For art's sake

Chad Badgero

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Growing field of grant applicants reflects state’s diverse arts, culture landscape

CLICK HERE for a complete list of MCACA 2016 arts grants awards, and awards by county

As a reflection of the expanding scope of local arts-and-culture groups and broadening reach of the state’s bedrock cultural institutions, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) has awarded grants for fiscal 2015-16 to a diverse range of recipients, including music festival producers, art centers, historical societies along with world-class art museums and symphonies.

This year’s total of $9.65 million in grants to 462 recipients will cover costs for arts education programs, capital improvements, operational expenses, regional regranting minigrants and services to the field. Nearly 600 applications were reviewed through a rigorous peer-review process conducted by 133 reviewers held in open meetings over a month.

“Collectively, this year’s impressive list of recipients represents a strong affirmation that the filed is growing and the value of our programs is appreciated,” said MCACA chair Drew Buchholz. “We tip our hat to Governor Snyder and the legislature for showing confidence in MCACA by supporting our appropriation.”

Grants will be delivered directly to nearly two-thirds of the state’s 83 counties, representing all regions of the state. Additionally, more counties will be reached through the regional regranting minigrant program. This year’s grant total matches last year’s funding, which was a 27 percent increase from 2014, and 73 percent more than the $5.6 million allocated in 2013. 

Overall, grant applications increased by 20 percent over last year with approximately 80 percent of submissions approved. 

“This has been the most difficult season of grant reviews since the days of the Great Recession when there was so little money, now the issue is how to reach as many eligible organizations as possible around the entire state with our increased, albeit still limited funding,” said MCACA executive director John Bracey. 

Along with the funds, an MCACA grant represents a critical endorsement, which often translates into helping to attract additional funding from other sources, said Bracey. 

“The field is vigorous, new organizations are emerging, small organizations are growing and the state’s largest organizations are expanding their reach,” he said. “These are truly exciting times in Michigan and it feels great to play a small part in that.” 

MCACA serves to encourage, develop and facilitate an enriched environment of artistic, creative and cultural activity in Michigan. MCACA is located within the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, which markets the state with a focus on business, talent, jobs, and helping to grow the economy. 


  • $9.65 million in grants
  • 462 grant recipients
  • 585 grant applicants


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