About BAC Grassroots Grants

We’re thrilled to have granted an average of $15,000 every year for the past 40 years – over $1.4 Million total – to other nonprofits using the arts to do extraordinary work in Brunswick County through annual Grassroots Arts Grants. In one of our favorite partnership efforts, the Brunswick Arts Council serves as the Designated County Partner to the North Carolina Arts Council in awarding these funds. And organizations use these dollars to fund artists and carry the arts into every corner of this county. We’re proud of this investment in artists, and we invite you to read about our past recipients below. And take a look at our guidelines to see if your group is a good match to apply for a Grassroots Arts Grant.

For FY24-25 Grant Cycle there will be two separate applications – Grassroots (Standard).

For more information about the Grassroots Arts Grant Program, please contact us at execdir.brunswickartscouncil@gmail.com.

Grassroots Arts Program Grants

Grassroots Grants Guidelines

What is the Grassroots Arts Grants Program?

Grassroots Arts Grants support arts and cultural projects of community-based organizations, groups, collectives in Brunswick County. These grants provide partial funding to emerging professional artists and organizations of all populations whose projects promote an increase in arts activity and promise to enhance the cultural climate in communities and neighborhoods  where they live and operate. 

The primary criteria for a funded project are the creative vision for the project backed by sound infrastructure for its successful execution and the potential for resonance throughout the surrounding community. 

Grassroots Grants may support all forms of multidisciplinary projects including but not limited to: theater, dance, music, film, video, literary arts, visual arts and folk arts.  All funded projects in this category must be community-based and open to the general public.  Brunswick Arts Council (BAC) is the arts organization which is the Designated County Partner for this funding received from NC Arts Council.

Grant amount range between $500 and $3,000 dollars.

Click Here for Link to Guidelines PDF

Free Workshops to learn more about how to apply for this grant are being held this summer at Brunswick County Libraries.


WORKSHOPS 2024 – current list
  • June 20 – 5 PM Leland Library
  • June 28 – 2 PM Harper Library
  • July 9 – 5 PM Barbee Library
  • July 13 – 1 PM Rourk Library
  • July 16 – 10 AM SW Brunswick Library


Who is Eligible to Apply to the Grassroots Arts Grants Program?

  • Applicant organization, fiscal sponsor, or partner organization must be a governmental or quasi-governmental entity, a tribal organization or a North Carolina State non-profit incorporated organization, or have a 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt status. (See “Proving Non-profit Status” section below for clarification.) 
  • Applicant organization, fiscal sponsor, or partner organization must produce or present arts and cultural programming serving residents of Brunswick County. 
  • Applicant organization, fiscal sponsor, or partner organization must have a board of directors or a governing body that meets to determine and review policy.
  • Applicant organization, fiscal sponsor, or partner organization must conduct all activities in a way that does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religious belief, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.  Individual artists may apply directly under this program by (1) enlisting an eligible non-profit organization as a “fiscal sponsor” or (2) partnering with an eligible organization that shares its goals for the community. (See the “Fiscal Sponsorship and Partner Organizations” section below for more information.) 
  • Applicant organization or fiscal sponsor must be legally located (i.e., not a seasonal resident or local branch of an organization registered elsewhere) in the county where the activity will take place. If working with a partner organization, both application organization/group and partner organization must be based in the county where the proposed activity is taking place. 
  • Previous grantees must have submitted ALL required final reports from the previous cycle.  
  • A first-time applicant must attend an Informational Meeting or meet one-on-one with BAC staff  

 Grassroots Arts Project Requirements

  • Project must occur in the same county as the applying artist, fiscal sponsor,                                                             or organization’s legal residence.  
  • Projects must be completed during the funding cycle.  


What the Grassroots Arts Grant Can Cover?   

  • Artist fees and travel
  • Marketing and publicity costs 
  • Supplies and materials (i.e. space rental, equipment rental, costumes, sets, props, music rental) needed for the execution of the program 
  • Limited operating expenses for arts organizations only


  What the Grant CANNOT Cover

  • NC State Agencies and departments (including NC schools)
  • Public universities, colleges; and public,  private or parochial secondary and elementary schools
  • DCP site Staff or board members (see Conflict of Interest section)
  • Art Supplies for general operating
  • NCAC applicants, including fiscally sponsored applicants that have applied to NCAC in the most recent cycle.
  • Projects involving partners that apply directly to NCAC
  • Non-incorporated chapters of organizations whose “parent” is incorporated outside the DCP area
  • Start-up or seed funding for the establishment of a new organization 
  • General operating expenses
  • Requests greater than applicant’s project expenses minus total project income
  • Past sub-grantees that have failed to submit final reports
  • Operating expenses of privately owned facilities (e.g. homes or studios)
  • Events that take place in private homes
  • Non-arts activity including: 
    • Galas, benefits or fundraising events including entertainment costs for receptions, food or fundraising events. 
    • Entertainment such as balloons, clowns, magicians 
    • Projects that are recreational, therapeutic, rehabilitative or religious in nature including at risk/social service programs when the purpose is primarily for rehabilitative, therapeutic or worship
  • Acquisitions of works of art
  • Contingency funds 
  • Permanent equipment or capital improvements
  • Creation of textbooks or classroom materials
  • Lobbying expenses
  • Programs in which children are used as professional artists (paid a fee) 
  • Re-grants by applicants to fund other activities
  • Cash prizes, juried shows, fellowships, scholarships and other awards to students
  • Stand-alone assembly programs, single performances, or one-time visits to cultural institutions
  • Programs for which selected students are taken out of regular classes or are self-selected for participation. 
  • College-level courses, contests or performing groups
  • School band activities or equipment
  • Food or beverages
  • Individual Applicants

More Frequently Asked Questions

If I have received funding in the past, may I apply again?

Of course! If you have received funding in the past, you are eligible to apply again. However, prior funding does not guarantee continued support. Each application is reviewed in the context of the current program guidelines, funding priorities, and evaluative criteria. The review panel will also consider compliance with the previous contract and reporting requirements.

When reviewing projects that have received funding in the past, priority will be given to projects that are able to successfully demonstrate growth, artistic expansion, community support, and/or continued community need.


How much of the total project is the grant intended to cover?

Grants are not intended to cover the complete cost of the proposed project. In recent years, grants for Grassroots Arts projects have ranged from $500 to $5,000. Historically, the average grant has been approximately $1,200.

Grassroots Arts Grants should fund minimum 50% of the project’s total cash expenses of the total cost of your proposed project. Your project budget must demonstrate that a minimum of 50% of the proposed project income comes from other cash funding sources.  In-kind contributions must be noted in the narrative.


May I apply for funding for more than one project?

A single applicant is able to submit up more than one application.  If you have more than one project, it is best to discuss with BAC how to format the grant as one application or in separate applications.


Must I attend an informational workshop?

Attending an informational workshop is required for all first-time applicants and highly encouraged for previous grantees. In lieu of attending a workshop, an applicant may meet face-to-face with the BAC Grassroots Coordinator. The purpose is to give a personalized overview of the Grassroots program and to familiarize the applicant with the grant guidelines. It also gives applicants the opportunity to consult with the BAC coordinator on the specifics of their projects and to get feedback before applying.

Non-incorporated collectives wishing to apply for the Grassroots Arts Grants may apply through enlisting the sponsorship of an eligible non-profit or by partnering with an eligible organization.


What if my organization or group is not a nonprofit?

Fiscal Sponsorship:

A fiscal sponsor must be a non-profit organization in the county where the arts activity is taking place, which meets the requirements listed above. The fiscal sponsor will receive the grant funds and distribute them to the non-incorporated collective. An organization may serve as a fiscal sponsor for an unlimited number of applicants.

A letter of agreement between the two parties must be submitted with the application stating the willingness of the supporting organization to fulfill the obligations and duties of serving as fiscal and administrative agent for a grant award. In addition, the letter of agreement should specify the roles of each party.

A direct Grassroots applicant may serve as a fiscal sponsor and may sponsor more than one applicant. Direct NCAC applicants, however, may not serve as a fiscal sponsor for Grassroots applications.

NOTE: Sponsoring organizations must check with their accountants/financial personnel regarding tax liabilities and IRS reporting relative to sponsoring projects that are not directly related to the sponsoring organization’s mission. Sponsoring organizations are responsible for all IRS required reporting including the creation and distribution of 1099 forms where applicable.

Partner/Collaborative Organizations:

An individual artist or collective may also apply directly for Grassroots funds if working in partnership with a community-based non-profit. A letter of commitment from the community-based non-profit partner confirming the partnership with the applicant artist is required. The commitment letter must outline the scope of the partnership and each partner’s investment or contribution (in-kind and/or cash) towards the proposed project.

In the case of a partnership, the grant will be sent directly to the awardee, and the partner organization does not act as a fiscal sponsor.

Brunswick Arts Council can introduce artists and organizations to facilitate collaborations.


What is Acceptable Proof of Nonprofit Status?

Nonprofit status is preferred, an organization that has been operating for more than one year may apply. It is a stronger application to have a collaborative partner who is a nonprofit. Your organization may submit ONE of the following documents to prove non-profit status:

  • Letter of Determination from the IRS indicating tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3)
  • Articles of Incorporation from NC State
  • Official authorization as an arm of local government (i.e., a formal letter on official stationary signed by the appropriate county, city, town, or village executive)

The address on the document must be an address within Brunswick County.


How to submit a Draft Application for Pre-Submission Review?

The BAC Grassroots Coordinator is happy to review application drafts. Reviewing an applicant’s draft proposal is for the purpose of providing technical assistance and does not guarantee that it will receive funding.


When is the Application Deadline?

Applications must be received digitally by email in .pdf format or by US Postal System postmarked on August 15, 2023. Early submissions are encouraged. Incomplete, handwritten, or late applications as well as applications from ineligible organizations will not be considered.


What happens after the Grassroots Arts Grants Application is submitted?

After the Deadline Grant Review Process Applications are reviewed for eligibility, completeness, and accuracy by BAC staff. It is your responsibility to submit a complete and accurate application. As part of the review process, BAC staff may contact you by telephone or e-mail to clarify and review information.  A panel of artists, arts administrators, educators, community leaders, and business people coordinated by BAC will then evaluate each application and recommend a level of funding based on the evaluation criteria, the funding priorities, and the grant guidelines. Upon request, panelists will be furnished with final reports as well as audit information, prior panel comments, and correspondence when considering organizations/individuals who have applied or have been funded in prior years. The panel’s recommendations are submitted to and reviewed by the BAC Board of Directors, and NC Arts Council, which has the final authority for all decisions.


How are funding awards decided?

Panel Criteria Awards are based on a competitive review process. Due to the strict guidelines, limited funds, and the competitive nature of the process, not all applicants will receive funding. Each application is reviewed on the basis of its own merits and against others in the application pool.  The panel will make funding recommendations based primarily on the following criteria:

  1. Artistic merit including artistic and program quality and the expertise of the artists.
  2. Community demonstration of interest, support and benefit – without duplicating existing programs.  Seek to serve a broad constituency.
  3. Adherence to application guidelines, with clarity and completeness.
  4. Feasibility – clearly defined project objectives, project implementation and management:
  • Demonstrated ability of personnel to administer project
  • Reasonable project budget
  • Potential effectiveness of proposed promotional efforts throughout the community
  • Applicant’s history with program success and contract compliance.

HIGH Funding Priorities include:  

  1. Activities of local arts organizations
  2. New, emerging, and grass-roots organizations, particularly those that serve diverse and underserved individuals
  3. Projects that reflect the cultural traditions or contemporary creative expressions of a particular ethnic or culturally diverse group
  4. Applicants that provide a detailed marketing plan to reach/promote their project to underserved communities

LOW Priority Projects:

  1. Projects that do not utilize or pay professional artists
  2. Applicants who have not confirmed the artists to be utilized in the project
  3. Projects that do not benefit underserved communities
  4. Projects that contain minimal or poor marketing plans to reach underserved audiences
  5. Previously funded projects that do not exhibit further growth, artistic expansion, community support, and/or community need
  6. Projects that duplicate already existing and successful projects/services


What happens if my Application receives an Award?

Award Notification: BAC notifies all applicants by email regarding the status of their application after panel review. This will occur in late August.

All awarded organizations must sign and return a contract, and a No Over Due Tax Form, which outlines all agreements with regard to fulfilling obligations and the procedures for providing the following materials:

  1. A Final Program Report  due by June 30th.
  2. Notification of your event(s) at least 2 weeks in advance with two complimentary tickets, if applicable. Projects may be audited by BAC staff, panelists, or other appointed persons.
  3. Credit to BAC and NC Arts Council for support on all publicity and printed materials.  Suggested acknowledgement language is on the BAC & NCAC website.
  4. Write letters of Thank You to State Legislators
  5. Immediate notification if a project cannot take place or if there are any changes in project plans.
  6. Awarded funds must be returned before January 31st if a project cannot take place.

Grant checks are issued after a review of the panel comments with BAC staff and receipt of the signed contract and all other requested information.


What happens if my Application isn’t funded?

Applicants should consult with the BAC Grassroots Coordinator to review the considerations that went into the panel decision.

Grassroots Application Checklist

  1. Grassroots Arts Grant Application: All applications must be submitted through the mail and be received by August 15th, 2023. Applicants must visit www.brunswickartscouncil.org and will be directed from there to attend a free workshop.  We will NOT accept handwritten applications.  Application forms must be filled out completely.
  2. Project Budget:  The budget form, included in the application form, should be completed in full. Please indicate other secured and anticipated funding sources. Please list cash contributions. Total costs should equal total cash expenses.
  3. Narrative Responses (Project and Budget Narratives) The project and budget narrative questions are included in the application form. The combined length of the narratives should not exceed 2 pages (single-spaced, 12-point font). Be clear and concise.
  4.  Proof of Non-Profit Status for Applicant Organizations, Fiscal Sponsors, or Partner Organizations:  Your organization must submit ONE of the previously mentioned documents to prove non-profit status.
  5. Letter of Agreement between Fiscal Sponsor and Applicant, if applicable See “Fiscal Sponsorship and Partner Organizations” section above.
  6. Letter of Commitment from the Non-Profit Partner, if applicable See “Fiscal Sponsorship and Partner Organizations” section above.
  7. Board Member List  for the Organization, Fiscal Sponsor, or Partner Organization:  Please include a complete list with affiliations, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses.
  8. Most current Audited Financial Statement and Budget of Organization, Fiscal Sponsor, or Partner Organization, if applicable.
  9. Project Manager’s Resume and/or Bio
  10. Artist’s/Artists’ Support and/or Bio(s), if applicable
  11. Sample Marketing Materials or
  12. Letters of Support (Optional) You may include letters of support from community members expressing the need for the project and/or showing support.
  13. Work Samples Work samples assist the panel to determine artistic merit of the project. These are not required, but they are highly encouraged. Work samples should represent work from the last 3 years. Work samples should be submitted in the following forms onto a thumb drive, cd, or print:
    1. Audio Work Samples: Please upload one MP3 file that includes up to 10 minutes of original composition. The file may include as many songs as you want, but the total length must not exceed 10 minutes.
    2. Video Work Samples: Please upload one 10-minute video excerpt or two 5-minute video excerpts from previously completed work. Two 5-minute clips may be from two different works. Files should be .mov, .mp4, or .wmv. You may also include a link to a website with one 10-minute excerpt or two 5minute excerpts.
    3. Image Work Samples  Upload up to 10 digital images using the following specifications. File type: JPEG  Dimensions: No larger than 1240 pixels x 1240 pixels  File Size: Each image must be under 4MB  Resolution: 72dpi.
    4. Written work Samples  Upload a writing sample. Evaluators will read the first 10-pages of the work AND any additional 10page section that you indicate.  File Size: No larger than 4MB

FY 22-23 Grant Recipients

$27,353.50 in BAC Grassroots (Standard) Awards FY 2022-23 is being distributed among the following recipients and the following arts activities:

Associated Artists of Southport – Visual Arts- $4,250:
Event Weekends at Franklin Square in 2022-23

Art League of Leland- Visual Arts – $2,971:
Visual Arts Workshops in 2022-23

Brunswick Bands, Inc – Performing Musical Arts – $2000:
Ongoing musical outreach and performances in 2022-23

NC Project Lead -Performing Dance Arts- $2,500:
Dance Arts planning funds for dance program planned for Collage visit to 3 county area in Cape Fear for Spring 2024.

 NC Rice Festival  Performing Arts- $3,250:
Artistic performance support  for Gullah Kinfolk in 2023 NC Rice Festival focusing on Gullah Geechee lifeways & culture.

Southport Historical Society -Performing Arts – $2,000:
Artistic acting and performances for Black History Symposium.

Teen Scene/Cape Fear View – Literary Arts-  $3,000:
For ongoing production of this literary monthly publication featuring original works of print and art by local residents, including a Teen insert

 Town of Leland- Leland Cultural Arts Center – Visual Arts $1,200:
Arts Around Town – Art Workshops & Exhibit Program

Turning the Wheel – Musical Performing Arts -$1,842.50
2022-23 Music & Movement Programs in Brunswick County Communities & Schools

Up Your Arts- Performing Arts -$1,750:
Musical Heritage Performance during the Plein Art Festival 2023

 Waterway Arts Association- Visual Arts-$2,600:
2022-23 Support for the nonprofit workshops and programs held in  Calabash

$35,046.00 in BAC Grassroots (ARPA) Awards FY 2022-23 is being distributed among the following recipients and the following arts activities:

Associated Artists of Southport – Visual Arts- $1,950:
Arts Lecture Series at Franklin Square in 2022-23

Art League of Leland- Visual Arts – $3,180:
Non profit organizational operating support in 2022-23

Brunswick Bands, Inc – Performing Musical Arts – $2,125:
Ongoing musical outreach and performances in 2022-23

Brunswick Little Theatre, Inc – Performing Acting Arts – $6,391:

Equipment upgrade of microphone & AV system.

Cape Fear Voices – Literary Arts-  $7,700:
For staffing assistance of this literary monthly publication featuring original works of print and art by local residents, including a Teen insert

NC Project Lead -Performing Dance Arts- $4,150:

For consultant outreach and staff support.

NC Rice Festival  Performing Arts- $4,150:
For consultant outreach and staff support. for NC Rice Festival focusing on Gullah Geechee lifeways & culture.

Town of Leland- Leland Cultural Arts Center – Visual Arts $1,500:
Creation of an Arts in Residence Program

Turning the Wheel – Musical Performing Arts -$1,500

Support further expansion & growth of programs in Brunswick County.

Waterway Arts Association- Visual Arts-$2,400:
2022-23 Support for the nonprofit arts organization, web support/space rental in Calabash

Reporting & Resources


Grassroots & ARPA Grants Report Forms

All report forms are due to BAC by June 30.


Email the completed form to execdir.brunswickartscouncil@gmail.com or;

Mail completed form to:

Brunswick Arts Council, PO Box 6275 Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469


Questions? Contact: Mary Beth Livers, Executive Director  910.448.1016 personal cell or by email: Execdir.brunswickartscouncil@gmail.com