist Studios are a 3,000 square-foot working space at the historic Eno Mill in the West Hillsborough neighborhood. All studios include 24/7 access (workspace only), wifi, utilities, opportunities to exhibit work, communal gathering and workspace, and access to a loading dock and restrooms. The space is on the first floor of the mill.

Applications are accepted from artists, designers, and craftspeople looking to further their professional careers through dedicated studio practice. Priority will be given to artists of color, as the OCAC wishes to elevate all voices within the arts community. Studios will be awarded based on criteria listed below by a panel of OCAC Advisory Board Members as well as community artists. Applications are kept on file for review if vacancies become available.

The OCAC is looking for creatives who:

  • Are community-minded and will benefit from a co-working, semiprivate studio environment
  • Display commitment to their craft through an existing body of work
  • Create original work
  • Are willing to participate in monthly public events, such as Last Friday Art Walk. The space will not be open to the general public other than during special events and by appointment with studio tenants.

Tenant Selection Considerations

  • Will this person’s practice work within the space available? 
  • The OCAC seeks to represent a variety of artistic disciplines.
  • The OCAC seeks to include artists of varying levels in their career.
  • Does this person already have a place to work?
  • Will this person use the space regularly? Will they participate in open studios and other public events?

Important Information

  • Filling out an application does not guarantee studio space.
  • The Mill Studios are work only, we do not provide live-work spaces (however this is a possibility in coming years).
  • A security deposit of one month’s rent plus first month’s rent, which may be pro-rated, are due at lease signing.
  • To ensure the safety and security of all tenants, accepted tenants must be willing to undergo a criminal background check.
  • All tenants must hold a minimum $1M general liability policy showing Orange County and Hedgehog Holdings as additional insured. You can anticipate this costing between $200-$500 per year, or approximately $20-$50 per month. Certificate of Insurance must be on file before keys are given. 
  • Tenants are required to sign a one-year lease which may be renewed annually for up to three years. 
  • Most studios do not have access to natural light, however interior lighting has been installed which mimics natural light (5,000 kelvins).
  • Equipment or materials that produce excessive fumes requiring special ventilation, smoke, fire, excessive dust, noise, or permanent damage to the facilities are not appropriate for this space. Preservatives/solvents including turpentine, ammonia, sodium fluoride, phenol or mercury compounds, as well as spray paint/spray fixative and dry pigments are not allowed. Only low-odor or odor-free mineral spirits are allowed. All solvent-soaked rags must be placed in a self-closing waste disposal can and emptied on a regular basis.
  • Tenants must possess awareness of the health, safety, and hospitable working environment of other artist tenants and a respect for the upkeep and preservation of the facilities. This includes but is not limited to noise pollution (eg: loud equipment and music), use of toxic materials, and the use and proper disposal of studio waste (eg: solvent soaked rags, hot wax, turpentine, acetone, etc) and keeping common areas clean. Artists will also avoid unsolicited critiques and only offer feedback when asked.
  •  Allowance of pets is to be determined by selected artist group. All artists must agree to the presence of pets, otherwise, they will not be allowed.
  • A 30% commission will be collected by the OCAC for work sold in public exhibit spaces.

Available Studios (see map here)

Studios 1, 2, 5, 6, & 7 (identical):

  • 108 square feet
  • Private, lockable door
  • Natural daylight bulbs
  • Studio door opens into the suite
  • $275 

Studios 10 & 11:

  • 189 square feet
  • Private, lockable door
  • Natural daylight bulbs + some natural light
  • $400 (2 people max)

Please note: this is not a grant application. This is a report form for prior grantees of the arts commission.  For current grant opportunities, please visit 

All reports are due by Monday, July 13, 2020, by midnight, unless your program/project has been delayed due to COVID-19 (please refer to the email sent on March 25, 2020 for further instructions). Reports must be received by the due date in order to be eligible for future grant opportunities. Organizations receiving more than one grant must submit a separate report for each grant received.  

Orange County Arts Commission