RUTHERFORDTON—Local arts groups have an opportunity for new support, thanks to ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds through the federal government.

The N.C. Legislature recently designated $10 million in ARPA funds to be distributed locally through the N.C. Arts Council Grassroots Arts Program.

The ARPA funds are in addition to the funding that comes to the counties annually through the state’s Grassroots program. Rutherford County is slated to receive approximately $60,300 that will be distributed over two years.

“The rules for the ARPA funds are somewhat different than the regular Grassroots grants,” said Aubrey Clay, a project manager with Rutherford County government.

Clay, through a volunteer committee, manages the Grassroots program locally.

“The major differences are, with the ARPA money, the individual arts organizations do not have to provide matching funds,” Clay said. “Also, they will have a two-year window to use the funds. They do not have to follow the state fiscal year.”

Clay says this should make the ARPA funds more attractive. In addition, the ARPA funds have a broader range of uses that are acceptable. For example, ARPA money could be used for capital expenditures, or ongoing operating expenses.

“The guidelines for ARPA funds are more relaxed,” Clay continued. “This is an excellent opportunity for local arts organizations to access an extra infusion of funds.”

Clay points out that all of the N.C. Grassroots ARPA money will be funneled directly to the arts groups.

“The number of groups that apply for funding will impact the amount of money that each group will be able to receive,” he said.

The regular N.C. Grassroots Arts Program grant requests are being accepted now through July 15. The new ARPA Grassroots grants are being accepted now, through August 15.

Applications for both are available on the Rutherford County government website.

“I want to encourage our local arts groups to apply for both. This is a great opportunity for additional funding,” Clay added.

Since 1977, the NC Grassroots Arts Program has provided N.C. citizens access to quality arts experiences. Using a per capital based formula, the program provides funding for the arts in all 100 counties through partnerships with county governments and local arts councils.

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