The Artist Opportunity Grant program will return for 2020-2021 with $40,000 in funding available for individual artists in Montgomery County, Ohio. The program, which is funded by the Montgomery County Arts and Cultural District (MCACD) and administered by Culture Works, has awarded over $120,000 to 50 local artists since 2016.
Artist Opportunity Grants provide funding for artists to pursue imminent professional development opportunities and to create, or complete, new works. To make award decisions, an independent panel considers each proposed project’s artistic merit, feasibility, potential impact on the artist, and potential impact on the larger community. Examples of past projects include George Drake Jr.’s Fifth and Ludlow podcast, Phillitia Charlton’s theatrical adaptation of her autobiography, The Death of a Lie, and Caitlin Cartwright’s “71 Days in Summer,” a visual reflection on the events that shook the Dayton community in the summer of 2019.
“Montgomery County has long recognized the role the arts play in the community and that artists represent an industry that contributes to the local economy,” according to Matt Dunn, MCACD Executive Director. “In these times, especially, artists have so much to contribute but also have great need for support of their work and their livelihood.”
COVID-19 has presented major challenges for the arts community. The national advocacy organization Americans for the Arts (AFTA) reports that 62% of creative workers have become unemployed as a result of the pandemic, and 66% of artists have lost access to the supplies and resources needed to create. “We’re especially grateful to Montgomery County for making this program possible during such a turbulent year,” said Culture Works Executive Director Lisa Hanson. “Being able to support the creation of new art, especially now, is beneficial not only to artists but to all of us who turn to art for entertainment, escape, and expression.” According to the AFTA study, 76% of artists use their art to raise morale and create community cohesion.
The Artist Opportunity Grant program is open to artists in all disciplines—including dance, film, writing, theatre, music, visual arts, and more—and individual grants will range from $500–$3,000. Artists can apply through the Culture Works website from August 10 through October 9, 2020. The project or opportunity for which an applicant seeks funding must take place between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021. Funding decisions will be announced during a public panel meeting later in the fall.
To learn more about the Artist Opportunity Grant program, visit cultureworks.org.