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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 kmurray@orangecountync.gov.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.