Arts Caravan tours the town, offers grant advice


BUCKHANNON — The Governor’s Arts Caravan came to Buckhannon for a grant workshop and tour of the city’s Arts District Tuesday afternoon.

Curator Randall Reid-Smith and associates from the State Arts Office as well as the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History reportedly chose five towns in the Mountain State to meet with artists and organizations for discussions about applying for available funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

Approximately 38 people came to participate in Buckhannon’s leg of the Arts Caravan and learn how to best apply for ARPA funding.

The American Rescue Plan is designed to fuel national recovery from the detrimental economic and health effects caused by COVID-19. Funds directed to the National Endowment for the Arts, or NEA, represent a significant commitment to the arts and a recognition of the value of arts and culture to the nation’s economy and recovery.

The Arts Endowment will competitively award funds to eligible organizations nationwide. These funds are intended to help support jobs in the arts, keep the doors open to arts organizations across the country, and assist the field in its response to and recovery from the pandemic. Unlike other Arts Endowment funding programs that offer project-based support, ARPA funds are intended to support specific operating costs only; therefore, cost share/matching funds are not required. The Arts Endowment reportedly intends to make awards that will impact a broad constituency.

Reid-Smith, along with other arts directors and associates, helped instruct interested applicants on the process and listened to feedback from the local arts community during their visit. The group then took some time to tour the Buckhannon Arts District, where members of multiple committees joined in for a tour of the Colonial Arts Center to see the progress that is being made in its restoration. They also toured Trader’s Alley and made various stops to learn more about the “underground” scene during the mutually productive stop in Buckhannon.

“We are trying to fund as many people as possible and anything that has to do with the arts,” explained Reid-Smith. “This town is so beautiful, and I always love coming here.”

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