Heart shaped sculpture with a building and sky painted on it in front of a brick building
Sculpture in the Bel Air A&E District

Arts Relief Funding

In June 2022, the Council and Secretary of Commerce, Mike Gill, approved a plan to distribute Arts Relief funding equitably across Maryland’s arts sector with the aim of providing economic stability as we continue to navigate the effects of the COVID pandemic. The plan includes a mix of increased general operating support for organizations, additional project funding to be distributed through MSAC’s existing grant programs, and funds to pilot a new grant program that will support working and living expenses of Maryland artists. 

MSAC staff and council members held a special Coffee with the Council session  on July 19th where they reviewed the different components of the plan, answered questions about accessing Arts Relief funding, and engaged in discussion about what the sector is facing in the coming year. To view the presentation, click here.

Arts Relief funding comes on top of record funding for MSAC of $28.9 million, for a total of $68.9 million in State support for the arts! We are excited to see what an investment of this magnitude can do for the arts in Maryland, and we encourage you to take advantage of every opportunity offered in the coming year.

To stay updated on specific program updates, click here. Please also check our newsletters, eblasts, and social media for additional announcements over the next year about available funding.

See below for an FAQ. 

  • $21.5 million in additional general operating support will be distributed in the first half of FY23 to grantees already approved for grants through the Grants for Organizations, County Arts Development, Folklife Network, and Art & Entertainment Districts grant programs. Arts Relief funds may be used for general operating expenses as well as debt servicing and contributions to endowments or reserves to support economic stability of Maryland’s arts organizations and arts programs. Additional funds will be made available for FY24 in spring 2023. Grantees can look for more information from their program directors for details about uses and accessing Arts Relief funds.
  • $1.5 million will be made available to organizations approved for FY23 Creativity Grants for General Operating Support. Organizations with operating budgets under $50,000 or not receiving an FY23 GFO grant are encouraged to apply for Creativity Grant funding to be eligible for this Arts Relief funding. 
  • $2.1 million in additional funding will be made available through existing grant programs, increasing the total available funding and raising maximum grant amounts for several opportunities. 
    • Arts in Education Grants grant maximum raised to $7,500 for FY23
    • Creativity Grants for Projects
    • Folklife Apprenticeships
    • Professional Development Opportunity Grants
    • Public Art Across Maryland Grants grant maximums raised to $10,000 for Planning and $50,000 for New Artworks for FY23
  • $1.2 million will pilot a new Grants for Artists program. Developed through the Artist Employment Initiative process that engaged constituents throughout FY22, the program aims to contribute to the sustainability of artists’ livelihoods by providing funds that support working or living expenses, bolstering a creative workforce that composes a significant portion of Maryland’s economy. More detail will come in fall 2022.
  • $300,000 in additional funding will be made available through the Emergency Grant for Independent Artists grant that has proven invaluable to artists throughout the pandemic and continues to support artists facing emergency situations.  
  • $13.4 million in remaining funds will be allocated to other grants during FY23 or used to provide a second round of additional general operating support funds for FY24 (made available to FY23 as noted above). 

Frequently Asked Questions

The questions below were gathered during MSAC’s “Coffee with the Council” session hosted July 19, 2022, as well as from a follow-up survey open for constituent responses through August 1, 2022. This compilation is intended to help Maryland artists and arts organizations understand the opportunities associated with the Arts Relief funding package, a $40 million supplemental budget allocated to MSAC in FY 2023.

If you have a question that is not answered below, please reach out to the relevant staff member or email msac.commerce@maryland.gov

The state’s 2022 supplemental budget included a $40 million “Arts Relief” funding package allocated to MSAC to support arts grants to existing and new grantees as they navigate the continuing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $40 million in Arts Relief funds is part of the State’s supplemental budget allocated to MSAC for FY 2023 (July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2022). This amount is in addition to MSAC’s regular FY 2023 budget of $28.9 million.

Arts Relief funds have been approved for granting in three categories: Arts Relief funds for projects, Arts Relief general operating support, and Grants for Artists.

Arts Relief funds for projects are currently available in the form of increased grant amounts and increased numbers of grants in the following MSAC programs: Arts in Education Grants, Creativity Grants for Projects, Folklife Apprenticeships, Professional Development Opportunity Grants, and Public Art grants in the New Artworks and Conservation Grants categories.

Arts Relief general operating support will be available to organizations based on FY 2023 grants received in the following MSAC programs: Grants for Organizations, County Arts Development, Arts & Entertainment Districts Operating Support, Folklife Network, and Creativity Grants for General Operating Support. Arts Relief general operating support will be available via supplemental application cycles scheduled to take place in fall 2022 and spring 2023. Further information will be shared with grantees as it becomes available.

Grants for Artists is a new MSAC program supporting the working and living expenses of Maryland artists. It is scheduled to be piloted in winter 2023 using Arts Relief funds. To learn more about Grants for Artists, sign up for one of the informational webinars at marylandartscouncil.eventbrite.com

Yes. Arts Relief general operating support is additional funding to be made available to grantees who have received FY 2023 funding in one of the following programs: Grants for Organizations, County Arts Development, Arts & Entertainment Districts Operating Support, Folklife Network, and Creativity Grants for General Operating Support.

Allowable expenses for Arts Relief general operating support funds mirror the allowable expenses in each eligible program: Grants for Organizations, County Arts Development, Arts & Entertainment Districts Operating Support, Folklife Network, and Creativity Grants for General Operating Support.

In addition, all Arts Relief general operating support funds may be spent on debt servicing, contributions to endowments, and contributions to reserves.

(For Grants for Organizations grantees: Please note that any income associated with FY 2023 Arts Relief general operating support is considered non-allowable income and should be noted as such in financials for any applications or reports associated with the FY 2024 Grants for Organizations cycle.)

For FY 2023 Grants for Organizations grantees, Arts Relief general operating support grant amounts will be calculated using the equitable funding formula described under the “Upcoming Program Changes” heading at https://msac.org/programs/grants-organizations. In short, organizations will be divided into tiers based on budget size. Organizations with smaller budgets will see larger grants relative to budget size than larger organizations.

MSAC has allocated a larger percentage of Arts Relief general operating support—$17 million—to disburse to FY 2023 Grants for Organizations grantees in the first supplemental application cycle. MSAC will hold a smaller percentage of Arts Relief general operating support—approximately $9 million—to disburse to FY 2023 Grants for Organizations grantees in the second supplemental application cycle, which will fund activities occurring in FY 2024. This was determined to be best practice given the large scale of the Grants for Organizations program and size of grants made to organizations. Budget amounts may shift during the year, depending on results of granting in other programs.

For FY 2023 Grants for Organizations grantees, Arts Relief general operating support will be disbursed via two supplemental application cycles: one in fall 2022 and one in spring 2023. These supplemental application cycles will be administered via SmartSimple and will require minimal effort on the applicants’ part, relative to the size and scope of a regular Grants for Organizations application.

Arts Relief general operating support will be disbursed to county arts agencies via two supplemental application cycles: one in fall 2022 and one in spring 2023. These supplemental application cycles will be administered via SmartSimple and will require minimal effort on the applicants’ part, relative to the size and scope of a regular County Arts Development application.

Yes. MSAC staff will be in touch with eligible FY 2023 grantees when Arts Relief general operating support applications become available. In addition, information sessions will be scheduled for each program eligible for Arts Relief general operating support.

Current grantees are encouraged to check their SmartSimple profiles at marylandarts.smartsimple.com to ensure that all information is up to date.

Yes. Please contact the relevant staff member for further information about arranging such a meeting. Guests with further accessibility questions or who require accommodations may fill out the Accommodations Request Form or contact the MSAC Office Secretary at msac.commerce@maryland.gov.

The answer is different for Arts relief funds supporting projects, Grants for Artists, and Arts Relief general operating support. Read the following notes carefully for an explanation.

Arts Relief funds supporting projects are currently available in the form of increased grant amounts and increased numbers of grants in the following MSAC programs: Arts in Education Grants, Creativity Grants for Projects, Folklife Apprenticeships, Professional Development Opportunity Grants, and Public Art grants in the New Artworks and Conservation Grants categories. Arts Relief funds supporting the new Grants for Artists program will be available starting in winter 2023. All funds received through these programs in FY 2023 must be spent or obligated (i.e., budgeted), by the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 2023.

Arts Relief general operating support will be disbursed via supplemental application cycles for the following MSAC programs: Grants for Organizations, County Arts Development, Arts & Entertainment Districts Operating Support, Folklife Network, and Creativity Grants for General Operating Support.

The first supplemental application cycle, scheduled for fall 2022, will require that all funds be spent or obligated (i.e., budgeted) by the end of the fiscal year, June 30, 2023.

The second supplemental application cycle, scheduled for spring 2023, will not be processed until FY 2024. This timeline allows MSAC to fulfill its obligation to spend all Arts Relief funds in FY 2023 while also allowing grantees to use Arts Relief funds for expenses incurred in FY 2024.

No.

MSAC regularly publishes information on recent grantmaking in the “Grants Awarded” section of each individual grant program page on msac.org. In addition, MSAC publishes an Annual Report tracking statewide funding across grant programs and state jurisdictions. The FY 2023 report will be published in fall 2023. The FY 2022 report is in production now. Past reports can be viewed at msac.org/resources/publications.

Organizations with annual budgets of less than $50,000 are encouraged to apply for Creativity Grants for General Operating Support. Grantees awarded in this program prior to February 5, 2023, will be invited to apply for Arts Relief general operating support via a supplemental application cycle.

Yes, Arts Relief funds increase maximum grant awards and/or the number of grants MSAC is able to award in programs that support arts projects. Individual artists may currently apply for Arts Relief funding through the following MSAC programs: Arts in Education Grants, Creativity Grants for Projects, Folklife Apprenticeships, Professional Development Opportunity Grants, and Public Art grants in the New Artworks and Conservation Grants categories. In addition, Arts Relief funds increase the number of Emergency Grants that MSAC is able to award in FY24.

Individual artists may apply for support through the new Grants for Artists program starting in winter 2023.

MSAC is offering program-specific webinars on each program through which Arts Relief funding is being offered. Some webinars have yet to be scheduled. Others are upcoming and open for registration at marylandartscouncil.eventbrite.com. For those that have already taken place, post-session resources are linked below.