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Season Grant Overview

The Season Grant program is intended to provide access to quality arts experiences for the people of Durham by supporting the activities of arts organizations that provide a range of professional and amateur arts opportunities. The Season Grant Criteria define the qualities of a strong grant application. The panel will also consider to what degree the full slate of recommended grant applications fulfill the intent of the grant program.

Who may apply?

Non-profit arts organizations based in Durham County or who conduct the majority of their programming in Durham County are eligible to apply. Applicant must be non-profit with tax exempt status under section 501 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended, allowing contributions made to them to be deductible under Section 170 or apply under a fiscal agent other than the Durham Arts Council. 

If you are a new applicant you must review your proposal with Margaret DeMott, Director of Artist Services, (919-560-2720, mdemott@durhamarts.org) before submitting your application. If you applied last year and would like to know your scores from last year’s review, you are also encouraged to call Margaret DeMott.

All applications must be submitted through Submittable.com by 9:00 PM Monday, March 31, 2017. Once you have started your application you will have 21 days in which to complete it.  You may return to your application as often as you want within those 21 days.

What activities are eligible?

You may apply for support for a single project or for general operations. The activity must occur between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018. Season Grants are not awarded to fundraising activities.

What can I apply for?

You may apply for cash and/or for use of space in the Durham Arts Council building. You may request up to $12,000 in cash. For FY 2016-2017 the average cash grant awarded was $3,720, with cash grants ranging from $600 to $9,000. 

2016-2017 space grants included ongoing use of office, meeting, rehearsal, exhibit and performance space and short term, project specific performances and meetings.  

The Durham Arts Council building is a 52,000 sq. ft., city owned, community arts center that contains spaces for dance, theater and music rehearsals, meeting rooms, offices, exhibit and performance spaces. As part of your Season Grant request you may ask for use of these spaces for a particular project or for on-going operations. There are fees associated with use of granted space in the building. 

What is required of Season Grant Recipients?

Each Season Grant recipient will:

  • Complete the Season Grant contract and submit to DAC with appropriate attachments.
  • Use the DAC logo and grant acknowledgment line in all relevant publicity, including listing in print materials, email blasts, web pages, and news releases. (See item 13 in the application.)
  • Pay user fees (if receiving a space grant).
  • Thank the Durham delegation for supporting state funding for the arts
  • Attend Arts Day.
  • Engage in nonprofit capacity development training to strengthen the organization’s management.

  • Provide 5 volunteer hours for DAC events or programs
  • File final reports on the use of the grant.
Criteria for Evaluating Grant Applications

Each application will receive a numeric score for each of the criteria ranging from 1 to 5 (1 being lowest, 5 being highest). 

  • Artistic quality of proposed project or programs
  • Community impact of project or programs
  • Ability to plan and implement project
  • Stability and fiscal responsibility of the organization
  • Involvement of more than one racial/ethnic group
The questions below are intended to help applicants decide what aspects of their organization they may wish to highlight in their narrative. Applicants are not expected to address all the questions under every criterion.

 Criterion 1:  Artistic quality of proposed project or programs

  • Do the primary artists (includes directors, designers, conductors, instructors, as well as performers or visual artists) have the skills and experience necessary to create a quality art presentation or experience?
  • If the proposal is to support the creation and/or presentation of art (in most cases a performance or exhibit open to the public), is it likely to be a quality experience for the audience, given the credentials and past experience of the artists involved?
  • If the proposal is to support an activity—on-going rehearsals, classes, critique sessions, improvisation sessions—is it likely to be a rewarding experience for the participants, given the credentials and past experience of the artists participating and leading the activity?

 Criterion 2:  Community impact of project or programs

  • Who will benefit from the project and how? What percent of these people are from Durham?
  • Is this activity already provided elsewhere in Durham? Is there a community audience/need for this program?
  • Is it open to the public in some way? Are members of the public invited to buy tickets, audition, become members, volunteer, enroll?
  • Is the primary audience people who attend the event or people who participate in the event? 
  • Does the event have a ripple effect, where the benefit might spread beyond the immediate audience? 
  • Will it bring a new audience into the DAC building? Will it develop a new audience for the arts in Durham? Will it create a new partnership between agencies?

 Criterion 3:  Ability to plan and implement project

  • Does this activity fit within the mission of the applicant?
  • Is the proposal realistic? Does the applicant appear to have access to the resources necessary to carry it out? Resources include people with appropriate organizational and artistic skills and experience, cash, in-kind services and donations, facilities, time.
  • Is the Season Grant the only source of cash for this activity? If so, why?
  • Has the applicant undertaken this activity before? If so, with what success?
  • Did they attract desired audience/participants?
  • Was the actual income/expense of past projects reasonably close to the budgeted income/expense?
  • What has the organization learned from past experience?

 Criterion 4:  Stability and fiscal responsibility of the organization

  • Has the applicant conducted programs or activities successfully in the past?
  • Has the applicant been able to maintain a positive fund balance?
  • Is the applicant currently in a deficit situation? If so, do they have a strategy for eliminating the deficit?  Have they successfully implemented this strategy over more than one year?
  • If the applicant has received a grant from DAC in the past, have they been able to carry out the proposed activity, have they submitted complete applications, contracts and final reports by required deadlines?

 Criterion 5: Involvement of members of more than one racial/ethnic group

  • Which racial/ethnic groups or communities in Durham will this serve?
  • Is the membership/participant group racially/ethnically diverse?
  • Is the audience racially/ethnically diverse?
  • Is their staff, board or advisory group racially/ethnically diverse?
  • Does their programming present art created in different cultures?
  • What specific strategies does the applicant employ to foster and maintain this diversity? 
  • What specific strategies has the applicant planned to increase diversity in any of these areas?
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