Skip Navigation

Grants and Services of the West Virginia Commission on the Arts

West Virginia Division of Culture and History


General Guidelines and Policies


1. Organizations must be exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code and be chartered in West Virginia as a non-profit organization for at least one year prior to application. Organizations currently in the process of obtaining 501(c) status may use a qualifying non-profit as a fiscal agent for arts related projects.

2. Local, county and state agencies are also eligible. They must demonstrate that the arts programs they are sponsoring serve the community-at-large and are not restricted to special populations

3. Public or private educational institutions (such as elementary or secondary schools) and school boards are eligible. Private educational institutions must be non-profit and meet the tax-exempt requirements listed above.

4. Public and private colleges and universities are eligible to apply. They must demonstrate arts service to the community-at-large with no restriction to campus or special populations. Colleges and universities may apply for a maximum of 25% of eligible costs as outlined in this book. Colleges and universities are not eligible to apply to the Cultural Facilities and Capital Resources grant category.

A copy of the determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service recognizing the applicant as a non-profit organization must be included with each application. State, local and county governmental agencies must include a letter from an appropriate official certifying the organization as a governmental unit. All applicants must include a Federal Employee Identification Number (FEIN) that is issued in the name of the applicant organization. Any questions of eligibility should be directed to the arts staff prior to application.

5. Individual artists are eligible to apply to the Professional Development Grants Program and the Fellowship Program only. Individual artists must be eighteen years-old or older and a resident of West Virginia for at least one year prior to the deadline for application. Full-time students are not eligible to apply.

Note: The amount of fee support any one artist or performance company can receive through WVCA grant programs in a fiscal year is limited. The fee cap is based on a percentage of total funds allocated for touring. The cap may change yearly depending on budget allocations.

Funding requirements

Funds provided through grants and services of the WVCA should leverage local funds for artists fees and to advance the organizational capacity of community arts groups. This support will never be the “turn key” solution to making arts happen in each community. As with the successful operation of a business or service, the fiscal health of the arts will be found in a mixture of support from private donors, business and corporations, foundation, and government grants. Support from government is not likely to provide the greater part of the support needed to sustain the arts in a single year or to perpetuate programming for the future. By combining help from WVCA and monitoring the flow of arts support from other sources, the governance of arts groups will have improved control on their decisions and contribute to their success.

NO applicant will receive grants that total more than 25% of the operating budget of the organization’s last completed fiscal year.

Matching Fund Requirements

Grant awards are made in response to local community support for arts events, programs and projects. Applicants must identify resources for matching funds within their application at the time of submission. Fund raising planning, letters committing matching support, and a history of earned income success are reviewed to determine an organization’s capacity to complete a proposed project.

All grants require a 50% match by the applicant organization in cash from other sources, with the exception of the grants qualifying for the Distressed County Pilot Program. Check matching requirements under each grant category description. No in-kind matches are accepted.

Distressed County Pilot Program

Beginning with the Fiscal Year 2006 (July 1, 2005—June 30, 2006) the WVCA will offer a pilot program to encourage access to arts grants in West Virginia counties identified by the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) as distressed. These counties are determined to have indicators such as high unemployment, low per capita income and other economic characteristics that would make a dollar-for-dollar cash match a deterrent to groups seeking arts funding. A list of ARC counties can be found at or by contacting Arts Staff.

First time applicants for Community Arts Project Support and Arts in Education grants from counties on the ARC list, or organizations in the same counties that have not applied for WVCA funding for three consecutive years are eligible for a reduced matching dollar opportunity. These grant applications will permit a request for 75% of the total project eligible costs and 25% in cash from other sources will satisfy the matching dollar requirement. Although not part of the required cash match, the budget narrative should describe in-kind support at a minimum value of 25% of the total project to demonstrate strong community support. Grantees will be limited to three years of grants at the lower matching cash requirement. The pilot program will be reviewed by the WVCA after three grant periods.

Please Note

1. Grant Payments: To the extent possible, the delivery of grant award monies is scheduled to accommodate the grantee’s program requirements. Since grants are based on anticipated state revenue, and not existing funds, grant amounts could be reduced at any time during the grant period.

2. Credit Line: Funds awarded by the West Virginia Commission on the Arts are public monies. Grantees must include the following statement in all publicity materials related to the funded program: “This program is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.” Appropriate logos are made available with your grant award packet and online.

3. Final Reports: All grant recipients should note that all final reports are due no later than 30 days after the end of the grant. No future applications will be accepted from your organization until the WVCA receives your completed final report.