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Grants and Services of the West Virginia Commission on the Arts

West Virginia Division of Culture and History



Welcome to the guide to the grants and services of the West Virginia Commission on the Arts (WVCA), the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. The WVCA promotes a thriving environment for creative expression and appreciation for the arts for the benefit of our citizens and visitors to our state. Through grants and technical services to artists, arts organizations, community non-profits and schools, the WVCA can reduce the cost of producing or presenting artistic events for the general public and in the schools; and prepare artists to advance artistically and arts organizations for growth and capacity for responsible arts management.

The WVCA believes that cultural activities are an important component of quality of life in communities across the state. The WVCA recognizes the important place the arts have in a complete education, civic advancement and community economic development. In addition, the arts add to our lives in many ways that are often characterized as “intangible.” It is important to remember that the arts contribute to the economy in ways that can be measured by analysis of “chains of economic activity centered on West Virginia’s Industry of Culture.”

When artists, arts organizations, and community development work together with the schools and local business groups, the advantages that result from this broad collaboration will contribute to increases in public benefits. The grants and technical assistance from the WVCA and the Arts Staff can be a part of your recipe for success.

The Arts Staff is ready to answer your questions and to work with you to take advantage of these services. We look forward to serving you!

The State Arts Agency for West Virginia

he WVDCH receives annual support from the West Virginia Legislature, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and private foundations for competitive arts grants approved by the WVCA.

The WVCA consists of fifteen members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the West Virginia Senate. A complete list of WVCA members can be found on the agency website at and in Artworks, our quarterly newsletter.

The WVCA advises the Director of the Arts Section of the WVDCH and approves and distributes grants and awards from federal and state funds to artists and arts organizations in the state.

Additional resources may be found at West Virginia Division of Culture and History through the programs and services of West Virginia State Archives, West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office, West Virginia State Museum and the Norman L. Fagan West Virginia State Theater.

The Arts Section of the WVDCH administers arts grant programs, provides technical assistance to artists and arts organizations, and works with the WVCA to set policy for the state’s arts programs.

The State Arts Plan

The State Arts Plan was created by the WVCA and the Arts Section to assist artists, arts providers and audiences across West Virginia. It was created through input from community meetings in which hundreds of interested people shared their needs and ideas about the arts. The plan is designed to make the creation and presentation of arts experiences possible across the state. Artists, people in all interested organizations, volunteer groups, funders, legislators, educators, administrators and leaders can use these guidelines to bring the arts to life in communities across the state.

The Plan consists of five goals for the planning period. The Arts Section has developed specific performance objectives for each goal and has developed an action plan to move the agency, and the state arts community, toward those objectives.

Our Mission

The mission of the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and the Arts Section of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History is to foster a fertile environment for the artistic, cultural, educational and economic development of the state.

Our Goals

1: Expand access to arts experiences in communities throughout West Virginia

2: Improve the quality, skill level and accountability of work done in all aspects of West Virginia’s arts community

3: Increase support and advocacy for Arts in Education and for lifelong learning in the arts

4: Increase access to new and existing arts funding resources

5: Increase public awareness and commitment to the value of arts and culture


The members of the West Virginia Commission on the Arts and the staff of the Arts Section believe that —

Active participation in and enjoyment of the arts are fundamental to sustaining the quality of community life and to providing a fertile and creative environment for businesses to flourish throughout the state.

Education about the arts is essential to the full enjoyment of arts experiences by children and adults alike and to the complete education of the state’s citizens.

Strong local arts organizations and a vibrant community of artists are essential for the arts to flourish in our everyday lives.

All West Virginians regardless of their age, abilities, cultural heritage or geographic location deserve a full range of quality arts experiences.

The WVCA and the Arts Section play a vital role in providing expertise, funding and other resources to West Virginia’s citizens.

The long-term success of the Arts Section’s work is built upon the agency’s ability to develop strong, consistent relationships with artists and arts organizations across West Virginia.

Planning Assumptions

The environment in which the Arts Section and WVCA operates has changed dramatically. It is assumed that the next three years will present the following challenges and opportunities:

Many constituents have expressed the need and desire to make arts experiences available in their communities. They realize that training and capacity building will be necessary and want such resources to be made available by the Arts Section staff.

West Virginia offers a distinctly unique cultural experience. In addition to mainstream art forms, West Virginia has a rich heritage of music, art, dance and other forms of expression that are different from those offered in other parts of the country. As a result, West Virginia will grow as an arts destination.

West Virginia is growing as a tourist destination. We are within an easy drive of more than 75% of the nation’s population. As more people come within our borders, the likelihood increases that they will be attracted to, and engaged in, arts activities offered across the state.

The population in West Virginia is increasing in some regions (especially in those parts of our state that border other states) and in certain sectors (particularly the retired). In many cases, this group of people has lived in more urban areas and has regularly participated in arts of all kinds; the group generally has more disposable income available; and will seek more frequent and higher quality arts experiences.

West Virginia now has the oldest population of all 50 states. This graying phenomenon affects both arts providers and the audiences that have historically supported them.

People of all ages are engaged in performing arts, as well as in attending the resulting concert or play. The arts provide an effective vehicle for community development, intergenerational activity, pride and dream building. Participation has become highly valued. As family and community life continue to be under stress, cultural life provides relief and creates the com-mon threads from which we are able to weave meaningful lives together.

The steady, nationwide decline of interest in and appreciation for the arts due to lack of exposure in schools and to relentless pressure from entertainment and commercial art will cause increased competition for leisure dollars and attention.

Due to geographic isolation, the abundance of rural communities, a wide range of regional cultural preferences and other demographic factors, significant differences exist across the state in both accessibility to and availability of arts programs. Statewide population of 1.8 million is small. Disparities in income, education, and exposure make it even more difficult to create large constituencies with shared goals, who could generate the momentum necessary to make programs affordable and available across the state.

It has become extremely difficult for individuals to make a living by creating art. Issues such as insurance, pensions, competitive marketing, budgeting and financial planning become obstacles. Developing apprenticeship programs and finding ways to perpetuate skills proves difficult. Resources must be directed towards changing these realities.

Arts in Education is marked by disconnects between bureaucratic jargon and the actual delivery of services and programs into schools. As it tries to face other challenges placed before it, the Department of Education is not able to make Arts in Education a priority.

A successful effort to improve facilities across West Virginia has resulted in an increase of buildings in excellent condition to serve the arts sector. However, organizational infrastructure development has not kept pace with capital spending. Arts organizations need support for staff, maintenance, operations, and presenting in their new buildings. Ready sources for these purposes are difficult to identify and access.

Although it is impossible to predict, funding from state and NEA sources may change in the foreseeable future, which may reduce the amount of operational and refunding dollars available for the WVCA.

Review Criteria

1. Degree to which the project fulfills the WVCA mission and goals

2. Artistic integrity and quality
• Artistic merit
• Artistic vision/mission of the organization
• Ability of project to contribute to artistic growth

3. Management
• Complete and accurate application
• Adequate planning and management skills to assure success
• Balanced and clear budget
• Commitment of local funds
• Marketing plan with well defined target audiences
• Effective means of evaluation

4. Community involvement/access
• Potential for impact on community or participants
• Evidence of efforts to identify, include and benefit rural, under-served and culturally diverse populations; students, senior
citizens and individuals with disabilities
• Evidence of cooperative planning/partnering with other local
organizations or individuals
• Accessibility of project to individuals with disabilities
identification of universal design

5. Need/equitable distribution of WVCA Funds

What the WVCA does NOT fund

Annual programs previously funded locally
• Clinicians for elementary and secondary arts programs
• Teaching positions
• Support for a regular art instructor who has a set schedule of classes
• Country, pop (see glossary) or rock bands
• Fundraisers or projects associated with fundraising
• Social dances
• Historical research
• Historical re-enactments
• General operating costs (except in major and mid-sized institution
support categories)
• Programs receiving funding through the legislature
• Administrative costs
• Paid advertising costs (television, radio and print media)
• Royalty fees
• Costumes
• Hospitality expenses
• Music or instrument purchases (Except for Cultural Facilities and
Capital Resources Grants)
• Space rental
• Fees for student artists
• School-based student awards, competitions or exhibits
• Travel expenses for school groups to perform or compete (marching
bands, drama clubs, choruses)
• Non-arts related projects
• Indirect costs (see glossary)
• Costs of publishing or self-publishing
• Printing (other than prospectus or catalogs for WV artists)

Other State Appropriations

Private non-profit organizations are not eligible to apply under any program in these guidelines if funding requests are made directly to the legislature for the upcoming grant year related to arts programming that is otherwise fundable within the WVCA’s grant program.

In instances where an organization receives other state money, whether directly or indirectly allocated to it by the legislature, for any purpose covered by the support programs in these guidelines, the Director of Arts will take such appropriations into consideration when advising the WVCA for evaluating applications and awarding grants.

Legal Requirements

All or part of any WVCA grant award may include federal funds. This makes any WVCA Grant recipient a federal subgrantee and subject to all federal laws. The federal government requires grantees to provide assurances they will comply with the following:

Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990
Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988
Part 505 of Title 29: Regulations Relating to Labor
Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act
Age Discrimination Act of 1975
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
Regulations Relating to Debarment and Suspension (45 C.F.R. pt. 1154)
National Environmental Policy Act
National Historic Preservation Act

Additional information about legal requirements are available from the Arts Staff and the National Endowment for the Arts at: