Founded in 1967 with the democratic vision of “arts for all citizens,” the North Carolina Arts Council sustains and grows the arts for the benefit of North Carolinians and their communities.
The North Carolina Arts Council strives to deliver resources for arts development to all 100 counties of the state through programs that are fair, transparent and accountable.
The Arts Council is an agency of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. A 24-member citizen board, appointed by the Governor, advises the Secretary of the Department on policies, programs, and research that supports arts development across North Carolina.
The arts creatively express ideas, concepts, and emotions that deepen our understanding of the world and of the human condition as well as challenge us to discuss and debate the important issues of our time. This belief in the intrinsic value of the arts lies at the core of our work.
A conviction that the arts are essential to the growth and well-being of our state’s communities also inspires our programs and initiatives. The North Carolina Arts Council delivers resources to arts organizations and artists to support projects and programs of public value—including revitalizing downtowns, helping our youth succeed through creative approaches to education in and beyond the classroom, healing the wounds of war for active military service members and veterans, and fueling a thriving non-profit creative sector that generates over $2 billion in annual direct economic activity in our communities.
Through our grants program, the Arts Council invests in arts activities that benefit communities in every county of North Carolina. In 2019, the Arts Council granted $7.5 million to non-profit arts organizations, schools, local governments, and individual artists for support of operations, projects and programs.
In addition to offering grants, the North Carolina Arts Council staff and board create statewide initiatives primarily in the areas of economic development, tourism, cultural preservation and education that employ the arts to respond to challenges or realize untapped potential.
The staff of the North Carolina Arts Council also provide advice and technical assistance to assist arts organizations and artists adopt best practices for stabilizing, growing and improving their services.
The North Carolina Arts Council receives annual appropriations from the North Carolina General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Arts Council grants leverage up to $18 in matching funds for every $1 dollar of state or federal investment. In addition, the North Carolina Arts Foundation raises funds from the private sector to support specific programs and initiatives.
Photo featured on our home page: G Yamazawa, a hip hop artist from Durham performs, at Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival in 2018.