North Carolina General Statute Section 160A-488 authorizes local governments to establish and support arts programs and facilities; and, to appropriate funds to any governmental agency, public or nonprofit private association, corporation, or organization for the purpose of establishing and supporting such arts programs and facilities. For purposes of 160A-488 “arts” refers to the performing arts, visual arts, and literary arts and includes dance, drama, music, painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, crafts, photography, film, video, architecture, design, and literature, when part of a performing, visual or literary arts program.
Pursuant to the authority granted in Section 160A-488 the City Council of the City of Gastonia has established the Gastonia Arts Committee Grant Program. The Arts Committee Grant Program will provide grant funding to eligible nonprofit organizations for the support of qualifying arts programs. The goals of the Arts Committee Grant Program are to promote and provide expanded public access to quality arts programs, promote diversity in the arts and produce economic development and tourism for the citizens of the City of Gastonia.
Timeline for 2023 grant process
- Open the Call for Grant Proposals- August 2023
- Receive applications- August 2023 to September 15, 2023
- Judge applications- October 2023
- Notify Recipients- November 2023
- Receive signed contracts- November 2023
- Mid-Term report due- July 15, 2024
- Final report due- December 15, 2024
Grant Amounts to be Offered this 2023 Cycle
• The grant awards will range from $1,000 to $10,000.
Grant amounts for future years will be in accordance with the grant funding appropriated by City Council in future City budgets.
Any arts organization with 501(c)(3) status under the United States Internal Revenue Code, which maintains a permanent office, practice/performance space, or physical address within the municipal boundaries of the City of Gastonia.
North Carolina General Statute Section160A-488 refers to “arts” to include the performing arts, visual arts, and literary arts and includes dance, drama, music, painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, crafts, photography, film, video, architecture, design, and literature, when part of a performing, visual or literary arts program.
Organizations and programs that already receive funding from the City of Gastonia are not eligible to apply for grant funding through the Gastonia Arts Committee Grant Program.
Qualifications for Grant Funding
Funding for arts programming and projects will be given priority. Funding for operational costs, facility renovations, or the salary of those directly involved in implementing programming may also be considered. Funding will not be provided for any indirect costs such as building rent, on- going operating costs (i.e., utilities). While funding can be used for salaries of those directly serving the program’s goal(s), funding will not be provided for employee benefits (i.e., FICA).
Funding may be provided for programming that accomplishes any of the following:
- that will be available to and directly impact the citizens of the City of Gastonia by promoting or producing public visual art, performing arts, art education, recreational, entertainment and cultural opportunities.
- that encourages school success.
- that encourages opportunities for therapeutic arts for citizens with mental and physical disabilities.
- that promotes diversity in the arts.
- that produces economic development and tourism within the City of Gastonia.
Process for Choosing Grant Recipients
Applicants for grants must submit a complete application online through the City of Gastonia web site. To be considered applicants must supply all information requested in the online application together with any supplemental information requested by the Arts Grant Sub- Committee. The Grant Sub-Committee will review each grant application and remove any application that is not complete or otherwise does not meet the qualifications. The remaining grants will be graded by the Grant Sub-Committee using the rubric set out below. The grant applications with the highest scores will be presented as a slate for a vote before the City Arts Committee to be recommended to City Council for approval.
Sample Grant Scoring Rubric
- Review all grant application materials
- Review scoring descriptions and grant criteria
- Score the grant application using the scoring worksheets
- Evidence for meeting the criteria may be found in any portion of an application or associated support materials.
Exceptional: The applicant has provided overwhelming evidence throughout the application that demonstrates that all of the funding criteria are met. The plans are clear, well-articulated and appropriate. The budget is realistic, comprehensive, and carefully aligned with the narrative. The support materials are of the highest quality, highly relevant, and lead to a deeper understanding of the organization and its work.
Strong: The applicant has provided clear evidence throughout the application that demonstrates that funding criteria are met. The plans are clear, well-articulated and appropriate. The budget is realistic, comprehensive, and carefully aligned with the narrative. The support materials are of the highest quality, highly relevant, and lead to a deeper understanding of the organization and its work.
Good: The applicant has provided sufficient evidence throughout the application that demonstrates that the most crucial criteria are met. The plans are clear and appropriate but are not well-expressed. The budget is realistic and reasonably aligned with the narrative. The support materials are of average quality and relevance.
Fair: The applicant has provided limited evidence through the application that demonstrated that the criteria are met. The plans are appropriate but with limited detail. The budget has limited detail and is not w ell-aligned with the narrative. The support materials are limited and/or uneven in quality.
Poor: The applicant provided very limited evidence in the application that demonstrates that the criteria are met. The plans lack detail and are hard to understand. The budget is unrealistic and poorly aligned with the narrative. The support materials are insufficient and/or of poor quality.
Scoring Point System:
Public Access & Community Engagement: 45 points
The Arts Committee defines public access & community engagement as an organization’s ability to reach diverse audiences across a wide range of the community providing both a public benefit and public access.
Accessible and Outward Looking Philosophy Maximum 15 points
- Project will create cultural equity and access by engaging a diverse range of voices and participants within the City of Gastonia including people with disabilities.
- Project has been thoughtfully planned and included a wide range of voices in the planning process
Benefits and Value for the Community Maximum 15 points
- The community that the project will serve has been clearly defined.
- Specific outcomes for the project are clearly stated and attainable
Partnerships and Collaborations Maximum 15 points
• Meaningful collaborations and partnerships have been formed in the project development that will continue throughout implementation.
Artistic & Cultural Vibrancy Maximum 35 points
• The Arts Committee defines artistic and cultural vibrancy as an organization’s ability to create quality, mission-driven work that inspires and challenges the community.
Project Planning Maximum 20 points
- Project will create pathways for supporting rural and underserved communities and diverse citizens of the City of Gastonia by leveraging existing or new cultural assets
- Project will provide quality arts and culture experiences that are relevant for the targeted participants
Create Value Maximum 15 points
- Clear goals and objectives have been established for the project
- The planning process demonstrates a reasonable timetable to complete the project.
Organizational Capacity Maximum 20 points
• The Arts Committee defines organizational capacity as an organization’s ability to manage effectively for today and tomorrow.
Administrative Oversight Maximum 10 points
• Administrative and artistic staff is qualified to implement the project and ensure its success.
Financial Oversight Maximum 10 Points
- The budget is reasonable and will support full implementation of the project
- Appropriate financial and other resources have been or will be secured to support the project
- Appropriate financial record keeping, and accounting systems are in place for the project
Organizations will be notified by e-mail of grant awards during the month of November. Organizations that did not receive grant funds will also be notified, by e-mail, during the month of November.
Grant Project Reports and Compliance Assurance
Grant funds may only be used for the qualified purposes approved by the City Arts Committee in the grant award notice. An organization awarded a grant is required to submit a mid-term grant report to the City Arts Committee by the July 15th deadline. A final grant report must be returned to the City Arts Committee by the December 15th deadline. Grant reports must provide a complete accounting with supporting receipts or other documentation satisfactory to the City Arts Committee clearly documenting the purposes for which all grant funds were spent. Failure to return completed grant reports by the required deadline can result in suspension or termination of the grant award, and/or legal action to recover the funds by the City Arts Committee. By signing and submitting its application form, the Applicant certifies that it will maintain records and submit the reports that are necessary to determine completion of the grant project as approved. The City Arts Committee may conduct a review of the Applicant’s organization to ensure that it is in compliance with the terms of the grant award. If the City Arts Committee determines that a grantee has failed to comply with these terms, it may suspend or terminate the award, and/or recover all funds awarded.
Changes to Programs and Projects After Grant Award
Applicants must notify the City Arts Committee immediately of any significant changes in their program or project that occur after submission of their application. If the program or project or the organization's capacity changes significantly before an award is made, the City Arts Committee may revise or withdraw the funding recommendation. Grantees are expected to carry out a program or project that is consistent with the proposal that was approved for funding by the City Arts Committee. If changes in the program or project are required after the grant funding, the grantee must submit a written request with justification for the change(s) to the City Arts Committee and obtain approval of the change. Approval is not guaranteed, and grant funds must be returned to the City Arts Committee should the Applicant choose to proceed with the changes without City Arts Committee approval.
Disbursement of Grant Funds
If funding is awarded, the City Arts Committee will send the applicant a contract for the funding year. Monies will not be released until signed contracts are returned. Funds will be distributed at the beginning of the grant cycle established by the City Arts Committee.