The Cultural Facilities grant program is administered by the Vermont Arts Council in conjunction with the Vermont Historical Society and the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation. These grants are intended to help Vermont nonprofit organizations and municipalities enhance, create or expand the capacity of an existing building to provide cultural activities for the public.
Examples of projects eligible for funding include:
- Improvements such as wiring, heating, ADA accessibility features (elevators, lifts, assistive listening systems, ramps and bathrooms), lighting and stage work.
- Building improvements, permanent display panels and/or exhibit cases, permanent infrastructure or fixed equipment expenses. (Fixed equipment improvements must include where appropriate features to improve accessibility such as assistive listening devices with a sound system. They may include a portable element, such as microphones for a sound system, if it is only to be used within the building.)
- Wireless/broadband capacity will be eligible only for the purpose of enhancing programming capacity.
New construction may be considered if it is the only option for making access improvements to an historic building. Then, only the expenses directly related to the accessible component of the project can be considered as part of the grant request.
What We Do Not Fund
- Overhead, operating support, studies, surveys, engineering reports or architectural fees, programming, or expenses for a temporary exhibit.
- Multi-year projects.
- Routine maintenance such as exterior or interior painting, carpeting or anything else requiring regularly-scheduled upkeep.
- Appliances (such as refrigerators and stoves) and moveable furniture or rugs.
- Major structural repairs to foundations, roofs, windows, etc. are generally not funded.
Prior to preparing an application, contact Chris Hadsel (802-863-4938) or Michele Bailey (802-828-3294) to assure that your project is eligible for funding consideration.
All applicants are urged to register to attend a Grant Seeker Workshop. The workshops will guide applicants in the preparation of the online application with relevant support materials and will be held from 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. on the following dates:
• Tuesday, February 18, Catamount Arts, 115 Eastern Ave, St. Johnsbury
• Wednesday, February 19; Bethel Town Hall, Main Street, Bethel
• Wednesday, March 5: Town Hall Theater, 68 So. Pleasant Street, Middlebury
• SNOW DATE-Monday, March 10: Vermont Arts Council Conference Room, 136 State Street, Montpelier (This is the SNOWDATE for all workshops and will only be held if any of the others are postponed.)
The agenda for all workshops:
- 1:00 – 3:00 p.m.: Overview of program guidelines, preparation of the online application and the relevant support materials
- 3:00 -4:00 p.m.: Application tips and information for projects related to accessibility (i.e. ramps, elevators, bathrooms, assistive listening systems, seating)
New: An accessibility advisor will be available at each workshop to assist in answering your questions.
Project sites must be owned and operated by Vermont municipalities or 501 (c) 3 nonprofit cultural organizations incorporated in the State of Vermont. The submitting organization must have a track record or documented plan of offering cultural programs to the general public on a regular basis.
Organizations may receive only one grant a year for a specific project from any of the following Building Communities Competitive Grant Programs:
Who May Not Apply
- Any applicant with an outstanding Cultural Facilities Grant will not be considered for further funding until the conditions of the first grant are met.
- Any organization that received a Cultural Facilities Grant the previous year must wait one more year to apply.
- Any organization that received a Cultural Facilities Grant of $15,000 or more must wait at least two years before applying again (so an organization that was awarded a grant in FY2012 or earlier would again be eligible to apply in FY2015).
- Any organization that has received $50,000 or more from the State Capital Appropriations Budget within the past three years is not eligible to apply.
Awards range from $1,000 to $30,000. Grants must be matched on a 1:1 basis. At least 50% of the match must be in cash. Up to 50% can be in well-documented in-kind materials and/or labor. Funds from other state and federal sources may not be used to match a Cultural Facilities grant. Sources of matching funds must be clearly detailed. Applications for less than the minimum amount will not be considered.
Your entire application must be submitted via the Council’s online granting system no later than midnight (EST) on May 1, 2014. Notification will occur by August 8, 2014.
You’ll be asked to provide:
- Organizational Information (or optional CDP Funder Report);
- A narrative description of the proposed project;
- Biographies of the key people involved with the project (i.e. facility staff and/or contractors;
- A project budget & budget narrative;
- Support Materials (also submitted online) listed below include:
- PHOTOGRAPHS: One photograph of the exterior of the building and up to seven photographs of the area where the proposed improvements are to take place.
- EVIDENCE OF CULTURAL PROGRAMMING: Samples could include brochures, newspaper articles, sample evaluations, promotional materials, etc.;
- ARCHITECTURAL DRAWINGS: proposed plans including an overall floor plan for the building. All dimensions must be noted on drawings. One original and one hard copy of architectural drawings may be sent to the Council c/o Michele Bailey and must be postmarked no later than May 1, 2014. All other support materials must be submitted online.
- ESTIMATES: An estimate and/or a contract or letter of agreement. If the total expenses in the grant request are $10,001 or more, you must submit at least two written estimates for each component of your grant request. (For example: If you are requesting funds to support a new heating system at $5,500 and a ramp at $5,600 you must submit two estimates for the heating system and two estimates for the ramp.)
- ORGANIZATION PRIORITIES PLAN: in the form of a letter or report done by or with appropriate consultant.
- LETTERS OF SUPPORT: no more than two;
- ACCESSIBILITY CHECKLIST: NEW REQUIREMENT for projects related to accessibility (bathrooms, lifts, elevators, assistive listening systems, etc.): You must submit a copy of the relevant completed sections of the ADA Checklist for Readily Achievable Barrier Removal based on 2010 Standards for Accessible Design.
- ORGANIZATIONAL INFORMATION: i.e. List of Board of Directors, Financial Statements, IRS tax-exempt letter.
After the application deadline has passed, Arts Council staff will make a preliminary review of the materials included in your application and may contact you for further information.
- If your project is for restoration work, including major structural repairs to an historic building, it may be more appropriate to apply to the State Historic Preservation Grants Program. For information visit www.historicvermont.org or contact Caitlin Corkins, Grants Coordinator at the Division for Historic Preservation, National Life Building, Floor 2, Montpelier, VT 05620-1201 (802-828-3047).
- Applicants may apply for only one grant but the funding request can include both: a general facility improvement and an ADA access improvement.
- A letter of support from your town's Select Board or an established community organization is strongly encouraged.
- Contact with the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation (802-828-3213 or -3049) or the Preservation Trust of Vermont (802-658-6647) to discuss renovation priorities and techniques is strongly recommended. Include copies of any resulting letters or reports with your application.
- Applicants requesting funds to support the installation of or upgrade of accessible features to the site are advised to contact the Council staff before completing their application and are especially urged to attend a Grantseeker Workshop to help ensure the submission of appropriate information for review by the peer panel.
Grant recommendations will be made on the basis of a competitive review of submitted materials with priority given to applicants articulating a compelling case for need. Considerations in the review process will include:
- Overall project quality and clarity (based upon narrative description, budget and support materials i.e. photographs, plan, work estimates and clarity of ADA accessible drawings if applicable);
- Demonstration of response to a need articulated in the organization's mission and over-all plan;
- Consistency with community needs and interests;
- The improved ability of the organization to provide cultural events and expand use of an existing public facility;
- Evidence of ongoing and well-planned cultural activities that will be open to the public;
- Evidence of strong fundraising efforts from other sources and a well-articulated case for need;
- Demonstration of a maximized use of available resources, including Trustees and staff;
- Reasonable and appropriate budget and grant request;
- Compliance with the requirements of Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (504), the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), the ADA Amendment Act of 2008, and the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design along with 2010 ADA Title III Regulations for nondiscrimination, and evidence of an evaluation process regarding access priorities;
- Preservation of significant historic features and a demonstrated a consideration for the community context when renovations are occurring in an historic building;
- Clear presentation of your project.
- Work undertaken on historic buildings must meet the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Historic Preservation Projects. The standards do not preclude code or accessibility improvements but do require that they be done in a manner that minimizes loss of the building's historic character. Contact the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation (802-828-3049) for information and the guide book, Accessibility for Historic Buildings: A Field Guide.
- Cultural Facilities Grant Projects must be completed by August 31, 2015. Checks for grants will not be issued until project work is completed and the required reports are completed and submitted.
- Grant funds and matching funds may only be used for materials ordered or purchased and for work begun and completed after notification of a grant award.
- Significant changes to the project as described in the accepted application must be approved by the Vermont Arts Council or the grant may be withheld.
- Construction must be done in adherence to specific code and guidelines--i.e. 2010 Standards for Accessible Design, or other relevant code(s). If these guidelines and laws are not followed, applicants risk forfeiting the grant funding.
For more information please contact Michele Bailey, Program Director and 504/ADA Coordinator, at 802-828-3294.