New MCACA Program Focuses
on Support for Rural Arts & Culture

Rural arts and culture are the focus of a new pilot project of the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA). Organizations in 39 Michigan counties are eligible to apply for grants of $3,000-7,000 for a broad range of arts and cultural activities.

Counties eligible include: Alcona, Antrim, Baraga, Barry, Benzie, Branch, Charlevoix, Clare, Dickinson, Eaton, Gladwin, Hillsdale, Huron, Ionia, Keweenaw, Lapeer, Lake, Leelanau, Livingston, Luce, Mackinac, Mason, Mecosta, Menominee, Missaukee, Monroe, Montcalm, Montmorency, Newaygo, Oceana, Ogemaw, Osceola, Oscoda, Otsego, Sanilac, Schoolcraft, Tuscola, Van Buren and Wexford.

A goal of the pilot period (2000-2001) will be to fund at least one grant in each of 39 counties. Using the pilot experience to refine and expand the program, the Rural Arts & Culture Program (RACP) is expected to become a multi-year project with increased funding dedicated to arts and cultural projects in rural areas statewide.

Grants will be available to support artists and humanities scholars as community mentors. Community-based collaborations strengthening programs and expanding audiences are being encouraged, as are projects which increase understanding of traditional arts and cultural expression. Funded projects and experiences are intended to also strengthen local cultural grant-making skills and opportunities.

Joining MCACA as an advisory group in developing the program were representatives of Michigan Humanities Council, Michigan Association of Community Arts Agencies (MACAA), State of Michigan departments of Agriculture and Education, VSArts of Michigan, Michigan State University Extension and the Michigan Traditional Arts Program. These groups and MCACA Partner organizations are promoting this new grant program and providing local assistance.

The Michigan State University Museum is managing the initiative, coordinated by Julie Avery, assistant curator of history and coordinator for information and museum services. Avery serves on the MACAA board, participated in the Midwest Rural Arts Forum last July and is a member of the Michigan planning team preparing for this July's forum in Hancock.

MCACC announced the program in December. Proposals for the first year of the pilot program are due March 30 for projects implemented between May and September. The timeline for the second pilot year will be announced in March.

For further information and guidelines, contact the Rural Arts & Culture Program office at 517/432-3358 or by e-mail. Information is also available on the MSU Museum's web site.

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