Mid Atlantic Arts, with support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and in collaboration with the five other U.S. Regional Arts Organizations —  Arts Midwest, Mid-America Arts Alliance, New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), South Arts, and Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) —  launched the Mid Atlantic Arts Regional Resilience Fund in June 2020 as part of The United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund, in response to the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Mid Atlantic Arts Regional Resilience grants support mid-Atlantic nonprofit arts and cultural organizations with pre-COVID19 budgets of approximately $250,000 – $10 million as they build resilience and look to the future with programming, planning and reimagining their work. The program was designed for organizations with visionary leadership and whose work is critical to the region, primarily supporting those making a statewide, regional and/or national impact. Grant awards can support general operating expenses and associated relief and resilience expenses.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created incredible financial obstacles for arts organizations and these ongoing fiscal challenges exacerbate deep, existing inequities across the country. Mid Atlantic Arts acknowledges that long-standing systems and practices within the arts sector have upheld significant barriers to equitable access and investment for historically marginalized communities in the U.S. In alignment with Mid Atlantic Arts’ strategic vision to implement equitable practices through intentional and sustained focus and accountability, the fund prioritized organizations led by and/or predominantly serving individuals including, but not limited to those that identify as: Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Persons of Color, LGBTQIA+, Persons with Disabilities, communities whose primary language is not English, and/or rural and remote communities. Meet the grantees.

The Mid Atlantic Arts Regional Resilience Fund is part of Mid Atlantic Arts’ COVID-19 response, complementing Mid Atlantic’s CARES Act funding program that exclusively funded arts organizations with budgets of $50,000 to $3 million.

Due to the number of grants available based on funding and the intentional focus on supporting organizations, communities, and populations that have faced marginalization and historically have had inequitable access to financial resources, application was by invitation only. Invitations to organizations to apply were extended following a lengthy nomination process involving a 101-member Nomination Advisory Committee.

Nomination and Invitation Process

To better ensure organizations that strongly met the criteria for this program were considered, nominations were sought. Nominations, including self-nominations, could be submitted by anyone through a public, online form. Mid Atlantic Arts received 502 nominations through the public form. Additionally, in an effort to receive nominations from throughout the mid-Atlantic region across all art forms, the program sought nominations of organizations from an external Nomination Advisory Committee reflective of the racial, gender, geographic and aesthetic diversity in the region. The Committee included artists, arts leaders, and community members deeply invested in the arts. Meet the Nomination Advisory Committee.

The Nomination Advisory Committee made 224 nominations for the program, for a total of 726 nominations under consideration representing 528 different organizations. All nominations were screened for program eligibility and criteria fit. Following additional consideration and a vote by the Nomination Advisory Committee, 154 nominated organizations were invited to apply. While the nomination process allowed for self nominations, Nomination Advisory Committee members could not vote for organizations where they were employed or served as board members to avoid conflicts of interest. Priority consideration was given to organizations that are led by and/or predominantly serve populations and communities from historically marginalized communities, including, but not limited to those that identify as: Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Persons of Color, LGBTQIA+, Persons with Disabilities, communities whose primary language is not English, and/or rural and remote communities.  All organizations invited to apply identified as meeting the priority consideration for the program.

Nomination Eligibility

To be nominated, arts organizations needed to:

  • be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization 
  • be based in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia, or West Virginia 
  • have the arts as their primary mission/function;
  • have an operating budget between *$250,000 – $10,000,000 based on pre-COVID/FY19 financials 
  • have a three-year history of arts-based work/programming;
  • demonstrate a commitment to equity and inclusion
  • demonstrate exceptional artistic, cultural and community impact;
  • have visionary leadership (staff and/or volunteer)
  • demonstrate community engagement and support
  • demonstrate a track record of stability in fiscal management and ongoing operations

*in exceptional cases, organizations with operating budgets of less than $250,000 that are highly impactful and otherwise meet program intent may have been invited to apply

What The Grant Supports

Funds can support any or all of the following expenses associated with relief and resilience efforts:

  • Immediate response activities and/or costs associated with planning, program investments or other measures that will help organizations reimagine their work and increase their resilience and sustainability
  • Future scenario planning, including investment in new media needs (adaptations, new methods of program delivery, and/or acquisition of software and hardware for online programming)
  • Collaborations building organizational resilience
  • General operating support for critical staff salaries and facilities costs

Grants cannot support capital campaigns or be used for re-granting.

Application Review

Applications were evaluated by a peer review panel that reflected the racial, gender, geographic, and aesthetic diversity the program seeks to support. Applications were evaluated using The United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund criteria: 

  • Exceptional artistic, cultural and community impact
  • Visionary leadership (staff and/or volunteer)
  • Demonstrated community engagement and support
  • Statewide, regional, or national impact
  • Commitment to equity and inclusion
  • Track record of stability in fiscal management and ongoing operations

In addition, the geographic distribution of awards between urban and rural areas was considered. Emphasis was given to historically under-resourced organizations, and/or those that work to serve under-resourced populations, communities, and/or art forms. The panel consisted of 22 experienced artists and arts professionals separated into four panels to give specific regions the close attention required by this program. Meet the panelists. 

Mid Atlantic Arts Staff is Available for Questions

Contact resilience@midatlanticarts.org

The United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund

The Mid Atlantic Arts Regional Resilience Fund is part of The United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund, made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and in collaboration with fellow U.S. Regional Arts Organizations —  Arts Midwest, Mid-America Arts Alliance, New England Foundation for the Arts, South Arts, and Western States Arts Federation.

Outside the mid-Atlantic?

Check in with our partner Regional Arts Organizations to see learn more about  the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund in your region:

  • Arts Midwest (Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin)
  • Mid America Arts Alliance (Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas)
  • New England Foundation for the Arts (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island)
  • South Arts (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee)
  • WESTAF (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai‘i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming)

Mid Atlantic Arts Regional Resilience Grants


The Nomination Advisory Committee included:

  • Ruth Adams (NY)
  • Khadija Nia Adell (MD)
  • Patricia Wilson Aden (DE)
  • Kibibi Ajanku (MD)
  • Raquel Almazan (NY)
  • Christine Anagnos (NY)
  • Marty Ashby (PA)
  • Joy Ford Austin (DC)
  • Maria Belcher (WV)
  • Tina Betz (DE)
  • Donna L. Blakey, Ed.D.(DE)
  • Lora Bottinelli (MD)
  • Moira Brennan (NY)
  • Deborah Bump (NY)
  • Stephen Butler (NY)
  • Judy Cai (NY)
  • Emilya Cachapero (NY)
  • Will Carter (WV)
  • Elena Chang (NJ)
  • Andrew Chiang (NJ)
  • nora chipaumire (NY)
  • Belinda Colón (NY)
  • Eric Conway (MD)
  • Nicoletta Daríta de la Brown (MD)
  • Elsabé J. Dixon (VA)
  • Thembi Duncan (NY)
  • Rebecca A. Ferrell (VA)
  • Doris A. Fields (Lady D) (WV)
  • Aaron Flagg (NY)
  • Marjani Forté-Saunders (NY)
  • Cynthia Fraula-Hahn (WV)
  • Scott Garka (VA)
  • Guillermina Gonzalez (DE)
  • Karen Gregg (PA)
  • Deonté Griffin-Quick (NJ)
  • Ryan Grover (DE)
  • Julia L. Gutierrez-Rivera (NY)
  • Sarah Machiko Haber (NY)
  • Porché Hardy (NJ)
  • Divya Rao Heffley (PA)
  • Brea M. Heidelberg, PhD (PA)
  • Jane Hirshberg (MD)
  • Denise Humphrey (USVI)
  • Suzan Jenkins (MD)
  • Jeremy V. Johnson (NJ)
  • Sharnita C. Johnson (NJ)
  • Marshall Jones, III (NJ)
  • Somi Kakoma (NY)
  • Geoffrey Kershner (VA)
  • Nikki Kirk (NJ)
  • Priscilla Hintz Rivera Knight (USVI)
  • Ellen Kodadek (NY)
  • Justin D Laing (PA)
  • Penelope E. Lattimer, Ph.D. (NJ)
  • Bryan Joseph Lee (NY)
  • Roger Lee (PA)
  • Jeff Liverman (VA)
  • Dylan Locke (VA)
  • Abel Lopez (DC)
  • Rudresh Mahanthappa (NJ)
  • Carolyn O. Maloney (VA)
  • Renee Margocee (WV)
  • Marline Angela Martin (NY)
  • Maggie McKenna (NY)
  • Peggy McKowen (WV)
  • Alison McNeil (VA)
  • Ashley Minner (MD)
  • Christopher K. Morgan (DC)
  • S. Robert Morgan (MD)
  • John Orr (PA)
  • Pepón Osorio (PA)
  • Barbara B. Parker (VA)
  • Heena Patel (NJ)
  • Dana M. Payne (PA)
  • Ronee Penoi (DC)
  • Jeff Pierson (WV)
  • Tiffany Rea-Fisher (NY)
  • Claire L. Roker (USVI)
  • Mark Roxey (NJ)
  • Karen J. Rudman (NJ)
  • Steve Runk (PA)
  • Mark Salsbury (NY)
  • janera solomon (PA)
  • Gretchen Sullivan Sorin (NY)
  • Alysia Souder (NJ)
  • Grace Stewart (VA)
  • Sunny Sumter (MD)
  • Jennifer Swan-Kilpatrick (NY)
  • Denise Saunders Thompson (MD)
  • Nayantara Sen (NY)
  • Anita Thomas (NJ)
  • Lisa Richards Toney (DC)
  • Gerald Veasley (PA)
  • Lois Welk (NY)
  • Jane Werner (PA)
  • Jonathan W. Whitney (DE)
  • Janis Burley Wilson (PA)
  • Jawole Willa Jo Zollar (NY)
  • Two nominators from Pennsylvania, one from New York and one from DC preferred not to have their names listed online

The Delaware, US Virgin Islands, and West Virginia panelists included:

  • Tina Betz (DE),
    Director of Cultural Affairs, City of Wilmington
  • Guillermina Gonzalez (DE),
    Adjunct Professor, Wilmington University
  • Priscilla Hintz Rivera Knight (USVI),
    Independent Curator, Co-Owner of Bajo El Sol Gallery
  • Robby Moore (WV),
    Executive Director for Beckley Art Center & Artist
  • Jeff Pierson (WV),
    Director, Office of Public Art City of Charleston

The New Jersey and Pennsylvania panelists included:

  • Elena Chang (NJ),
    Director of Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives – TCG
  • Porché Hardy (NJ),
    Program Officer New Jersey State Council on the Arts
  • Divya Rao Heffley (PA),
    Associate Director, Office of Public Art, Pittsburgh Arts Council
  • Brea M. Heidelberg, PhD (PA),
    Associate Professor & Director, Entertainment & Arts Management Program Drexel University
  • Dana M. Payne (PA),
    Director – DEI Initiatives, Diverse Cultures & Heritage; Pennsylvania Council on the Arts

The Maryland, District of Columbia, and Virginia panelists included:

  • Mario Garcia Durham (DC),
    Immediate Past President Association of Performing Arts Professionals
  • Asa Jackson (VA),
    Self-employed, The Contemporary Arts Network
  • Suzan Jenkins (MD),
    CEO, Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, MD
  • Geoffrey Kershner (VA),
    Executive Director, Academy Center of the Arts
  • Alison McNeil (VA),
    Founder and Chief Creative Officer, McNeil Creative Enterprises
  • Ashley Minner (Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, MD),
    Community-based Visual Artist / Professor of the Practice, Department of American Studies, UMBC

The New York panelists included:

  • Judy Cai (NY),
    Senior Program Officer, New York Foundation for the Arts
  • Belinda Colón (NY),
    Curator, The Arts Center of the Capital Region
  • Thembi Duncan (NY),
    Director of Arts Engagement and Education, Shea’s Performing Arts Center
  • Julia L. Gutiérrez-Rivera (NY),
    Community Engagement Coordinator / National Council for the Traditional Arts
  • Rio Sakairi (NJ),
    Artistic Director, The Jazz Gallery
  • Gretchen Sullivan Sorin (NY),
    Director and Distinguished Professor Cooperstown Graduate Program, SUNY Oneonta