Grassroots Arts Program
In 1977, the North Carolina General Assembly established the Grassroots Arts Program to ensure that every citizen had access to quality arts experiences. The program distributes funds for the arts, primarily through local arts councils, to all 100 counties using a per capita based formula. The creation of the Grassroots Arts Program increased the state's already growing number of local arts councils and helped establish North Carolina as a leader in the national community arts movement. Today we have one of the largest networks of local arts agencies in the country, including the nation's oldest arts council in Winston-Salem. Grassroots funds support hundreds of arts activities.
A complete Designated County Partner guidebook is available for download:
How Grassroots County Allotments are Determined
Each year the North Carolina General Assembly allocates a portion of the state budget for grassroots funds. Twenty percent of the total grassroots budget is distributed in equal amounts to all 100 counties, and the remaining 80-percent is distributed using a per capital formula. A schedule of county allotments using the most recent population estimates is available online. Download the 2011-12 Tentative Schedule of County Allotments.
Included in the allotment schedule is the combined number, and percentage, of the county's populations of African America, Asian, Latino, and Native American residents. A representative portion of each county's Grassroots allotments must be spent in support of arts programs that reflect the county's racial and cultural diversity. For example, if the county's multicultural population is 29-percent of the total population, then at least 29-percent of the grassroots funds should be spent for multicultural programming.
How Funds are Distributed
Grassroots funds are distributed by county by the following three types of Grassroots partners:
Approved Uses of Grassroots Arts Funds
The three primary funding uses of Grassroots funds are to:
Examples of arts programs that are commonly funded with Grassroots funds include:
Annual Grassroots Arts Program county funds must be matched dollar for dollar with cash from local sources spent for the arts during the applicable fiscal year. This matching requirement was designed to assure that citizens in each county committed at least as much money for the arts each year as did the state. Therefore, the Grassroots program allows any arts expenditures made with money raised within the county to be identified as a match.
Grassroots partners may match the entire county allotment from within its own budget, it may use subgrantees' cash match to fulfill the requirement, and, if necessary, it may ask another organization in the county to allow its arts expenditures to be designated as a match.
Neither the Grassroots money nor the matching funds may be used to match any other N. C. Arts Council grant.
Grassroots On Hand
N. C. Arts Council staff have developed several quality arts programs that can be purchased with Grassroots funds. Options include offerings in public art, touring, and folklife. An added benefit of utilizing Grassroots on Hand programs is that N.C. Arts Council staff manages the projects. Program cost range from $2,500-$10,000. Click here for more information.
Meeting the Racial and Cultural Diversity Requirement
To ensure that Grassroots arts programs reflect the cultural and ethnic diversity of our state, each DCP is required to spend a percentage of its annual county allotment on multicultural programming that reflects African American, Asian American, Latino and Native American cultures. The exact amount is provided on an allocation chart (available online) by county and is noted in the DCP's grant.
The requirement can be met in three ways:
The racial and cultural diversity requirement cannot be reached by counting or estimating the number of people of color at performances, classes, exhibits, etc.
Note that tribal organizations must represent state or federally recognized tribes in order to receive Grassroots funds.