Keep Your Eyes Open For NEA American Rescue Plan Grant Webinars

While everyone is waiting for their Shuttered Venue Operating Grant (SVOG) application to be processed, you should be taking a look at the National Endowment for the Arts American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding. The NEA just held a webinar today about it, but most states and regional arts organizations are having one for their members. Americans for the Arts is having one on July 6.

In a nutshell, the reason why you want to apply for this is because there are far fewer restrictions than usual on the program. The only broad categories that they won’t fund are capital improvements and project grants. Usually all they fund are projects. They still don’t provide funding to individual artists.

They will pay for operational costs like salaries and non-capital equipment.  You can apply even if you have an SVOG grant pending or have received funding from other programs like PPP or EIDL.  You just can’t apply for reimbursement of the same expenses covered by another program. So if other funding covers salaries until December 31, you would need to apply salaries from January 1 onward to the ARP grant. The funding can be applied across two years which allows some time to regain momentum lost during Covid.

They have a PDF prepared with all the information you will be expected to provide. Note that everyone has the deadline of August 12, 2021 to submit a short form application on, but then organizations whose legal identity begins with A-L will apply through the separate NEA applicant portal August 19-25 and those with names beginning M-Z will apply August 27-September 2.

My guess is that they are trying to avoid a lot of the snafus which plagued the SVOG program.

Take a look at the information and find a webinar to attend. As you might imagine there is a ton of interest in these programs. I received an email about 2-3 hours before the webinar started that they had reached capacity with registrations and keep trying to get in if you are initially blocked so I queued up 20 minutes early in the hopes of being admitted.

Arts Incubators Can Offer A Different Type of Education

An article from Oregon Arts Watch about an arts incubator program, Tulatin Valley Creates  rolled across my feed this week. The article inevitably talked about how the program helped artists apply for Covid relief from various entities across the span of the last year.

What I was interested to see was artists talking about how participation in the incubator helped them re-evaluate their work and employ a new approach.

Julian Saporiti who graduated from Berklee School of Music drew a distinction between the training received in degree programs and in the incubator:

“That’s different from education programs that focus on individual virtuosity,” he says. “The incubator classes were very much emboldening participants, with the aim being to spread that collaborative approach to the rest of the community.”

One artist, Emily Miller, said that conversations in the incubator lead her to broaden her approach.

“What I realized during the incubator and looking at it from different perspectives is that I had to keep redirecting conversations away from the same narrative we hear about ocean plastic — whose fault is it? How can we solve it? The incubator helped me get from that point to, ‘OK we understand this problem — now where are we going?’ I want people to focus on creative transformation, and how they can apply it in their own lives — even if they have nothing to do with ocean plastic.” The changes she’s making as a result broaden her project’s relevance to more people.”

Another participant, Jamie Cromier, went in planning to open a gallery but her thinking evolved after recognizing a number of factors:

“…she decided instead to partner with people in the community who were already working in that area, and to focus instead on what she was passionate about: not the administrative work of founding and running a gallery (while raising three children), but instead helping them make art that served mental health. She wound up creating art boxes that would go out to people with mental health issues who could use them to create art.”

I appreciated the fact that the incubator program has a process which is helping people think and reflect on their plans and practice. Hopefully there are other programs out there having similar outcomes.

Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program Opens April 8

If you have been looking at the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program information page as I have suggested, you may have seen it says the applications will open in early April,

However, there is a new button on that page that takes you to the application portal which informs you things are scheduled to kick off on April 8. You can sign up there to get additional notifications.



If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to register for a DUNS number (or research what your number is), register for SAM.GOV, and check out any webinars your state arts council, state small business administration resource or trade/discipline service organization may be offering.

There are FAQs and Checklists on the Small Business Administration webpage, but you are gonna have questions.

SVOG Program Updates Coming Fast Now

While I am pretty sure people are following the developments of the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program pretty closely and are probably getting regular updates from their state and industry service organizations, I figure it doesn’t hurt to put reminders and updates out there myself.

Especially since all the updates I have been getting from service organizations haven’t pointed out some important distinctions between the FAQs the Small Business Administration is putting out on a weekly basis now. (Likewise, assume I am not pointing out the distinctions that are important to you and read through them!)

For example, about a week or two ago they started posting check lists of materials you should be collecting in advance of the opening of the application period which appears to be on track to happen in early April. The latest version of the check list can be found here, but since they are updating between Thursdays-Sundays, if you are reading this after March 18 you are better off going to the main page.

The same goes with the regular FAQ document. The passage of the American Rescue Plan has caused sections of the FAQ to be removed in the March 12 version.

For example, the March 5 version had this question:

6.Can an entity apply for a PPP loan now and decide later on the loan if it did not receive an SVOG? At what stage is a PPP loan considered “received”?

but it is now replaced with:

6.*No longer relevant / deleted per the American Rescue Plan being signed into law.

Though if you scroll down, you will see a couple new points of information have been added to that section which address PPP loans and SVOG funding:

21.*How will receiving a PPP loan affect an eligible entity’s SVOG award?

22.*If a portion of my PPP loan was forgiven, will that affect how much of the loan amount is deducted from my SVOG?

As before, anything that has been updated since the last FAQ has an asterisk. But you should through everything thoroughly in case you missed an update.

Among the latest updates are answers to questions about whether the payout will be lump sum or multiple payments. Answer – it depends on a number of factors. See page 16

Should you use fiscal year 2019 or calendar year 2019? – You can use either, but if you apply for the supplemental funding phase you need to use the same time frame.

There was also a new entry answering questions about whether sponsorships should be counted as earned revenue since donations are not counted as such. The answer is different for commercial and non-profit performing arts entities:

Because it represents payment made in exchange for a service (i.e., recognition or advertising), sponsorship payments (such as naming rights) received by for-profit entities will be considered earned revenue. Like the treatment afforded memberships and fundraising events, sponsorship payments received by non-profits will be considered part earned revenue and part gross revenue. In such cases, the sponsorship payment amount a non-profit receives that represents a fair market value for services in exchange (i.e. promotion, free admission, use of facilities) will be deemed earned revenue and the portion of the sponsorship payment that exceeds that amount will be deemed a contribution and thus gross revenue…