In April of 2020, in response to the economic devastation of COVID-19 on the arts sector, the Mississippi Arts Commission established a series of emergency grants programs

Since it’s origination, MAC has offered several grant opportunities aimed at providing economic relief for the arts during the pandemic.

These grants include the MAC CARES grant, the South Arts Organizational Impact Grant, and Rapid Response Minigrants.


Established in April 2020, the MAC CARES special funding opportunity provides one-time grants to non-profit arts organizations in Mississippi to provide immediate financial support to these organizations due to the income shortfalls created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding for this program comes from a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts through the 2020 federal CARES Act.

MAC has received $441,100 from the NEA to distribute in Mississippi. While the NEA is allowing state arts agencies to keep a portion of the funds to administer the grants (MAC is eligible to keep up to $50,000), MAC has committed to granting the entire award to arts organizations across Mississippi.

As additional funding becomes available, the agency plans to offer future grant opportunities as part of the MAC CARES program to provide further COVID-19 relief to the arts sector.

Program Objective

Unlike other special grant programs that support new or experimental projects, the CARES grant program focuses solely on helping arts organizations to maintain their operations. NEA Chairman Mary Anne Carter has implored MAC and the other state arts agencies to re-grant these funds out as quickly as possible to help save jobs and assist arts organizations with ongoing facility expenses.


Applicants must be a non-profit 501c3 arts organization based in Mississippi that was awarded a MAC Operating Grant in either Fiscal Year 2019 (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019) or 2020 (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020). Eligible organizations will be contacted directly by MAC through a notification email through our eGrant system.

MAC set this eligibility limitation in order to focus assistance on independent arts organizations with staff. The limitation will also expedite the review and release of grant funds to the field.

Grant Amounts

MAC will award grantees between $1,500 and $11,100. The grant does not require matching funds. The awards will be based on the grantee’s current or most recent grant award, review panel score and organizational capacity. MAC may make modifications to the award amount based on changes to the organization’s status since their most recent grant award was made.

Eligible Expenses

The grant funds are for helping to stabilize an organization during the current economic situation. The funds can be used to pay for:

  • Staff Salaries – support salaries and fringe benefits for permanent, full-time or part-time staff working for an organization.
  • Facility Costs – Supporting rent, utilities and other required ongoing expenses related to the facilities used by the organization. The funds cannot be used to pay for building projects, making updates to facilities or purchasing equipment.

Application and Review Process

Eligible applicants should complete the CARES grant application available in MAC’s online grant system beginning April 28, 2020. MAC staff will review the applications internally to make sure the applicant and the proposed expenses are eligible for funding. The grant awards will be based on the criteria outlined in the “Grant Amounts” section above.

Awards will be made on a rolling basis beginning April 28, 2020.

Grant Award and Administration

  • MAC will pay grantees their full grant amount upon receipt of a completed grant form, signed grant contract and other required documents. – Grant reporting requirements will be similar to MAC’s standard grant programs, but will be focused on the positions or facility costs supported by the grant.
  • Since the source of the grant funds is the federal government, grantees will be required to follow the standard rules that apply to federal grant recipients, including:
    • Grant award should be acknowledged as a sub-grant award from the NEA.
    • Coding and tracking all expenses on this grant separately from other income sources
    • Comply with all national policies for MAC sub-grantees detailed in the NEA’s “General Terms and Conditions for Partnership Agreements” document (pages 23-26).

If you have questions about this special funding opportunity, please contact MAC Arts Industry Director Kristen Brandt at

South Arts Organizational Impact Grants

Established in July 2020, the South Arts Organizational Impact Grant program is part of MAC’s continued effort to provide relief to Mississippi’s arts sector due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19. These “invite-only” grants are made possible through special funding provided by the National Endowment for the Arts through South Arts. The grant is designed assist eligible small to mid-sized non-profit arts organizations with economic relief during the COVID-19 pandemic.

MAC received a total of $60,000 from its regional partner South Arts to establish the grant program. As an invite-only grant, eligible arts organization invited to apply for South Arts Organizational Impact Grants will be contacted directly by MAC through its eGrant system.

Rapid Response Grants

In an effort to respond to the changing needs of artists and arts organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mississippi Arts Commission established Rapid Response Grants. An expanded version of the agency’s Minigrants, Rapid Response Grant applications open July 6 and close at 11:59 p.m. on July 17.

Eligible individual artists may apply for up to $500 to adapt their artistic work to online platforms such as digital portfolios, gallery tours or hosting virtual demonstrations or to purchase art supplies, create promotional materials or pursue professional development.

Eligible organizations may apply for up to $1,000 to adapt their arts-related work to online platforms such as online workshops, children’s art activities or virtual gatherings. Funds may also be used to hire MAC roster artists or to pursue organizational professional development such as hiring a consultant or attending training for emergency response and future preparedness, strategic planning or other adaptive organizational pursuits.