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Overview: General Information on the Grants Process

Who May Apply

Organizations may apply for grant funds if they are:

  • incorporated in Mississippi as a nonprofit organization with tax-exempt status under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) code. [If an organization has applied for, but not received, this letter by the application deadline, it must submit proof of IRS application. If approved for funding, the applicant must submit the 501(c)3 determination letter before grant funds will be paid. If, by the end of the project, the 501(c)3 status has not been granted, the grant is then forfeited]; or
  • an official unit of city, county or state government including schools, school districts, colleges, and universities.

An organization may apply for two grants per fiscal year: one Operating or Project Grant and one Minigrant.

Through four programs – Arts-Based Community Development, Arts in Education, Arts Industry, and the Folk and Traditional Arts program – MAC offers the following grant programs for Mississippi organizations:

  • Minigrants
  • Project Grants
  • Operating Grants

MAC also provides grants through special initiatives such as the Link Up program. Direct services are provided through the following programs:

  • Arts in the Classroom
  • Whole Schools Initiative
  • Model Whole Schools

Please note: If an organization receive funds for a specific project through another line item in the state’s budget, they may not apply to MAC for grant funds to support the same project.


Individual artists may apply for a grant or program if they are:

  • A professional artist producing work of high artistic quality. Individuals are considered to be professional artists if they:
    ◦ earn at least part of their annual income in their artistic work,
    ◦ make a significant time investment in their artistic disciplines through practice, performance or production
  • At least 18 years of age
  • Not a full-time student
  • A permanent, legal resident of Mississippi at the time of application and throughout the grant period. Applicants may be required to show proof of residence

Special requirements beyond these may be required for specific programs.

The following programs are available for individual artists:

  • Artist Fellowship
  • Artist Minigrant
  • Folk Art Apprenticeship
  • Artist Roster (no funding attached to this program*)
  • Teaching Artist Roster (no funding attached to this program*)
    *funding is available to organizations hiring roster artists

Funding Priorities

What We Fund

MAC funds activities that promote public understanding and support of the arts and artistic excellence, including

  • Performances, readings, exhibitions and related publications
  • Workshops and artist residencies
  • Arts research, planning, development, fieldwork and cultural documentation
  • Information dissemination
  • Services to artists and arts organizations
  • Artistic and managerial professional development
  • Projects that promote arts education
  • Projects that increase access to the arts
  • Commissioning of artwork
  • Adding to museum collections
  • Projects that increase resources for the arts
  • General operating expenses of arts organizations
  • Indirect Costs – MAC accepts a non-federal entity or grant applicant’s current federally-negotiated indirect cost rate (official documentation required); or will allow the applicant to include a “de minimus” indirect cost rate, not to exceed 10% of the total modified direct costs. An indirect cost rate is established on the basis of a federally approved indirect cost rate proposal and supporting documentation submitted by the applicant organization. Reimbursement, however, is subject to any administrative limitations established in the grant and/or contract.

What We Don’t Fund

Grant funds to organizations may not be used for the following expenditures:

  • Reductions
  • Contingency funds
  • Activities already funded in the state’s budget (for example, an organization receiving unrestricted funds from the state of Mississippi through another agency or line item may not receive general operating support from MAC. In addition, an organization receiving funds for a partial project cannot apply to MAC for funding of the same project)
  • Interest on loans, fines or litigation costs
  • Food or beverages for hospitality or entertainment functions
  • Projects primarily planned for fundraising purposes
  • Lobbying expenses or other activities that are primarily political in nature;
  • Tuition or scholarships for academic study
  • Monetary awards for competitions
  • College and university events that are considered a part of regular or extracurricular programs
  • Purchase or long-term rentals of equipment, property or collections
  • Out-of-state tours or travel to competitions
  • School-sponsored trips, including transportation, admission fees, and other related travel expenses
  • Capital improvements, facility construction, or renovation work (except through the BFA grant program.)
  • Activities where the primary focus is for therapy
  • Programs for a religious purpose, including for the promotion of any sect, church, creed, or sectarian organization, nor to conduct any religious service or ceremony.  Funds can be granted to religious organizations as long as the funds are not used for a religious purpose.  This allows faith-based organizations to apply on behalf of its community for arts activities or programming where artistic expression is the primary focus.  
  • Grants to artists for paper, computers, office supplies or postage

If grant funds are limited in any fiscal year, priority will be given to new and underserved applicants and in support of accessible programming.

Applications from colleges, universities and other state-level schools are only eligible if they include and benefit the general public. College and university events that are considered a part of regular or extracurricular programs, or whose primary purpose is to offer academic credit, are not eligible for grants. Grants to these types of entities are not a top priority of MAC.

Application Deadlines

March 1 is the application postmark deadline for most of MAC's grants, meaning all applications and their attachments must be in the mail no later than March 1. On years when March 1st falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the application deadline is the first business day of the month. Minigrant deadlines are June 1st and November 1st each year. The same rule applies if either of these dates fall on a weekend. Hand-delivered applications must arrive at MAC's office by 5:00 p.m. on the deadline date.

MAC grant-funded activities must take place within the fiscal year in which the grantee has received funding. MAC operates on the state of Mississippi's fiscal calendar, which begins July 1 and ends June 30th of the following year.

Applications must be complete and all attachments included by the deadline date. Applications received by the postmark deadline that are incomplete will not be considered and, therefore, will not proceed to the panel review. An incomplete application is one that is missing at least one of the items listed in the "How to Apply" section of the grant program guidelines. It is the responsibility of each applicant, and not MAC staff, to assure that all materials have been properly submitted.

MAC does not accept applications sent by fax or email. Applicants should request a legibly dated United States Postal Service postmark or receipt from a commercial carrier. Privately metered postmarks cannot be accepted as proof of timely mailing.

If you need GUIDANCE, Submit a Draft

Organizations or individuals who are applying to MAC for the first time are encouraged to submit a draft version of their application to be reviewed by a MAC staff member. The deadline for draft applications (by mail, fax or email) is January 15 (or, in the case of Minigrants, one month prior to the application deadline). If the draft is received by January 15, MAC staff will review it and provide feedback to the applicant. The staff will contact the applicant with feedback no later than 10 days prior to the deadline. Applicants must request a review by contracting MAC staff in advance.

Application Review by Panel

Grant applications received by MAC on the March 1 deadline are reviewed by a panel of Mississippi residents and out-of-state experts. Artists, arts administrators, arts educators, arts volunteers, and community representatives make up the panels that evaluate applications based on the review criteria. Previous years’ grant files may be made available to panelists upon request. Panelists do not make actual funding decisions. They provide recommendations and feedback to MAC's board on the quality of each application.

MAC's review panels are open to the public and applicants are encouraged to attend in order to observe the review of their application and others within the same category. Applicants are also encouraged to utilize the reviewer's comments as a management tool. MAC notifies all qualified applicants of the panel review dates and times.

Anyone can recommend a potential panelist; MAC's Commissioners approve these nominations. Panelists may serve for no more than three consecutive years. Each panel has representatives from across Mississippi and in some cases an out-of-state panelist. A list of last year’s panelists is available by calling MAC's office. Please help by nominating potential panel ists. (panelist nomination form)

Commission Funding and Approval

After reviewing the grant applications, panelist recommendations and (if necessary) the applicant’s final reports from previous years, MAC's Board of Commissioners determine the final grant awards. The Commissioners also consider

  • Commission goals and outcomes;
  • Adherence to Commission policies;
  • The geographic distribution of funds; and
  • The diversity of arts disciplines represented by the projects.

Depending on the availability of grant funds and the number of requests, the Commissioners may fund only a portion of the amount requested. The Commission is not obligated to fund any application.

All grants are reviewed by panel process with the exception of Minigrants, which are reviewed by the program staff and the Commission's Minigrant Committee. The final review and funding decisions for Minigrants are made by the full Board of Commissioners.

List of grants awarded by MAC for the most recent fiscal year

Notice of Funding Decisions

MAC notifies grant applicants who applied on the March deadline of its funding decisions by e-mail no later than the first week of July. After receiving notification, an applicant may request a copy of their panel comments or discuss the decision with the program staff.

Minigrants are awarded twice per year. Applicants will be notified no later than the first week of the month following the deadline when they submitted their application.

All awards are contingent upon the availability of state and federal funds.

Appeals Process

The appeals process provides for a review of the method and fairness of the Commission’s decision concerning a grant application. Dissatisfaction with the denial or amount of an award is not sufficient reason for an appeal. For an appeal to be considered, you must show evidence that the panelists and Commissioners

  • Reviewed the application using criteria other than those published;
  • Were influenced by members who failed to disclose conflicts of interest
  • Did not have access to all application materials submitted by the deadline.

If appealing a funding decision, the applicant should first call the appropriate program director to review the considerations affecting the Commission’s decision. If you wish to pursue an appeal, you must send a written request to MAC's Executive Director within ten days of the date of notification of the Commission’s decision. The letter should be sent certified mail, return receipt requested, postage prepaid. It should contain evidence to support one of the grounds for appeal as listed above.

The Commissioners will review the appeal at their next scheduled meeting following receipt of the written appeal. The applicant may appear in person before the Commissioners at this meeting.

Incomplete applications are not eligible for the appeals process.

Award Notification and Grantee Requirements

Applicants who are awarded a grant will receive an award letter, two copies of a grant contract and additional information. The contract will specify the grant amount being awarded and special stipulations and reporting requirements. The grantee's authorizing official must sign the contracts, retaining one copy for the organization’s files and returning one copy to MAC within 30 days of the contract date. Failure to sign and return the contract within 60 days of receipt may result in cancellation of the grant. The signed contract should be on file before the beginning date of the project. Grant funds will not be disbursed until the contract is returned to and approved by MAC.

Grant Changes

Funds must be spent only on the activities listed in the grant application. Organizations must request approval in writing on a MAC's Grant Change Form before making changes in the project’s personnel, activities or budget. Project personnel include the project director or authorizing official who signed the application and contract, or any other personnel identified in the application including teachers and artists.  Major changes may require reconsideration of funding by MAC.

If major changes are not reported before the final report is submitted, the grantee may be asked to refund the grant’s initial payment and to forfeit the final payment. Further, if such changes warrant the cancellation of a grant, MAC may withhold future grants from that organization.

Final Reports

Grantees must submit a final evaluation and financial report, which includes a final narrative, statistical and financial information and support documentation, postmarked no later than 30 days after the completion of the project OR by May 15 , whichever comes first.

Failure to submit final reports by the deadline jeopardizes final grant payments and future funding. Final reports more than 45 days late will result in the forfeiture of the grantee’s final payment. Only extreme and unforeseeable reasons explained in writing within the 45 days will be considered for exception. New grants will not be made to an organization that has not submitted final reports.

Grant Records

The grant recipient should keep accurate records of the project and all income and expenditures relating to the grant for three years. Financial records must be kept according to generally accepted accounting principles and be made available upon request by MAC or the National Endowment for the Arts.

Grant Amounts

The amounts below are the standard grant amounts. Actual grant awards can fluctuate depending upon available funding

  • Artist Minigrants - up to $500
  • Folk Art Apprenticeships - $2,000
  • Artist Fellowships - up to $5,000
  • Organizational Minigrants - $200 to $1,000
  • Project Grants - $250 to $5,000
  • Operating Grant and Two-Year Operating Grant - applicants may apply for a percentage of the actual cash revenue of the last completed fiscal year’s income.


Cash Match Requirement

Grant awards to organizations, unless otherwise specified in the program guidelines, must be matched dollar-for-dollar. For example, if an organization requests $1,000 from MAC, they must have at least $1,000 in cash income from another source (other than state funds) towards the expenses of that same project. Sources of matching funds may include revenue from the project activities, contributions from foundations or corporations, government support from federal or local sources, or cash from the organization’s own accounts.

Grantees cannot match MAC funding with other state funds.

In-kind contributions cannot be counted as part of a cash match. In-kind contributions are the dollar value of materials and services that are provided to a project at no cash cost from sources other than the applicant, i.e., volunteer hours or donated space. However, it is important to document and include information on in-kind contributions as part of the application budget. In-kind donations help to demonstrate a community's support of a project.

Grant Payment Schedules

Folk Art Apprenticeships, Organizational Minigrants, Operating Grants and Two-Year Operating Grants are paid in two equal installments:

  • 50% of the grant award following receipt and approval of a properly signed contract
  • 50% of the grant award following receipt and approval of the final report.

*Please note that Minigrants of $250 or less are paid in one installment following completion of the project and the receipt and approval of the final report.

Project Grants are paid in two installments:

  • 75% of the grant award following receipt and approval of a properly signed contract
  • 25% of the grant award following receipt and approval of the final report.

Artist Fellowships are paid in one installment upon return of the signed grant contract.

Artist Minigrants are paid upon submission of the final report, along with proof of the expenses made on the project (receipts).

For the grant payment schedules for special initiatives not listed here, see the program's guidelines.

Grant Cancellations

MAC has the right to withhold or cancel grants for any of the following reasons:

  • Failure to meet a published deadline for filing grant reports,
  • Failure to notify MAC prior to a change in the project or personnel,
  • Failure to comply with the terms of the grant contract, or
  • Failure to raise the required cash match.

If MAC cancels a grant, it may withhold future grants from that organization.

Legal Requirements

MAC and its grant recipients are contractually committed to abide by state and federal regulations that bar discrimination based on race, color, national origin, disability, age, or sex and require accessibility for persons with disabilities.

All grant recipients must assure compliance as required by these federal acts:

  • Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which bar discrimination of federally assisted projects based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, or handicap;
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires paying professional performers, artists, related and support personnel, laborers, and mechanics at or about the minimum compensation level for persons employed in similar activities;
  • The Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988, which prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of a controlled substance in conducting any federally assisted activity; and
  • Executive Order 12549, which requires certification from the grant applicant that neither it nor its principals are presently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from participation in any federal program.


Making the arts accessible to all people is a major priority of MAC. One of the conditions grantees accept is that their programs are accessible to people with disabilities. Every organization receiving funding must provide reasonable accommodations when people with disabilities request services. Accessibility involves both the facility and the activity or product of the program. Non-capital expenses to serve people with disabilities may be included in MAC grant requests.

Addressing accessibility as early as possible ensures that people with disabilities will be able to participate in programs. Organizations should conduct an evaluation of all policies, practices and programs to ensure equal access. People with disabilities and organizations representing them should participate in this evaluation process as advisors. The National Endowment for the Arts' Office for Accessibility provides information about accessibility as it relates to the arts.

For more information on how to improve your organization's accessibility, visit MAC's ADA Checklist online or contact MAC's Accessibility Coordinator at 601-359-6030.

Return of Support Materials

All work samples and supplementary materials submitted with grant applications are discarded by July 31st if no instructions are given for their return.

To have support materials returned through the mail, you must provide a self-addressed mailer or box with sufficient postage.

To pick up support material in person, applicants should visit MAC's office between July 1 and 31st during normal operating hours (8:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday). Please call us at 601-359-6030 to let the program director for your grant know when you would like to pick up your materials so we can pull them and have them ready for you when you arrive.