In the Moment: Arts Council of Fairfax County Announces 2018 grant awards

As we well know, funding for the arts from all levels of government sources are under assault. Government funding is either static, or in worse cases has been reduced. As government revenue has still not yet fully recovered from the depths of the 2008 recessions, funding for many worthy social and education programs have taken hits, and so have the arts. There are so many good causes, and now they compete against one another in ways unthinkable just a few short years ago.

Will ticket prices need to be raised to over costs? Will Foundations come to the rescue? These are questions at the forefront of many decisions to be pondered. (And just recently, NYC’s Metropolitan Museum of Art announced ticket changes that have brought some major push back.)

Having worked inside the government beast and having sat on my share of grant panels, I am all too aware that choices are now stark. Does the government fund another Head Start slot for a deserving child from a family under the poverty level, or provide funding for, say, a school social worker? Does it provide Medicaid expansion, or shelter for a victim of domestic violence? Does it provide funds to the arts? Discovering the economic ROI (return on investment) for government funders is a part of every decision these grant panels are required to make. The choices can be that sharply defined.

Linda Sullivan, CEO and President, Arts Council of Fairfax County

So, it is with good news, that I provide this from the Arts Council of Fairfax County (VA). (Note: I have been a volunteer with the Arts Council of Fairfax County). The Council just announced the award of $475,944 to over 40 nonprofit arts organizations in Fairfax County.

Arts Council grants are awarded through a competitive process. Over $1.5 million was requested by 71 organizations for FY 2018. The Arts Council grants are to support activities in all arts disciplines, including arts education, dance, film, instrumental music, theater, and vocal music or opera. The FY 2018 grants fund over 14,000 arts events, including exhibits, performances and classes attended by over 500,000 Fairfax County residents and visitors.

The Arts Council of Fairfax County awarded 2018 grants as follows:

-$379,104 in Operating Support Grants to 39 nonprofit arts organizations,
-$86,904 in Project Support Grants to 15 nonprofit arts organizations, and
– $9,936 in Organizational and Professional Development Grants to five nonprofit arts organizations in Fairfax County for FY 2018.

“Congratulations to all the outstanding organizations who have received Arts Council grants in 2017,” said Linda S. Sullivan, President & CEO of the Arts Council of Fairfax County. “These are competitive grants to organizations who provide excellent arts programming for Fairfax County residents, strengthening our communities and enriching our quality of life. The Arts Council is committed to funding opportunities for every Fairfax resident to find their creative voice through the arts and live in a community where creativity can thrive.”

“These Arts Council grant programs strengthen local nonprofit arts organizations,” said Jo M. Hodgin, Board Member for the Arts Council of Fairfax County, Chair of the Arts Council’s Grants Committee, and Commissioner for Virginia Commission for the Arts.

“Because of these grants, organizations are able to provide better services to the community. The arts organizations these grants support offer Fairfax residents and visitors a breadth of options to enhance not only their leisure time but also the quality of their health, education and community.” added Hodgin.

Operating Support Grants provide funds for the basic operation of arts organizations in Fairfax County in recognition of the valuable programs and services they provide to County residents. These grants also contribute to the stability of these organizations. For FY 2018, Operating Support Grant recipients include Acting for Young People, American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras, Arts Herndon, BalletNova Center for Dance, City of Fairfax Band Association, Classical Ballet Theatre, Creative Cauldron, Fairfax Choral Society, Greater Reston Arts Center, Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia, McLean Orchestra, McLean Project for the Arts, Metropolitan School of the Arts, Mosaic Harmony, Mount Vernon Community Children’s Theatre, New Dominion Chorale, NextStop Theatre Company, Providence Players of Fairfax, Public Art Reston, Reston Community Players, Reunion Music Society, The Choralis Foundation, The Fairfax Ballet Company, The Hub Theatre, The McLean Symphony, The Northern Virginia Chorale, The Reston Chorale, The Vienna Jammers Percussion Ensemble, Traveling Players Ensemble, Vienna Choral Society, Vienna-Falls Chorus, Virginia Ballet Company and School, Virginia Chamber Orchestra, Virginia Opera Association, Voce Chamber Singers, Washington Balalaika Society, Washington West Film Festival, Workhouse Arts Foundation, and 1st Stage.

Project Support Grants are non-recurring grants used to support arts organizations in providing activities that engage new audiences in the arts and contribute to the vibrancy as well as the quality of life in Fairfax County. For FY 2018, Project Support Grant recipients include Amadeus Concerts, American Youth Philharmonic Orchestras, BalletNova Center for Dance, Creative Cauldron, Fairfax Choral Society, George Mason University, Greater Reston Arts Center, Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia, MVLE, NextStop Theatre Company, Public Art Reston, The Hub Theatre, Traveling Players Ensemble, Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, and 1st Stage.

Organizational and Professional Development Grants fund activities that improve organizational management for nonprofit arts organizations. For FY 2018, these grants will support professional development, consulting services, information technology (IT) updates, financial management training and organizational upgrades. FY 2018 recipients include the Jewish Community Center of Northern Virginia, Mount Vernon Community Children’s Theatre, Traveling Players Ensemble, Vienna Arts Society, and 1st Stage.

For more detailed information on Arts Council grant programs, grant panels and eligibility, visit


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