City of Madison will distribute funds to local artists and non-profits

Artists and non-profit organizations in the Madison area can now apply for Madison Arts Commission (MAC) grants valued up to $3,000.

The grants are intended to help local individuals and organizations fund educational programs, fine art exhibitions, performances and events that positively contribute to Madison’s arts and culture. Each person or group is limited to one grant application per year, and the deadline to apply is Thursday, March 15.

In 2016-2017, 57 grants were awarded to a  variety of enrichment programs. MAC offers Project Grants, Arts Education Grants, Legacy Grants and Individual Artist Fellowship Awards. Each grant has  specific criteria  to be considered; however, artistic merit, as well as a focus on equity and access, are regarded in all categories, according to Karin Wolf, Arts Program Administrator.

“The Madison Arts Commission mission is to really make the arts a part of the everyday life of every Madisonian,”  Wolf said. “If an arts group presents a grant [proposal] that says…‘I’m working in a neighborhood where there are no other resources,’ or ‘I’m working with a demographic of people that don’t have a lot of access to the arts,’ they’re more likely to receive this acknowledgment from the Arts Commission.”

Disability Pride Madison, an annual festival that seeks to encourage and inspire people with all abilities, has received a MAC Project Grant for the past five years. Kate Moran, Disability Pride’s Chair of the Board, said the grants have not only helped with event costs—but have also validated their work and helped the festival gain additional funding by publicly supporting their efforts.

“Once the Arts Commission had decided that we were good enough to get a grant, other people were willing to jump on board,” said Moran.

Wolf, too, said that the governmental endorsement is often equally as beneficial as the funds received. However, she emphasized the benefits for all involved.

“I live in Madison because of the quality of life here, and a healthy arts community contributes greatly to that,” said Wolf. “It’s part of…making Madison the place that it is—[a place] that people want to live in.”

MAC encourages new artists and programs to apply, and they offer grant writing assistance to anyone new to the process. On February 9, a grant writing workshop will be held at Madison Central Library, and one-on-one assistance will be offered on March 8 and 10.


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