Hampton, SC — The Hampton County Arts Council is pleased to announce they have been approved to receive an American Rescue Plan grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to help the arts and cultural sector recover from the pandemic. The small, rural arts agency is recommended to receive $150,000 and may use this funding to ensure equitable pay for artists and administrators, support salaries and wages, as well as contributing to other operating costs and maintaining facilities. Money is also provided to marketing and promotional efforts to encourage attendance and participation in Arts programming. In total, the NEA will award grants totaling $57,750,000 to 567 arts organizations in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Washington, DC.
“Our nation’s arts sector has been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Endowment for the Arts’ American Rescue Plan funding will help arts organizations, such as Hampton County Arts Council, to rebuild,” said Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, chair of the NEA. “The arts are crucial in helping America’s communities heal, unite, and inspire, as well as essential to our nation’s economic recovery.”
"We are elated that the NEA reviewed our proposal and decided to support our work with the maximum available award." said Heather Bruemmer, Executive Director of the Hampton County Rural Arts Development Initiative. The Rural Arts Development Initiative encompasses all of the joint programs of Hampton County and its affiliated nonprofit, Hampton Friends of the Arts, Inc.
"Our arts program was just getting started when the pandemic hit. Everyone else closed their doors but we got creative, spread people out, and kept our doors open. As a result we were excluded from most prior private and government grant opportunities, which focused on organizations that were shuttered. This NEA grant was highly competitive and we view this as a validation of the quality of the Arts experiences we have offered in a period of unprecedented challenges. For our rural community arts program, this money will be a game changer."
Bruemmer initially submitted her proposal for the grant in August of 2021. The proceeds well provide salary support to County employees that work at the Art Center and Palmetto Theater, as well as monthly funding for visiting artists, teachers, and performers. There is funding for a number of new murals and money to advertise Hampton County's offerings to communities on the coast to develop the area for arts tourism. Use of Grant funds is restricted to the items included in the proposal, but there are no matching funds required.
The American Rescue Plan was signed into law in March 2021 when the NEA was provided $135 million for the arts sector. The funding for organizations is the third installment providing more than $57.7 million for arts organizations. In April 2021, the NEA announced $52 million (40 percent) in ARP funding would be allocated to 62 state, jurisdictional, and regional arts organizations for regranting through their respective programs. The second installment in November 2021 allocated $20.2 million to 66 local arts agencies for subgranting to local artists and art organizations.
For more information on the NEA’s American Rescue Plan grants, including the full list of arts organizations funded in this announcement, visit www.arts.gov/COVID-19/the-american-rescue-plan.