Montana CARES Act Funding for the Creative Sector -

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Montana CARES Act Funding for the Creative Sector

Friday, June 12, 2020/Categories: Montana Arts Council/Tags:

Press Release Issued by the Montana Arts Council                                                       
June 12, 2020
Agency Contact Information:
Tatiana Gant                                                        
(406) 444-6546

The Montana Arts Council (MAC) announces the availability of emergency funding to offset economic losses due to COVID-19. MAC will award funds to nonprofit organizations, artists, and cultural workers in Montana. The funds come through the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

MAC Chair Cyndy Andrus remarked, “Support from every member of Montana’s Congressional delegation reinforces that the arts are for everyone. The arts have been our constant to lift our spirits, bind our communities, and preserve our histories. Another facet of Montana’s beauty, the arts are a resource that we must protect.”

No area of the state has been untouched by the pandemic, with events canceled and venues closed. Coupled with the losses of outdoor festivals and related tourism, Montana’s economy will suffer long-term effects. In Montana, the creative industries:

  • contribute over $1.5 billion to Montana’s economy
  • represent 3.4% of the Total Gross State Product
  • supply 15,666 jobs, generating $883 million in total compensation

60% of Montana’s artists and cultural workers are fully unemployed because of COVID-19. While the CARES Act expanded unemployment benefits, this group is reporting only a 36% success rate with Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. For this reason, MAC is dedicating the majority of CARES Act funding to support this sector. Montana CARES Individuals will award up to $2,500 to those impacted by COVID-19. Professional artists can apply to Montana CARES Recovery to recoup losses from canceled opportunities, up to $1,000.

Agency Director Tatiana Gant stated, “I am proud of MAC’s bold response to prioritize those that fuel Montana’s creative economy with their talent. MAC took the time to examine the field-wide resources and determine what would serve those most at risk. These investments ensure that we can weather this epidemic and maintain our culture.”

To date, the total financial impact of COVID-19 on cultural organizations in Montana is more than $4 million. In addition to assisting artists, Montana CARES Recovery provides up to $1,000 of reimbursement for losses related to postponed and canceled arts programming for nonprofit organizations. Through the third grant offered, Montana CARES Partners, recent grantees of the MAC Public Value Partnership can receive up to $3,000 for their on-going public services that add value to Montana communities.

Agency Deputy Director Kristin Han Burgoyne commented, “Montana has unique challenges with access to technology, aggravated by the closure of public libraries. Staggered deadlines will allow us to meet immediate needs quickly while providing the time to share the opportunity through alternate channels.”

MAC will be holding information webinars beginning June 12 that will remain available for viewing. Applications are available through the MAC website. MAC anticipates announcing awards for the first round of grants in mid-July. Eligible and qualified applicants will remain in consideration until available funds are committed.

About the CARES Act

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided $2 trillion in federal economic relief to the nation, of which $75 million was allocated to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Of that amount, 40% was designated to be divided among the state arts agencies and regional arts organizations for distribution. The NEA has limited the use of funds to salaries, fees for artists and other contracted personnel, or facility costs.

MAC received $424,400 from the CARES Act through the NEA and intends to subgrant 100%. Resources provided by the State of Montana will cover overhead and operations expenses and will be used towards additional grants. MAC anticipates making approximately 230 awards through the trio of Montana CARES grant programs.

About the Montana Arts Council

In 1965 Montana Annotated Code 22-2-102 established the MAC as an agency of state government. The MAC mission is to develop the creative potential of all Montanans, advance education, spur economic vibrancy, and revitalize communities through involvement in the arts. Fifteen individuals appointed by the Governor oversee the Montana Arts Council. More information can be found at

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency whose funding and support give Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the Arts Endowment supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. Visit to learn more.

Additional Resources

Americans for the Arts, Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource and Response Center

National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, Creative Economy State Profiles



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