Much of the work done to expand arts activities across Mississippi is accomplished through projects taken on by arts and community-based groups. MAC supports these efforts through its Project Grant program, which funds a wide range of arts projects that support the main goals of the agency.
Project Grants range from $250 to $5,000 and require a dollar-for-dollar cash match from the applicant organization.
Application Deadline: March 1
Please note: With the implementation of our new eGRANT system, MAC will no longer accept paper applications. Instructions on how to register and utilize the eGRANT system are available here. Applications will only be accepted beginning on January 15. To be considered for funding, applications must be submitted and authorized by 5:00 p.m. on March 1.
Activities supported by the grant must take place between July 1 of the current year and June 30 of the following year.
Before submitting an application, MAC recommends you thoroughly read the Frequently Asked Questions.
Who May Apply
Organizations who apply for a Project Grant must:
- Be based in Mississippi
- Have IRS 501(c)3 non-profit status OR
- Be a unit of local government, such as a school, library, or another county or municipal agency. These entities may be required to provide documentation of their status as a governmental agency
Eligible organizations are limited to applying for either a MAC Project or Operating Grant each year. Individuals are not eligible to apply for a Project Grant. First-time applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with MAC Program Staff (see list of contacts at the end of the guidelines) about the viability of their proposal before submitting an application.
Program Areas & Project Grant Examples
MAC awards Project Grants in each of its four program areas. Following are brief descriptions of each program, including examples of the types of projects that can be funded. For additional information on each program area, visit their pages on this site. If you are still unsure about which program you should apply under, contact MAC before submitting an application.
Arts Based Community Development
Program Goal: Support the Development of Mississippi Communities through the Arts.
Arts Based Community Development looks to improve the social, economic and cultural conditions of Mississippi communities through meaningful, quality arts programming. Whether it is after-school programming targeting at-risk youth, public art refurbishing a blighted downtown area, or a music festival bringing together a diverse audience from the community, successful Arts Based Community Development programming utilizes community-driven planning and the power of the arts to create stronger communities.
Examples of Arts Based Community Development Projects:
- A Boys and Girls Clubs work with an artist to create a piece of public art
- A Main Street program, an arts council and city officials work with a planning consultant who specializes in small town development to generate and implement a public design plan that emphasizes the town’s historic downtown or other resources.
Program Goal: Strengthen Education in and through the Arts.
Arts Education works to enable students Pre-K through 12th grade to receive a quality education that includes the arts. The program does this by fostering professional development for educators, enabling them to teach the arts more effectively and use the arts as learning tools in teaching non-arts curriculum.
Examples of Arts Education Projects
- A school (or school district) hires a consultant to work with teachers to introduce or infuse the arts into the curriculum;
- A museum produces poster-size reproductions of items from its collection and, with arts educators, develops a lesson plan based on the works; or
- A school develops a year-long artist-in-residence program.
Program Goal: Improve the Capacity and Stability of Mississippi’s Arts Industry.
Arts Industry organizations seek to enrich the lives of their audience through entertainment and through learning about themselves and others by expanding the role the arts plays in the broader social arenas of Mississippi communities. They involve the general public with their services and programs. They reach diverse communities to identify shared values, foster excellence in the arts and provide inspiration to generate a higher quality of life for all citizens by providing inclusive and diverse artistic experiences.
Examples of Arts Industry Projects:
- A single-discipline focused organization such as a community theatre company, symphony, dance, or opera company presents a performance or season of performances;
- An organization such as a museum association or a university hires artists to exhibit, perform, present or conduct workshops; or
- A statewide arts organization produces a convening, such as a writer’s conference, jazz festival, or theatre conference
Folk & Traditional Arts
Program Goal: To Increase Awareness of Mississippi’s Traditional Arts and Culture.
Folk & Traditional Arts works to increase the awareness of and foster the continuation of the state’s folk and traditional art forms. This is done through the Project Grant Program by encouraging and supporting projects that document or promote Mississippi traditional arts.
Examples of Folk & Traditional Arts Projects
- A community organization sponsors a blues festival that presents several musicians with strong ties to the area;
- A public library develops an exhibit that showcases the work of a local split oak basketmaker; or
- An arts collective presents a workshop for shape-note singers
Cash Match Requirement
Grant awards to organizations, unless otherwise specified in the program guidelines, must be matched dollar-for-dollar. For example, if an organization requests $1,000 from MAC, they must have at least $1,000 in cash income from another source (other than state funds) towards the expenses of that same project. Sources of matching funds may include revenue from the project activities, contributions from foundations or corporations, government support from federal or local sources, or cash from the organization’s own accounts.
Grantees cannot match MAC funding with other state funds.
In-kind contributions cannot be counted as part of a cash match. In-kind contributions are the dollar value of materials and services that are provided to a project at no cash cost from sources other than the applicant, i.e., volunteer hours or donated space. However, it is important to document and include information on in-kind contributions as part of the application budget. In-kind donations help to demonstrate a community’s support of a project.
How To Apply
Apply online using MAC’s eGRANT system Faxed, mailed, or emailed applications are not accepted. If you are new to eGrant, please refer to MAC’s video guide on how to create an account. Please review the guides and video tutorials available on MAC’s Frequently Asked Questions page, then contact MAC staff if you have any questions.
Please be prepared to submit the following information through the eGRANT system:
- Dun & Bradstreet (DUNS) number on the application. Go to Dun & Bradstreet to apply for a number or check to see if your organization has a number. Go here for more information on DUNS numbers.
- Narrative (three-page maximum) in which you provide an overview of your organization and address the Project Grant review criteria
- Budget Itemization that explains in greater detail each expense and source of income included in the Budget section of the application. See sample budget itemization. Note: Pay careful attention to your budget itemization since it will answer many questions that the narrative description is not likely to answer and it speaks for the applicant’s accountability.
- A list of your board of directors indicating ethnic make-up and members with disabilities. Public schools should submit a list of their current school board members.
- Current biographies (one half page maximum for each) of your organization’s key artistic and administrative personnel, both paid and volunteer. Do not substitute bios with resumés.
- A copy of letters of agreement or signed contracts between your organization and the artists or consultants participating in the project that have been finalized as of the application deadline. If arrangements with the artist(s) have not yet been finalized, please submit a plan for securing these agreements. This should include a list of the artists you are considering and a timeline for completing this work.
- A current brochure for the artist(s) or the full resumé of the consultant (including a client list with phone numbers) whose work will be supported through the grant. If the artist is a member of an adjudicated roster run by another state or regional arts organization, send a copy of the page on which the artist is featured, along with a copy of the roster’s cover page.
- If your project involves a partnership with another organization (or organizations), please provide letters of intent from these partners. The letters should clearly explain each partner’s role in the project.
- If your organization is applying to MAC for the first time: a copy of your official IRS 501(c)3 determination letter. You do not need to send a copy of the letter if your organization has applied for a grant from MAC in the past three years. If you are unsure whether or not your organization has applied recently, please call and check with MAC Program Staff before submitting an application. Public schools, libraries and other agencies of local government are exempt from this requirement.
Applications should be complete, including all required information and materials. Incomplete applications, defined as applications missing one or more of the above-listed documents, will not be considered for funding and will be returned to the applicant.
For guidance on grant writing, please see Tips for Writing Grant Applications.
Project Grant applications are reviewed using the following criteria:
1. Project Goals and Outcomes (20 points)
- The applicant states the main goals that their organization has for the project
- The applicant describes the activities that are necessary to achieve their goals
2. Quality of Project Activities and their Artistic Excellence (30 points)
- The application lists the artists and artistic staff involved in the project and their qualifications
- The main project activities are adequately described with all critical information included
3. Public Participation and Access (30 points)
- The applicant describes everyone involved in planning and participating in the project
- The project planners and participants reflect the demographics of the community or the organization has explained how they are working towards that goal
4. Ability to Achieve Goals and Evaluate Success (20 points)
- The staff or project leaders are described, including their qualifications
- The project is supported by the community
Appropriate partnerships with other organizations (when applicable) have been arranged
- Proper financial controls are in place
- The plans for promoting and evaluating the project are included
- For more information on preparing your evaluation, see Evaluating Projects and Programs.
Click here to see the information panelists will use when evaluating and scoring your application.
Supplementary Materials Format
In addition to the above items, you should be prepared to submit supplementary materials through the eGRANT system that will help panelists understand your organization and its programs. Supplementary materials should relate to the proposed project activities and should support the claims made in your narrative. The materials can be referenced in your narrative.
These materials may include:
- a copy of sample programs, brochures, educational materials, or other promotional materials that relate to the proposed project activities;
- News clippings that relate to the proposed project activities, such as response to your organization’s past programs or the artist with whom you plan to work
- letters of support for the project
- Work samples from artists you are presenting, if the artist is not a member of MAC’s Artist Roster. The samples will allow the review panel to determine the level of quality of the proposed artist(s)
Supplementary Materials File Types
Ineligible File Types: Items uploaded from the following file types will be disregarded in adjudicating applications and may result rejection of an application for incompletion:
- Pages (.pages)
- Numbers (.numbers)
- Keynote (.key)
Video & Audio
- If you share media from your website, link directly to the video/audio rather than the home page.
- MAC recommends applicants upload using the following file types: MP3, MOV, MP4, WMV, WMA.
- MAC recommends applicants upload links to video or audio files. Applicants can link to websites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, etc.
Images & Documents
- MAC recommends applicants upload using the following file types: Word (.doc or .dox), Excel (.xls, .xlr, or .xlsx), PDF (.pdf), or JPEG (.jpeg).
- You may upload links contained in a Word Document or PDF.
March 1 – Project Grant application deadline
April – Review of applications by the grant panel (the specific panel date will be available by late March. Applicants are allowed to attend panels.)
June – MAC Board meets and makes final funding decisions on all applications
July – Applicants are notified whether their application was funded or not. No information on the grants (including whether or not an applicant will be receiving an award or the amount of the award) will be available from MAC prior to this date.
Project Grants are paid in two installments:
- 75% of the grant award following receipt and approval of a properly signed contract
- 25% of the grant award following receipt and approval of the final report.
MAC and its grant recipients are contractually committed to abide by state and federal regulations that bar discrimination based on race, color, national origin, disability, age, or sex and require accessibility for persons with disabilities.
All grant recipients must assure compliance as required by these federal acts:
- Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which bar discrimination of federally assisted projects based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, or handicap;
- The Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires paying professional performers, artists, related and support personnel, laborers, and mechanics at or about the minimum compensation level for persons employed in similar activities;
- The Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988, which prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of a controlled substance in conducting any federally assisted activity; and
- Executive Order 12549, which requires certification from the grant applicant that neither it nor its principals are presently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from participation in any federal program.
Making the arts accessible to all people is a major priority of MAC. One of the conditions grantees accept is that their programs are accessible to people with disabilities. Every organization receiving funding must provide reasonable accommodations when people with disabilities request services. Accessibility involves both the facility and the activity or product of the program. Non-capital expenses to serve people with disabilities may be included in MAC grant requests.
Addressing accessibility as early as possible ensures that people with disabilities will be able to participate in programs. Organizations should conduct an evaluation of all policies, practices and programs to ensure equal access. People with disabilities and organizations representing them should participate in this evaluation process as advisors. The National Endowment for the Arts’ Office for Accessibility provides information about accessibility as it relates to the arts.
For more information on how to improve your organization’s accessibility, visit MAC’s ADA Checklist online or contact MAC’s Accessibility Coordinator at 601-359-6030.
For more information on applying for a Project Grant, contact the MAC Program Director who oversees the area most closely tied to your organization’s main goals:
Arts-Based Community Development, Melody Moody Thortis, 601.359.6035, firstname.lastname@example.org
Arts Education, Charlotte Smelser, 601.359.6037, email@example.com
Arts Industry, Sondra Lee-Bell, 601.359.6075, firstname.lastname@example.org
Folk & Traditional Arts, Maria Zeringue, 601.359.6034, email@example.com