"The Collective Voice for Cultural Organizations in Michigan"

MCACA awards Emergency Relief Fund grants to 176 nonprofit arts and cultural organizations throughout Michigan

  • Total of $502,400 in federal funding awarded from Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs to 176 eligible nonprofit arts and cultural organizations impacted by COVID-19 outbreak

  • Arts Midwest providing an additional $83,834 to 28 Michigan organizations

The Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs has awarded a total of $502,400 in Emergency Relief Fund grants to 176 nonprofit arts and cultural organizations around Michigan to assist with negative impacts resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today.

Arts Midwest, a nonprofit regional arts organization and partner to MCACA, also contributed another $83,834 to assist an additional 28 Michigan organizations.

“Today’s Emergency Relief Fund grants are providing immediate support to our state’s arts and cultural organizations as they work to economically recover from the COVID-19 virus,” said MCACA Director Alison Watson. “These organizations add so much value to Michigan’s economy and bolster the creative life of our communities, and it is more vital than ever that we do everything we can to restore economic prosperity for all Michiganders to not only recover economically, but to thrive.”

Announced in April, MCACA, through funding provided by the National Endowment for the Arts through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Emergency Relief Funds program made a total of $502,400 in one-time grants to eligible nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, ensuring broad geographic distribution across Michigan. The funds were intended for salary support (full or partial) for one or more employees; fees for artists and/or contractual personnel; and facility costs, such as rent and utilities.

The list of grant recipients by county can be found here, and the overall list can be found here.  

“All operational support is vital now, so the ERF grant has a tremendous impact for us. Thanks go to MCACA and MEDC for this assistance,” said Blissfest Music Organization Executive Director Cindy McSurely. “With these funds, we will be able to keep the contractual personnel who we rely on to help develop and book a variety of outreach and performance opportunities that we present for our community.”

“The Jackson Symphony Orchestra is so grateful to receive these funds from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and the MEDC. They will allow us to keep our staff employed and continue planning for our upcoming season, in whatever form it takes,” said Jackson Symphony Orchestra Music Director and Executive Director Matthew Aubin. “We know the arts are even more important during times of uncertainty and truly appreciate that the MCACA and the MEDC are helping us continue our work of bringing music to our community.”

Nearly 600 organizations requesting $2.6 million applied for the grants. To be eligible, applicants had to be a nonprofit arts and cultural organization, have tax-exempt status under Section 501(c) (3) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Services code, and be incorporated and physically located in Michigan.

The applications were reviewed by Council members and staff.  To be considered, eligible organizations had to demonstrate the ability to use the funds to secure jobs and keep doors open. The maximum request for funding is $5,000 and there was no match requirement. All of the available funds have been disbursed with today’s grants.

To learn more about MEDC’s COVID-19 response programs and the impact they are having on economic recovery efforts, visit michiganbusiness.org/covid19response. Other resources for businesses across Michigan struggling with economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 virus can be found online at michiganbusiness.org/covid19. The MEDC has also developed a FAQ for Michigan businesses and communities at michiganbusiness.org/covid19-faq.

For those who have questions about the state’s actions to mitigate the spread of coronavirus, please call the COVID-19 Hotline at 1-888-535-6136 between 8AM – 5PM daily.


The cultural organizations in Michigan and across the country have faced unprecedented losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Many of these organizations will not be able to open their doors again once we begin to return to normalcy.  It is more important then ever that we advocate for funding to support these programs with our state legislators.   They are going to be making decisions on which programs will receive funding for fiscal year 2021 in the next couple of months.  It is very important that they hear from you about importance of our cultural organizations. 


The Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs is the state of Michigan’s primary support organization for the arts and cultural community. The Council is dedicated to maintaining and growing Michigan’s rich cultural resources. The Michigan legislature appropriated $10,150,000 for the Michigan of Arts and Cultural Affairs was appropriated in the FY19-20 budget.  This money helped to fund over 1000 programs in 79 counties across the state. 


Arts and culture contribute powerfully to the vibrancy of Michigan cities and communities by creating great places to live, work and visit, that attract talent and business investment. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis reports that arts and cultural production accounts for nearly $14 million and 2.8% of the Michigan economy contributing 130,400 jobs.


Please email your legislator to ask them to support the funding for the Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs in the Fiscal Year 2021.


We hope you and your families are managing well and doing your best to

stay safe and healthy during this uncertain time.  


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