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Grants and Services of the West Virginia Commission on the Arts

West Virginia Division of Culture and History


Technical Assistance and Opportunities for Artists and Organizations

In addition to the many grant programs offering funding to arts organizations, artists, schools and communities, the West Virginia Commission on the Arts offers technical assistance and opportunities in a number of ways.

As community arts organizations and artists’ careers develop over time, their needs for information and resources change. Technical services and communication about access to new resources are vital for the efficient operation of arts organizations and for improved success for artists and their connections to community and markets. Your frequent contact with Arts Staff to access new resources is welcomed and encouraged.

Peer Assistance Network

Application Deadline: Ongoing

Forms Required: Peer Assistance Network Application Form

Eligibility: Non-profit arts and community organizations that provide arts experiences for community members are eligible for up to two FREE advisory sessions per fiscal year. Non-profit organizations may also apply on the behalf of artists in their community.

Funding Level: The advisory sessions are provided free of charge to the applicant. The advisor is provided a stipend and travel costs.

Matching Requirements: None required

Letter of Intent Required: None required

Program purpose: To increase the stability and capacity of West Virginia arts organizations. By exchanging advice among peers who manage similar programs and projects, the Peer Assistance Network provides a support structure and communication network for arts organizations. This program allows highly skilled arts leaders to share their expertise and strengthen the overall arts community in West Virginia.

Program description: The Peer Assistance Network provides access to arts educators, arts administrators, and artists from across the state who have received facilitation training and have areas of expertise to share. These advisors can be scheduled to come to your community to meet with your board of directors to facilitate and advise. Areas of assistance include audience development, fundraising, budgeting, strategic planning, board development, marketing, arts in education projects, technical theater needs, diversity and accessibility training, organizational assessment, artist cooperatives and computer uses among others.

Special Instructions: A Peer Assistance Network Directory is available for more detailed program description. Peer Assistance Application Forms are available online and by contacting staff.

Challenge America WV State Partnership Grant

Application Deadline: February 1

Forms Required: Challenge America/WV State Partnership Grant Application

Eligibility: Non-profit WV Arts Organizations with current WVDCH/WVCA grants or past successful grant administration track records with proven success of incorporating artists and arts projects in community development, health or social improvement, and economic development programs.

College and university arts faculty and departments that present community outreach and arts in education opportunities to the region surrounding their institution.

NOTE: Non-profits without arts track records should partner with arts organizations to introduce programming to their mission.

Major or Mid-Size Institutions, colleges and universities, and organizations with previous Challenge America awards must make particularly strong cases that their proposals meet the goals of the program at the highest standards to be competitive for funding.

Funding Level: Individual projects will be limited to a maximum amount of $15,000.

Matching Requirements: 50% cash match is required. No administrative expenses can be paid with the Federal portion of the award.

Letter of Intent Required: All applicants by December 1.

Program purpose: The Challenge America grant program is an opportunity to strengthen America’s communities through the unique power of the arts. For more than 35 years the NEA has helped build a network to place the creative vitality of art experiences at the center of community life for all Americans. Challenge America focuses new resources to expand the reach and impact of NEA activities in every Congressional District.

Program description: The focus of Challenge America is on arts education and outreach documentation and evaluation, with funds available for projects in the areas of:
Arts Education
Access to the Arts
Positive Alternatives for Youth
Cultural Heritage/Preservation
Community Arts Development

Special Instructions: This program requires extended guidelines not included in this book. Contact arts staff for more information.

Training and Travel Fund

Application Deadline: No later than six weeks prior to the event. Funds are limited. Early application is encouraged.

Forms Required: Training and Travel Application Form

Eligibility: Any West Virginia working artist, arts administrator and or arts educator. Individual applicants may receive one Training and Travel grant per fiscal year. No more than three staff members from any one organization may receive Training and Travel grants during a fiscal year.

Funding Level:
• 1st time attendance at an event - up to 50% of eligible expenses up to $300
• 2nd time attendance - up to 50% of eligible expenses up to $200
• 3rd time attendance - up to 50% of eligible expenses up to $100
Funds are limited to three times attending the same event.
Registration fees are not eligible.

Matching Requirements: Applicant must provide 50% cash match

Letter of Intent Required: None required.

Program purpose: To provide support for professional development travel costs. The program encourages artistic exposure to new works, especially experimental or avant-garde works, and work by rural and culturally diverse artists. The program encourages networking through such exposure.

Program description: The program provides funding support for artists, arts administrators and arts educators of all-volunteer or professionally staffed non-profit arts organizations to attend seminars, conferences, workshops, and showcases of national significance or importance to their field of expertise outside of the state of West Virginia. Events of a national scope that are scheduled within the state of West Virginia will be considered for funding.

Special Instructions: This program requires extended guidelines and application forms not included in this booklet. Contact staff for more information.

New Initiatives

The WVCA updates and adjusts it grants programs and technical services to meet constituent interests. The WVCA will occasionally initiate a pilot project or special initiative to serve a particular program area or technical assistance need. The initiative may be in the form of workshops, conferences, publications, or special public events. You will be notified in several ways about such special initiatives: by memorandum, email, via the WVDCH website, and in the quarterly newsletter ArtWorks.

Initiative/Opportunity Grants

The WVCA has allocated a limited fund to respond to special grant requests outside of the regularly scheduled application deadlines. The primary motive to seeking an Initiative/Opportunity grant must be to present new or extended arts experiences for the public. Projects that support innovative approaches and serve special audiences are encouraged.

Requests will require complete applications and must meet the general eligibility and matching fund requirements for Community Arts Project Support and/or Arts in Education grant programs. The maximum Initiative/Opportunity Grant award is a $5,000. Requests for information and to discuss proposals, contact Director of Arts, 304 558-0240, ext. 721. The WVCA approves all awards.

Arts in Education Artist Roster

The AIE Artist Roster is a listing of professional West Virginia teaching artists who are available to participate in Arts in Education Programs. The Roster was created as a resource tool for teachers, schools, arts organizations and communities. Working with artists gives students and others the opportunity to learn about and participate in the making of art.

The information in the roster appears as provided by the artists with minimal editing. Roster artists are professional working artists who are currently active in their field and have completed the application process with the Arts Section. Criteria for submission into the roster include: mastery of artistic discipline and quality of work; history of successful teaching or residency experience; documented plan for teacher work with students prior to and following the artist’s residency.

Teachers and organizations should contact the artist directly to discuss and plan projects. Contact the artist for a complete list of programs offered.

Sponsors are not required to select artists from the roster to be eligible for funding support. Teaching artists interested in appearing in future rosters should contact the AIE Coordinator.

Download the AIE Roster book in Adobe Acrobat format (800K). Right click (or Option-click) the link to download and save to your computer.

West Virginia Juried Exhibition

The West Virginia Juried Exhibition is a biennial statewide exhibition for visual and craft artists. The program is managed by the Arts Staff of the WV Division of Culture and History. Nationally-known out-of-state artists, curators and contemporary art historians jury this show. Jurors also select works that will receive purchase awards and merit awards totaling $33,000. The WVCA funds these awards. The exhibition is held at The Cultural Center in Charleston. Select pieces travel to other exhibition venues across the state. Artists must have a current entry to the WV Artist Register to apply to the Juried Exhibition. Contact Arts Staff at 304 558-0240, ext.128 for more information.

WV Artists’ Register

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History maintains a Visual Artists’ Register for state artists. Visual artists and craftspeople can become part of the Visual Artists’ Register by filling out an application and returning it with six slides of current work. The Register list is made available upon request for a fee and the slide file is available for viewing, free of charge, at the Cultural Center in Charleston, WV. Gallery owners, corporations and individuals have used the Artists’ Register to contact artists or view slides of their work.

Applications for the Artists’ Register are available by calling 304-558-0220, ext. 128. To request a copy of the Artist Register list or labels, call 304-558-0220 ext. 124.


Artworks is the free quarterly newsletter from the WVDCH/WVCA.
Subscriptions are available upon request.

Artworks includes information on West Virginia artists and arts organizations, leadership in the arts, accessibility, community arts, arts in education, diversity, arts business best practices, WVCA programs and services, policy changes, legislative news regarding the arts and local/regional/national arts news, resources and opportunities.

Proposals of non-fiction articles (500-750 words) and black and white photos or line drawings featuring WV artists and arts organizations in performing, visual or literary arts are welcomed. Unique and successful community arts projects and new trends in the arts scene are of particular interest. For author/artist guidelines and terms of payment contact arts staff.

Need Help?

Grant writing workshops

The arts staff offers grant writing workshops on an annual basis. Workshops can include an overview of the grants and services and technical assistance programs of the WVCA or can be more focused to include topics of interest to the groups requesting service. Overview workshops are generally scheduled in November and December to help prepare for the upcoming grant deadlines. Please contact Arts Staff if you are interested in hosting a grant writing workshop or have a more focused need in your area.

All workshops are listed in the free quarterly newsletter, ArtWorks and information is available on the agency website at Peer Assistance Network advisors are also available to lead sessions on grant writing and project development.

Staff Services

The Arts Section staff is available for consultation and technical assistance on projects and grant applications by phone, email and personal visits (by appointment).

Arts staff can:
• provide clarification on specific guideline areas
• offer advice on additional resources available
• provide referral to other state agencies
• provide a sounding board for potential projects
• provide preliminary review of grant applications

Please keep in mind that arts staff are advisors only, they are not decision-makers on any grant application. Their responsibility is to advise applicants, review panels, and the West Virginia Commission on the Arts on potential programs and subsequent applications. When Arts Staff provides advice on applications, they do so to clarify guidelines and publications of the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.

Here’s how we can help:
1. Site visits: Staff periodically makes site visits to WVCA funded projects across the state. Staff will notify your organization if we are planning a visit to one of your projects or will be in your area. Please et us know if you are interested in having staff review a specific program or project.

2. Project development: Staff is available by phone or scheduled visit to your community. We can work with you or your organization to develop a project or potential application. Please contact the staff person working in your area of interest to briefly outline the scope of your project. This allows staff to gather information and resources that might be of value to your project prior to the meeting.

3. Review of applications during Grace Period: A Grace Period has been established by the WVCA for those applicants who wish to submit their final application at least one month prior to the postmark deadline. Applicants who apply within this time period will receive notification of any missing requirements and an identified date for submission of those missing items. The advantage to this method of submission is the ability to submit documentation after the fact. Any application submitted at the postmark deadline will not receive notification of missing items.

4. Review of draft applications: Staff is available to review drafts of applications that are submitted within two weeks of the postmark deadline. Draft applications (Marked DRAFT) include the narratives and budgets for your application and may be submitted by email, fax or regular mail. Staff will review the application and provide written comments on all submitted materials. Applicants may also request a phone review to allow for more discussion.