Chairman's Corner: April 16, 2020

Jo Reed: I'm Josephine Reed from the National Endowment for the Arts with ‘The Chairman’s Corner’ — a weekly podcast with Mary Anne Carter, Chairman of the Arts Endowment, where we will discuss issues of importance to the arts community and a whole lot more.

Last week was a busy time for the arts endowment. On Wednesday, April 8th, the agency published its guidelines to distribute $75 million in CARES Act relief funding for arts organizations around the country. Since then we've had a few developments and updates, and Chairman Mary Anne Carter is here to tell us about them. Here’s Mary Anne….

Mary Anne Carter:  Wow. Listening to you talk about when the guidelines went out I can't believe it's only been a week in time. It feels like months ago. Many things have happened and will continue throughout the process, but here are two important updates since last week. First, because so many art organizations across America look to us for leadership as to how, when and why CARES Act funding is to be distributed we have held conference calls with the National Assembly of State Art [sic] Agencies and Americans for the Arts. They're our national arts agency partners, who have in turn held virtual town hall meetings with state art agencies across the country, and we've also had our own virtual town hall calls with local arts agencies and service organizations from all over America. And second, to address the many questions that our staff is receiving about the guidelines the agency has answered dozens of emails, returned dozens of phone calls and posted new FAQs on our Web site.

Jo Reed:  Okay, so what's new in these FAQs?

Mary Anne Carter:  While listeners can view a more comprehensive answer to that question by logging onto, in a nutshell we address two recurring concerns voiced by arts organizations across the country. The first FAQ addressed the question as to whether an art organization can apply for a CARES Act grant from the National Endowment for the Arts while at the same time applying for funding offered by the Small Business Administration. And secondly, we wanted to make sure that art organizations, particularly local arts agencies that are often a department of a municipal government, that had received indirect funding from the arts endowment, typically through their state arts agency, but did not receive direct funding knew what to expect from the CARES Act.

Jo Reed:  Okay, so let's take that one at a time. First of all, can applicants for the CARES Act grants from the arts endowment also apply for funding from the Small Business Administration?

Mary Anne Carter:  As long as the applicant is not double-claiming a specific individual salary the answer is yes. Of course, we urge applicants to contact the SBA directly to address other specific questions they may have.

Jo Reed:  And what about the second question? What about grantees that have received indirect funding from the arts endowment? Are they eligible for CARES funding?

Mary Anne Carter:  No, they're not. In order to distribute CARES Act funding as quickly as possible to save as many jobs as possible the agency limited the potential universe of CARES Act grant applicants to a manageable size given the limited resources that we have to distribute under the legislation. And it's also important to note that arts organizations that are not otherwise eligible for CARES Act funding from the National Endowment for the Arts should immediately reach out to their state art organizations and in some areas their local arts agencies to apply for regranted funds.

Jo Reed:  And they can also reach out to the Small Business Administration.

Mary Anne Carter:  Yes, and to the SBA.

Jo Reed:  And what about local arts agencies? How do they fit into the CARES Act?

Mary Anne Carter:  Local art agencies are not protected or even recognized under federal law. Nevertheless, in the case of the arts endowment distributing CARES Act funding to local arts agencies there are I think about a hundred across the country that are eligible under our guidelines to apply for a direct grant, and then there are I think about nine other local art agencies that are eligible to be regrantors on their own because they had on their own received direct funding from the arts endowment at some point over the past four years.

Jo Reed:   Mary Anne, the arts lost a friend last week, and she was a dear, dear friend to the arts endowment, and I'm talking about Diane Rodriguez, who of course you knew quite well.

Mary Anne Carter:  It was a very sad week. Diane passed away on Good Friday, and she wasn't just a good friend to the National Endowment for the Arts, but she had become a good, close personal friend of mine, and I remember every time the council met—the National Council on the Arts. As you know, we meet three times a year-- she was always so much fun and so uplifting. She was an actress and a producer and brought the voices of the Latino and the Latina communities alive and was such an advocate to make sure those voices were heard. And so Diane's passing is such a huge loss to the National Council on the Arts, and it's such a great loss to the theatre community, but it's really a tremendous loss to the overall arts community.

Jo Reed:  Yes, I would agree. She was a lovely, vibrant woman, and she'll be missed.

Mary Anne Carter:  She will be.

Jo Reed:  Mary Anne, thank you so much. And I'll talk to you next week.

Mary Anne Carter:  Thank you, Jo.

Jo Reed: That was the Chairman of the National Endowment for Arts, Mary Anne Carter. Again, the guidelines for applicants for CARES funding—including eligibility requirementsapplication review, and FAQs are on our website I’m Josephine Reed stay safe and thanks for listening.

Music Credit: “Renewal” composed and performed by Doug and Judy Smith.

Chairman Mary Anne Carter shares some updates about the CARES Act funding for arts organizations.