Arts Granting Program - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - DRAFT

Page updated on Dec 3, 2013 at 10:24 AM

Key Dates for Applicants | Background Information | Frequently Asked Questions | The Grant Program Process | Application Instructions |
Guide to Funding: Arts Operational Grant | Guide to Funding: Individual Artist(s) | Guide to Funding:Organizations


Frequently Asked Questions (DRAFT):

Since 1985 the City of Alexandria has been funding a local arts grant to help ensure access to quality arts programs and events for its citizens and visitors.  The Alexandria Commission for the Arts reviews all of the submitted grant applications and makes the grant funding recommendation to City Council for consideration.   

The amount of grant funding varies from year to year, as do the requirements.  Please be sure to review the grant application and guidelines carefully before applying.

Who is eligible to apply for a Grant?

  • Nonprofit organizations, who demonstrate artistic competence in, and the ability to produce, present or otherwise directly support disciplines that enrich the artistic experience of citizens of the City of Alexandria. Supported disciplines include music, dance, literature, theatre, the visual arts and/or combinations thereof.
  • Nonprofit organization can establish that the project/program proposed will enrich the artistic experience of citizens of the City of Alexandria in a significant way.
  • Nonprofit organization can demonstrate sufficient management skills to carry out the proposed project/program in a financially sound and business-like manner.

Who is not eligible to apply for a grant?

  • Nonprofit organization or individual artist is a default of payment to any agency of the City of Alexandria.
    • Nonprofit organization or individual artist does not complete the grant application in full, or fail to supply information or documentation when and where required.
    • Nonprofit organization or individual artist, during either of the last two fiscal years, fails to complete the ACA-funded program/project according to the terms of the grant application, without full permission and consent of the Commission.
    • Nonprofit organization or individual artist failed to complete a final report form or have an outstanding final report form or issue from a previously-awarded grant from the Commission.
    • Nonprofit organization’s or individual artist’s grant request is for an event or activity not considered by the Commission to be an artistic event. (Note: An ethnic festival, as defined by the City of Alexandria, is not considered to be an artistic event, however artistic activities included in, part of, or sponsored by an ethnic festival may be eligible for project grants.)

What is not funded with a grant?

  • Activities intended to influence, either directly or indirectly, the actions of any public official or body, elected or appointed, on any existing or proposed legislation.
  • Activities restricted, entirely or substantially, to the membership of the organization.
  • Activities completed prior to the beginning of a granting period.
  • Activities that take place outside the city limits of Alexandria.
  • Capital expenditures associated with improvement in facilities and/or purchases of equipment in excess of $1,000.
  • Expenses related to reduction of accumulated deficits or debts.
  • Expenses related to fund-raising events.
  • Expenses related to social functions, whether an integral part of the project funded by the Commission or not.
  • Programs or projects that are essentially rehabilitative or therapeutic in nature.
  • Programs or projects designed to achieve goals that are primarily political, religious or social.

Are there any additional considerations for the grant program?

The Office of the Arts and the Alexandria Commission for the Arts encourages:

  • Programs and projects that are designed to stimulate participation by diverse audiences. 
  • Applicants to charge a reasonable fee for their programs.
  • Grant applicants, when appropriate, to perform for and/or otherwise cooperate with City agencies on behalf of the City; and to participate in Commission sponsored activities that contribute to the overall cultural life of the City.
  • Programs and projects which present the works of artists who reside or work in Alexandria.
  • Programs with public benefit to the citizens of Alexandria and on the visibility of the Alexandria arts community.

How are applications evaluated?

Applications are reviewed by a diverse panel of community members including artists, arts administrators, patrons and others. The panel evaluates each application based on the guidelines and the following criteria:

  • Artistic excellence and quality of the proposed annual program or project;
  • Public benefit to the City of Alexandria including but not limited to community engagement and outreach to, and participation by, a diverse audience; developing of local and regional talent; and attracting of audiences outside of Alexandria.
  • The nonprofit organization’s ability to plan, manage and implement the annual program or project.
  • Stability and fiscal responsibility of the organization.
  • Marketing and fundraising efforts to support the annual program or project.

What are the funding policies?

  • Colleges, universities and libraries may receive grants for arts programs that are community based or generate regional arts involvement. Grants may not support their internal programs, administration or operation expenses (library books, band boosters, equipment purchases).
  • Grants may not be awarded to individuals or to organizations for prizes, competitions, tuition, or financial rewards.
  • Religious organizations or churches may not receive grassroots funds unless the programs are presented outside regular church services, engage the larger community, and do not contain religious content.
  • Funds may not be used for activities associated with a school’s internal arts programs such as in-school student performances, the purchase of art supplies, or student arts competitions and publications.
  • Nonprofit organizations must not engage in any activities or present any programs in violation of the statues of the Commonwealth of Virginia or ordinances of the City of Alexandria.
  • Nonprofit organizations must comply with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, which includes provisions that no otherwise qualified person, solely by reason of a handicap in any way or form, shall be excluded from, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in any form in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
  • Where required, nonprofit organizations must comply with federal Fair Labor Standards which stipulate a) that all professional performers and supporting personnel will be paid not less than the minimum compensation as determined by the Secretary of Labor to be prevailing minimum compensation for persons employed in similar activities; and that professional and support personnel will not be subject to unsanitary, hazardous or dangerous working conditions in organizations’ projects or products.
  • Federal, State and City of Alexandria statutes require all applicants to comply with laws and regulations governing nondiscrimination.  These include but are not limited to: not discriminating because of race, color, sex, religion, ancestry, national origin, marital status, age, sexual orientation or disability.
  • Tribal organizations that receive grassroots funds must represent state or federally recognized tribes.

Is there a matching requirement?

Yes, there is a dollar to dollar (1:1) cash match requirementNo in-kind donations or services can be applied towards the match.  The cash match must be met prior to submitting a Final Report, but no later than June 15, 2015.  Other funding from the City of Alexandria such as, but not limited to, the Marketing Fund, Alexandria City Public Schools and from other Departments, cannot be used for the cash match.

Is there anything that my organization is required to do if awarded a grant?

Yes, the following is required of all grantees:

  • The Grant Contract: The approved application form represents an agreement that the applicant will comply with all conditions set forth in the application form and any other documents furnished to the applicant related to the granting program. Every recipient of a grant is required to respond in a timely manner to all requests for information required by the Office of the Arts and Commission. Two signatures will be required for the application and certification forms, preferably from the board treasurer and president.
  • Conduct of the Grant Supported Activity: Activities receiving financial support from the City of Alexandria shall take place within the fiscal year for which the grant was awarded, unless otherwise approved by the Office of the Arts and Commission.
  • Acknowledgment: All grant recipients are required to credit the Commission and the City of Alexandria, when appropriate, for its support in all appropriate printed public relations materials relating to activities supported by the Commission.  
  • City Council Letters: Applicants are required to write their City Council to invite them to the funded program(s) or to thank them for appropriating Grant funds. The letter should provide information about how Grant funds were used to support your program or project, and the community impact of the event.  A copy of all letters to City Council must be included in the final report.
  • Surveys: During the grant period, the Office of the Arts may request grantees to complete surveys. The surveys may be related to, but are not limited to:   audience spending, organization management or facility usage. Grantees are required to assist the Office of the Arts by completing these surveys.
  • Final Reports: At the completion of the project a Final Report is required. Grant recipients must submit a final report 30 days after the completion of the project/activities, but no later than June 15.  Failure to submit a Final Report could result in the delay or loss of the final grant payment, or loss of eligibility for future grants from the Commission.

Are there any workshops that I can attend?

Yes!  Each year the city hosts a series of workshops and webinars to assist with the grant writing process.

The Office of the Arts and the Alexandria Commission for the Arts requires artists and nonprofit organizations applying to a grant category for the first time to attend one of the grant workshops or webinars to learn of current policies and procedures of the grant program. Other applicants are strongly encouraged to attend the grant workshops or webinars, but not required to attend.

The Fiscal Year 2014 Grant Workshops are scheduled for Thursday, January 23, 2014, 1:30 pm and Monday, February 10, 2014, 7 pm, at the Durant Arts Center, 1605 Cameron Street, Alexandria, VA.  In addition, two (live) grant workshop webinars are scheduled for Wednesday, February 6, 2014, 10 am; and Tuesday, February 17, 2014, 1 pm

New this year is an individual artists’ grant workshop scheduled for Wednesday, January 19, 12 noon (Brown bag lunch), at the Torpedo Factory Arts Center, 105 N. Union Street, Alexandria, VA. 

How will I know I received a grant award?

The Office of the Arts staff will inform each grant recipient in writing of the applicant’s grant award, method of disbursement, and any additional requirements the applicant must fulfill.  This notification will occur once the Commission receives final approval of its fiscal year budget. City Council votes on the budget in May, and the recipients are notified in June.

When are the funds available?

For organizational grants, an initial payment (85% of the award) is processed within the first quarter of the city’s fiscal year.  The final payment (15%) of the award is available after timely submission and acceptance of a Final Report.

For individual artist grants, an initial payment (50% of the award) is processed between 4 and 6 weeks after July 1; the final payment (50%) of the award is available after timely submission and acceptance of a Final Report.

When do the grant funds have to be used?

The grant funds annual operations and projects between July 1 through June 30 of each year. 

Who can I contact if I have questions or need additional assistance?

If applicants have questions, need assistance, or to inquire about available workshops, please contact anyone at the City of Alexandria Office of the Arts or  If reasonable accommodation is needed, please call (703) 746-5588; TTY (703) 838-4902.