Monroe County invites arts groups to apply for $900,000 in grants 

click to enlarge The Borinquen Dance Theatre is among the small and mid-sized arts groups that would be eligible for funding grants from Monroe County.

FILE PHOTO

The Borinquen Dance Theatre is among the small and mid-sized arts groups that would be eligible for funding grants from Monroe County.

Monroe County on Monday invited small and mid-sized arts groups to apply for grants from the county through an online portal, and announced that eligibility requirements have been expanded.

The portal launched last year, but has since been revamped to accept applications from groups with annual operating budgets from as small as $50,000 to as large as $4 million. The portal previously limited applicants to those with budgets between $100,000 and $1.5 million.

For decades, most small and mid-sized arts groups in Monroe County were shut out of what little public funding was available to them. But the administration of County Executive Adam Bello began opening the coffers following a coordinated outcry from artists and media reports that showed the county lagging far behind peer counties when it came to arts funding.

Previously, Monroe County set aside $45,000 annually for small arts groups. That typically meant 11 organizations got anywhere from $2,500 to $5,500.

The recipients were almost always the same from year to year, and groups that did not receive funding often complained that the process lacked transparency.

Last year, the county set aside $500,000 for the organizations. This year, the county expanded that pie to $900,000.

It was not clear, however, whether there was a limit on how much each organization could receive. County officials did not immediately return an email seeking clarity on the matter.

“Monroe County continues to increase investments in our creative economy,” Bello said in a statement that highlighted the growth in funding for arts organizations under his administration.

“This unprecedented investment helps stabilize organizations, and impact the quality of life of our residents by ensuring that we remain a community of the arts,” the statement read.

To be eligible for funding, an arts group must be a registered nonprofit and maintain a physical location in Monroe County.

The county is offering a virtual training session for arts organizations interested in applying. The session is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Aug. 7. Organizations can register in advance online at monroecounty.gov/executive-arts-grant.

The deadline for applying for a grant is Sept. 5.
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