Grant Funding Overview


The Arts Council of Anne Arundel County is a private, non-profit organization with the mission to encourage and invest in the visual arts, performing arts, and historic preservation for the people of Anne Arundel County. The Arts Council’s vision is to serve as the premier resource for the cultural arts community in the county, providing leadership in advocacy, funding, programming, promotion, and information sharing in order to help create and sustain a vibrant cultural community that enriches the quality of life for every county resident.

The Arts Council operates an annual Community Arts Grant program for nonprofit cultural/arts organizations in the county to help achieve its goals. The purpose of the grant program is to:
  • Foster excellence, diversity and vitality in arts offering for all Anne Arundel County residents.
  • Broaden opportunities for county audiences, artists and arts organizations.
  • Increase the availability of arts activities and programs for all county residents.
  • Promote countywide awareness of arts resources and opportunities.
Funding for Community Arts Grants is provided by grants from the Maryland State Arts Council, from a small portion of the tax receipts generated through the State and City of Annapolis hotel tax, and through private donations. Funding limitations do not generally allow for full funding of all approved applications.

The following types of grants are awarded:
  • Community Arts Grants are general operating grants in support of ongoing activities are awarded to established nonprofit cultural/arts organizations which have existed for more than one year and have IRS 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt Status;
  • Founding Grants are Community Arts Grants for first-year applicants; they are targeted for general support and are awarded on a one-time basis to new nonprofit cultural/arts organizations that not received prior grant funding from the Arts Council. Founding Grant applicants must be non-profit Maryland corporations with an IRS 501(c)(3) status. A Founding Grant cannot exceed $2,500.
  • Strategic Grants are awarded to current fiscal year Community Arts Grant Award recipients for well-defined, innovative projects or programs that have not previously been funded by the Arts Council. These grants are earmarked for projects that fall outside of an organization’s regularly scheduled programming, to allow for a major change in the way an organization is able to impact the arts within the community.
  • Mini Grants are awarded to eligible nonprofit cultural/arts organizations incorporated in Maryland on a dollar-to-dollar matching basis and may not exceed $2,500. They are intended to support arts-related activities that reach broader audiences and residents in underserved communities. An applicant may not apply for more than one Mini Grant annually.
Qualified applicants may submit a total of three applications – one in each category -- during the course of the annual application process. New applicants may submit only two applications in their first year – one for a Founding Grant and one for a Mini Grant. More information about each of the specific grant programs is included in the Grants Guidelines section.

Review Process & Notification
  1. Applicants will receive a confirmation after an application has been received. Confirmation will be by email; you will be notified if there are still portions of an application that have not yet been received or do not comply with the guidelines.
  2. The Grants Review Panel will review all qualified, complete applications prior to the date indicated above. Each proposal will be reviewed individually by all members of the Review Panel. In addition, each proposal will be compared to other proposals of the same type with respect to specific evaluation criteria. For example, one of the questions that applicants must answer is a description of the audience/constituency they serve. During the review process, all responses to that question will be examined separately to identify the extent to which various geographic and demographic sectors of the county are being covered. Since the Arts Council’s goal is to try and reach all residents throughout the county, proposals from applicants that focus on underserved areas or groups may receive special consideration for their application. This will allow each application to be examined individually for its own merit, while also ensuring a cross-cutting evaluation of the entire set of applications with respect to Arts Council priorities.
  3. The Grants Review Committee will present its recommendations to the ACAAC Board of Directors for final approval. All decisions by the ACAAC Board of Directors are final. All applicants will be advised electronically of the status of their application. Successful grantees will also be informed of the anticipated date of the grant funds that have been awarded.
Conflict of Interest
To ensure that all Arts Council review panels are free from conflicts of interest and the appearance of such conflicts, panelists are required to disclose any current or prospective affiliations they or their immediate family members have with an actual or potential applicant. “Affiliations” applies to employment, board memberships, independent contractual relationships, substantial contributor relationships, or other relationships. In addition, panelists are required to disclose any past or current adversarial relationships with actual or potential applicants. Panel members, as well as Board Members, are not permitted to participate in discussions or votes relating to any applicant with whom they have an affiliation.

Restrictions of Grant Funding
Grant funding may not be applied to capital improvements, purchase of land or real property, tuition assistance, fundraising or pre-existing expenses, debts or obligations incurred by the organization.

Review Criteria
The review of grants will be based on the following evaluation criteria:
Artistic Merit; Quality/Creativity of Programming
  • Recognized quality of artistic programming.
  •  Fulfills unmet community need. 
  • Programming reflects applicant’s objectives.
  • Arts Council grant will provide meaningful contribution to programming.
Service to the Community
  •  Broadens access and opportunity to the arts.
  • Reaches under-served audiences and constituencies.
  • Enhances geographic, socio-economic and cultural diversity of arts programming.
  • Staffing, board membership, audience/constituency reflects a broad diversity.
  • Engages in successful partnerships with other county arts groups and patrons.
Organizational Effectiveness
  • Exhibits sound business practices and financial responsibility.
  • Exhibits ability to leverage in-kind, board, and volunteer resources.
  • Management/administrative capacity capable of providing planned programming.