What does an Arts Council do anyway? Part 3: Finding the Funding
Who We Are Wednesdays: What does an Arts Council do anyway?
Everyone knows that funding for the arts is a constant battle. There’s a lot of worthy causes out there. Even if you support the arts, it’s hard to deicde who to donate to. Say you enjoy visual art and want to support it – do you donate to that museum you like to go to, or do you support the non-profit studio down the street that provides afforable classes? There are so many choices!
That is one of the reasons we, as an Arts Council, don’t look for the bulk of our funding from the public. We know those funds are desperately needed for the members of our community who are teaching, producing, performing, and generally serving the need of arts life enrichment for the public. But Arts Councils don’t run on air and lolipops. So how do we get the funding we need to do the important ‘behind the scenes’ work that we do?
Grants, Governments and Corporate Giving
As the official Arts Council of Napa County, we get to apply for money sources that the people we serve don’t, due to our unique role withing the arts community. And thank goodness, because we aren’t looking to create any conflicts of interest around here! So what sources of funding are those exactly?
Let’s start with grants.
These guys are just the coolest. Not only do they support the arts, but they are a “nonpartisan, private charitable foundation that advances ideas and supports institutions to promote a better world.” In other words, they get it. They understand how important the arts are for a “better world”. They get that in order for the arts to thrive, they need people doing the advocacy work we do, so other public sources of funding don’t disappear, so the arts stay in public education, and so the world can work towards being a more equitable place. That’s why they support us, so we can do that work, and you can keep on creating.
This is a quiet little foundation, established in Napa of 2000, that funds “cultural and educational programs that develope life skills”. They whole-heartedly believe in our Education Alliance’s work to keep the arts as part of public education, and our Community fund Grant that suppoorts individual artists and non-profits looking to make life better for people in Napa County, and that is why they support us.
Our big sibiling! Grant writing often works like this; the bigger you are, and the more money you receive from other sources, the more money you can apply for. The California Arts Council applies for funding at the National Level from sources we aren’t big enough to apply for. Then they turn around, and create their own grant program from that money, and we happen to do work they find very valuable. They call us their ‘State Local Partner’, or better known as an SLP, whcih means we do the work they want to see done at the local level that they can’t complete themselves. So as long as our grant writing skills are on point, they will continue to support our work.
Now let’s talk government.
Some Arts Councils are a branch of local government. Some are non-profits that work under the recognition of their county government. We happen to be the later, and we like it that way because it means we get to serve our mission and that keeps us focused on the things that are most important to the arts community. The good news is, our interests overlap with government interests quite a bit, so it makes us natural partners. We do work they know is important, but maybe don’t have the time or the expertise to do.
The County of Napa
The County of Napa funds us to provide multiple services for them, but most of it is sharing our expertise on interacting with the arts community. We help them set up and administer their grant program. We offer advice on arts friendly policies. We help with their Arts in the Library program. We also offer the voice of the arts in important planning disucssions, so our community doesn’t get overlooked or misunderstood. We also serve a segment of their community’s needs that they care about, but don’t always know how to take care of, and so they fund us to do that.
The City of Napa
In the last 10 years, the City of Napa has blossomed into an arts destination, beinging with the estbalisment of their sculptural artwalk in 2009, and expanding to include the Lighted Art Festival two years ago, along with other community programming that integrates with the arts. They happen to be a big supporter and user of the Creative Directory. Why? So they can more easily plan their community engagment programming using local creatives, because nothing unifies people like the arts, espcially when it’s people from our own Valley doing the unifying. They also invite us to be the voice of the arts during important conversations, like with city planning and ordinance creation, or when they’re not sure how to navigate professional relationships with artists. They view the arts as a logical way to make life better for their citizens, and they’re right!
We are working to build our relationships with the other municipal governments in Napa County, so they understand how much value the arts community can contribute to their city or town.
Money talks, and we know which businesses in Napa County love the arts based on their donations.
We may not be doctors but we think The Doctors Company may be love sick over the arts! A consistent supporter of the arts community, year after the year, they contribute funds to show their support.
No good story ever begins with a salad, and no good industry mixer does either. Thanks to Cliff Lede, on a consistent basis, we get treat our community to delicious wine to help grease the wheels of networking.
The Mondavi family, on both sides, have always been consistent supporters of the arts, and we are tickled pink that Charles Krug consistently continues to do that through the generous donation of their wine.
Looking for something specific?
Sometimes our mission aligns so closely with other nonprofit organizations, that they support our work through donations of their own. This happens quite a bit with our Education Alliance.
Now we don’t mean to brag, but these guys are heavy hitters when it comes to supporting arts education, and we are lucky enough to have their support. They are the single largest supporter of our work to keep the arts in public education, and we are very grateful to have them in our corner.
Thanks to our friendship with Festival Napa Valley, Notes for Education took notice of work too, and also contributes a significant amount to the Education Alliance.
A steady supporter of the Education Alliance, the Community Foundation puts their money where their heart is when it comes to supporting ‘access for all’ kids and the arts in Napa County.
The one other place we recieve donations from is our community. We are thankful to those in our arts community that have experienced fainancial success, and choose to share some of that success by donating back to organizations like ours, that seek to imporve the lives of all creatives in Napa County. Are one of those people? Do you own a business, and would like to show your love for the arts community? Please reach out to us with questions: info@ArtsCouncilnv.org, or donate here: https://www.artscouncilnapavalley.org/donate
Thank you to everyone who supports our work. We are honored to serve the arts community on behalf of you.