As part of the $2 trillion federal CARES Act passed by Congress to provide economic relief to the nation during the coronavirus pandemic, $75 million each was allocated to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to assist the many organizations operating within the cultural sector that preserve history, inspire creative thinking, nurture the arts, foster understanding between citizens, and maintain the nation’s identity as a diverse, free society.
Of that amount, 40% is designated to be divided among the state arts and humanities councils for distribution in their respective states. These councils are well positioned to work with local arts, humanities and cultural organizations that are struggling to retain staff, remain in operation and serve their respective communities due to this crisis.
Currently, the Nebraska Arts Council (NAC) and Humanities Nebraska (HN) are in the process of setting up systems for allocating CARES Act funds to arts and humanities organizations of all sizes throughout Nebraska. Both councils intend to grant out 100% of the funds received from NEA and NEH in order to maximize the aid that is provided to cultural organizations in the state. The funding is intended for general operating support, not for specific programs or projects.
Suzanne Wise, executive director of the Nebraska Arts Council noted, “Financial support for arts and humanities organizations is important not only to the organizations themselves, but to Nebraska’s recovery as a whole.” She added. “We and Humanities Nebraska have a long history of collaboration and partnership, and we are happy to work together in this effort as well.”
“We are pleased to assist with the distribution of CARES Act funding to our state and local partners,” stated Christopher Sommerich, executive director of Humanities Nebraska. Continued “With the financial challenges that so many are facing during the coronavirus pandemic, we want to align with our colleagues at the Nebraska Arts Council and do everything we can to preserve and support the cultural infrastructure of Nebraska as a critical component of community vitality.”
Both HN and NAC intend to have grantmaking processes and applications in place by the end of April and will be awarding grants within weeks. When finalized, information about CARES grants will be posted on the NAC website at www.artscouncil.nebraska.gov/grants and on the HN website at humanitiesnebraska.org/grants. The councils are also collaborating on a grant workshop webinar to answer questions from potential applicants.
The Nebraska Arts Council (NAC), a state agency, provides numerous grants, services and special initiatives that help sustain and promote the arts throughout Nebraska. NAC is supported by the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Nebraska Legislature and National Endowment for the Arts.