NC CARES for Arts grants provide big boost to Chatham County Arts organizations

Pittsboro, NC – During this pandemic, arts organizations have been particularly vulnerable. But the Chatham Arts Council (CAC) is thrilled to be the bearer of good news. The CAC and the North Carolina Arts Council are proud to distribute NC CARES for Arts grants to ten local arts councils and nonprofit arts organizations, helping them better survive the financial effects COVID-19 has had on their organizations.

The organizations are being awarded a portion of the more than $87,000 from North Carolina’s spending plan for federal CARES Act designated specifically for Chatham County. Grant recipients include: Abundance North Carolina, Chatham Artists Guild, Clapping Hands Farm, EbzB Productions, NC Arts Incubator, Pittsboro Youth Theater, StreetSigns, The Alliance, and WildesArt. In addition to being the designated partner to distribute funds, the Chatham Arts Council is also receiving a portion of the grant.* While priority was given to nonprofits, arts businesses were also included in the process as they are vital to the arts landscape in Chatham.

“This has been a year unlike any other,” exclaimed Louise Kessel, Owner & Director, Clapping Hands Farms. “We never expected that we would have to cancel all of our in-person programming and transition our art camps to the virtual world. We are now in the process of trying to bring our in-person programming back—but with COVID-careful precautions. This grant will help us achieve our goal of having safe, in-person programs, all while still upholding our ‘No One Turned Away’ policy through our scholarship program.”

Organizations applying for grants were seeking reimbursement for operating expenses during the pandemic this year (March-December 2020). Their requests related to funds to offset costs of pivoting to virtual tours, insurance, salaries, postage, and the endless supply of needed hand sanitizers. Unlike most grants, the NC CARES for Arts grant was not based on artistic merit.

 “This boost in funding came at a time when many arts organizations were running out of money,” shared Cheryl Chamblee, Chatham Arts Council’s Executive Director. “We will get to the other side of this intensely difficult time we’re in–and when we do, we need the arts to still be there for us.”

Grants will be disbursed by December 30, bringing some much-needed New Year’s cheer to organizations who’ve been hit hard during this unusual year.

“The NC CARES for Arts grant will be an integral part of the future of the Incubator as we continue to expand our programs and mission beyond the walls of our building to serve as a hub for our community, artists, makers and innovative thinkers,” exclaimed Michael Feezor, Director, NC Arts Incubator.

The availability of these COVID relief funds for the arts is due to the strong advocacy by ArtsNC, North Carolina Arts Council, and individual citizens statewide. To learn more about the NC CARES for Arts grants, visit