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Sarah Banks, 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). MaineCF’s three grant programs, Maine Expansion Arts, Belvedere Traditional Handcrafts, and the Maine Theater Fund. is now accepting online proposals from arts organizations and for arts-related programs across the province.

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 handicrafts such as fiber arts, ceramics, basketry, jewelry, glass art, woodworking, leather, metal crafts, and traditional Native American handicrafts. Maine Theater supports professional and non-profit community theaters in the production and presentation of live theater.

The closing date for submitting proposals for the three grant programs is 11:59 a.m. on Thursday, September 15. To apply, visit mainecf.org. The criteria for Maine Extension Arts grants has been expanded this year so BIPOC organizations with annual operating budgets of more than $250,000 can apply. An unexpected gift of $2.5 million in 2021 increased the budget for this grant program. Extension Arts applicants in 2022 can submit proposals for a maximum of $10,000, double the amount in previous years. Grant program criteria were also expanded to better achieve its two aims: funding for rural arts organizations and projects, and funding for organizations that serve BIPOC and BIPOC to support the arts and artists.

In 2021, MaineCF awarded 17 Expanding 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 building toboggan with students and teaching artists at Phillips Elementary School in Farmington; for the Waldo Theater to create an arts education program at the school, and for the Maine Highlands Senior Center in Dover-Foxcroft to start the 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 the Penobscot Maritime Museum in Searsport, for a series of workshops focusing on traditional local Maine fiber arts with practical and historical components; Trenton Elementary School, to start the school’s annual Maine Arts Festival to introduce students to traditional and Native crafts and connect students with local artists; and HOME 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.

A total of $93,800 in 2021 was awarded by the Maine Theater Fund to twenty professional and community theater companies across the state. The fund’s priorities include theater for adults, plays, and organizations that have not received funding recently. Grantees include Center Theater in Dover-Foxcroft to upgrade its audio equipment; for the 2022 season of the Everyman Repertory Theater in Rockport; and the LA Public Theater in Lewiston to reopen after a pandemic shutdown 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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