Sarah Banks, the administrative director of Tear Caps Workshops, during a spoon carving workshop led by Ken Wise on Saturday, May 14, 2022. Brianna Soukup

STATE — Arts organizations throughout the state may be eligible for grants from the Maine Community Foundation (MaineCF). Three MaineCF grant programs, Maine Expansion Arts, Belvedere Traditional Handcrafts, and the Maine Theater Fund. are now accepting online proposals from arts organizations and for arts-related programming throughout the state.

Maine Expansion Arts supports arts organizations serving rural communities and those led by and/or serving Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). Belvedere Traditional Handcrafts supports projects and organizations that promote traditional handcrafts such as fiber arts, ceramics, basketry, jewelry, glass arts, woodwork, leather, metal crafts, and traditional Native American handcrafts. Maine Theater supports nonprofit professional and community theaters in the production and presentation of live theater.

The deadline to submit proposals for all three grant programs is 11:59 a.m. on Thursday, September 15. To apply, visit mainecf.org. Criteria for Maine Expansion Arts grants have been expanded this year so BIPOC organizations with annual operating budgets of more than $250,000 may apply. A surprise gift of $2.5 million in 2021 increased the budget for this grant program.  Expansion Arts applicants in 2022 may submit proposals for a maximum of $10,000, double the amount in previous years. Grant program criteria also were expanded to better achieve its two goals: funding for rural arts organizations and projects, and funding for BIPOC and BIPOC- serving organizations to support the arts and artists.

In 2021, MaineCF awarded 17 Expansion Arts grants totaling $139,090 to organizations and projects ranging from hands-on workshops to cultural preservation and community art events. Examples of last year’s grantees include High Peaks Creative Council, for the construction of toboggans with students and teaching artists at Phillips Elementary School in Farmington; for Waldo Theater to create an in-school arts education program, and for the Maine Highlands Senior Center in Dover-Foxcroft to start a winter arts series.

Belvedere Traditional Handcrafts in 2021 awarded $107,901 in grants to 12 organizations and one additional grant from a donor-advised fund. Last year’s grantees include Penobscot Marine Museum in Searsport, for a series of workshops spotlighting local Maine traditional fiber arts with hands-on and historical components; Trenton Elementary School, to start an annual school Maine Arts Festival to introduce students to traditional and Native handcrafts and connect students to local artists; and H.O.M.E in Orland, to purchase supplies for the Homeless Shelter Quilt Project.

For more information about the Maine Expansion Arts and Belvedere Traditional Handcrafts grant programs, contact Senior Program Officer Leslie Goode at [email protected] or (207) 412-2002.

Twenty professional and community theater companies throughout the state were awarded a total of $93,800 in 2021 from the Maine Theater Fund. Priorities of the fund include adult theater, dramas, and organizations that have not recently received funding. Grantees include Center Theatre in Dover-Foxcroft to upgrade its sound equipment; for the 2022 season of Everyman Repertory Theatre in Rockport; and LA Public Theatre in Lewiston to reopen after the pandemic closure and produce a three-play subscription series.

For more information about the Maine Theater Fund, contact Program Officer Katie Howard at [email protected] or (207) 412-0832. For more eligibility, guidelines and to apply, visit www.mainecf.org. Lists of all grantees are available at www.mainecf.org/recentgrants.

The Maine Community Foundation brings people and resources together to build a better Maine. MaineCF has offices in Ellsworth and Portland with additional staff located across the state. To learn more about the foundation, visit www.mainecf.org.

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