On July 16, 2020, The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) announced the approval of $5,623,159 FY21 annual budget appropriation for AHCMC grants and administration and an additional $3,250,000 special appropriation for COVID-19 Relief Funding by the Montgomery County, MD Council. The $5.6M appropriation represents the County Executive Marc Elrich’s recommendation of stable funding over the FY20 budget and the $3.25M supports creative and scholastic professionals and arts and humanities organizations struggling financially due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Around the country, difficult and highly impactful decisions are being made regarding continued arts and cultural funding every day. Organizations navigate reduced funding opportunities; local arts agencies and government cultural offices face elimination and severe budget reductions; arts administrators and individual artists and scholars brave continuing income loss from event cancellations, furloughs and layoffs; and communities cope with the resulting loss of services and programs. However when discussing his support for the creative sector, County Executive Marc Elrich stated “I have always been supportive and I’m going to continue to be supportive. I don’t look at the arts as the first place to cut. They have done a good job of making a case that the arts provide economic vitality and there’s a lot of other revenue that is generated in other places of the county via the arts.”
The $3.25M COVID-19 Relief Funding was appropriated from the Federal CARES Act funding received by Montgomery County to preserve jobs and provide economic assistance for workers, families, and small businesses. “The arts, like our education community, help to shape and expand our thoughts, beliefs and values for those it touches,” said Councilmember Craig Rice. “Art plays a vital role in enhancing the vitality of Montgomery County not just economically but also in the quality of life for our residents. We need to ensure our arts and humanities organizations and artists know that the county recognizes their importance and supports them during these very difficult times.”
Montgomery County Government and AHCMC will host a virtual Town Hall on July 16 at 5 p.m. to receive input and feedback from the community on the design and execution of an Arts and Humanities COVID Relief Fund expected to launched in August 2020. Final program details, eligibility, and application processes will be finalized and released following the community input from the Town Hall.
“AHCMC is incredibly grateful for the leadership demonstrated by the County Executive and Montgomery County Council,” said Suzan Jenkins, CEO of the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County. “Because of their continuous support, not only we are we able to provide level funding in FY21, we are also able to administer additional support to help abate the disastrous impact on our highly vulnerable sector.”
AHCMC will award the FY21 appropriation in grants supporting the cultural sector. Grant funding is available for general operating support, creative project support, and capacity building projects. All funds will be distributed through AHCMC’s existing grant channels, which supports cultural institutions and individual artists and scholars across the entire county.
For a breakdown of the full appropriation, please click here.